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Hair Transplant Infection: Underlying Causes & Tips on Prevention

Hair transplant infection typically manifests as the recipient area of the scalp getting affected by bacteria, fungi, or other microorganisms which can cause inflammation and other complications. Infection after a hair transplant is pretty rare to happen. But take precautions so you will end up with the best outcome after the hair transplant procedure. 

Hair transplants come with minimal risks of infection compared to other medical procedures, but that does not mean the chance is zero. If any of the initial symptoms after the hair transplant procedure continue and do not get any better it most probably is an infection. 

Here, we are with our article on hair transplant infection. The key points you will see here are:

  • INFECTED HAIR TRANSPLANT ONLY HAPPENS TO 1% OF THE PATIENTS UNDERGOING THE PROCEDURE.
  • SOME OF THE SIGNS OF AN INFECTION SUCH AS REDNESS, SWELLING, AND PAIN ARE SIMILAR TO RECOVERY SIGNS.
  • INFECTIONS USUALLY SHOW UP BETWEEN 3 TO 7 DAYS AFTER THE SURGERY.
  • FOLLOWING POST-OPERATION INSTRUCTIONS ALSO PLAYS AN IMPORTANT PART IN NOT GETTING ANY INFECTIONS.


However, it doesn’t end here. Let’s start with the first question that comes to mind when you think about hair transplant infection.

What Are The Signs Of An Infected Hair Transplant?

Hair transplant infection signs that you should look out for are:

  • REDNESS OR DISCOLORATION
  • SWELLING AND WARMTH
  • PAIN
  • BLEEDING
  • ITCHINESS
  • BURNING

These symptoms of infection are almost the same as the recovery signs after the hair restoration procedure. So you have to keep an eye on your scalp during the healing process so as not to miss any of the signs.

Infection can show up with some systemic symptoms, such as:

  • HEADACHE
  • FEVER
  • NAUSEA
  • VOMITING
  • LETHARGY


When any of these symptoms persist for longer than 3 to 7 days you should definitely seek medical attention and contact your doctor.

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How Common Is Hair Transplant Infection?

Infection after surgery is usually one of the biggest risks but not with hair transplant. According to the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery, data collected from 2896 people through 10 years shows that infections affect less than 1% of patients.

What Do Infected Hair Transplant Follicles Look Like?

When hair follicles are infected they would look bumpy and most probably red and inflamed. The bumps might even be filled with pus that can ooze out of them as well.

How to recognize the infection?

  • Excessive pain
  • Swelling after 3 days
  • Sensations of heat and burning
  • Presence of pus
  • Redness
  • Excessive itching
  • Abscesses
  • Excessive bleeding

What to do in case of infection?

Antibiotics (by topical or oral application) may be needed in addition to shampoos with antibacterial properties. If you have abscesses, your doctor will need to drain them to speed healing.

In any case, contact your doctor immediately.

Causes Of Hair Transplant Infections

Even though the chances of infection after a hair transplant procedure are low, there are things that if not done correctly can cause it.

  • NOT PICKING A REPUTABLE CLINIC
  • UNSANITARY SURGICAL ENVIRONMENT
  • POOR HYGIENE
  • UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITION OF THE PATIENT
  • NOT DOING PROPER POST-OPERATIVE CARE 

Not Picking A Reputable Clinic

A licensed clinic is a smart choice when you are getting your hair transplant. This means that the hair clinic is constantly checked and has up-to-date equipment.

Unsanitary Surgical Environment

If the clinic does not follow safety and sterilization protocols that should be followed then as a patient you will have higher infection risks.

Poor Hygiene

Other than the clinic and the surgical environment, hygiene is very important in keeping the infection at bay. Not doing proper wound cleaning and keeping the scalp clean can end you up with an infection. 

The Underlying Medical Condition Of The Patient

Even if you pick the best hair transplant clinics, if you have some health issues such as autoimmune conditions you are more susceptible to having an infected hair transplant.

Not Doing Proper Post-Operative Care

When your doctor’s work is done the recovery part will be on you. Of course, your doctor will give you the aftercare instructions, but you have to follow them meticulously so you will end up with the perfect hair you want.

Which Hair Transplant Method Has A Higher Risk Of Infection?

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) has the highest risk of infection compared to other methods of hair transplantation. This is due to the nature of the procedure itself.

In FUT the strip of skin that is taken from the back of the scalp leaves a bigger wound behind which is why compared to other methods it can have a higher risk of infection.

★ FUE and DHI since do not have any big wounds only small incisions are made in the recipient area, it is less likely to have any infections.

What Are The Risks Of Hair Transplant Infection?

The main risks of hair transplant infection can be scarring and patchy regrowth. The infected areas if not treated can develop scar tissue which will turn into poor hair regrowth around them or even worse the hair might not grow at all.

If an infected hair transplant is left untreated for long the infection can travel to deeper tissues in the body and even enter the bloodstream causing sepsis.

Tips On Preventing Infection From Happening

As we said, hair transplant infections rarely happen after the procedure. But still, it is better to know how to prevent infections from happening. So here are the tips on that.

  • PICK A RECOGNIZED HAIR CLINIC
  • GO WITH AN EXPERIENCED HAIR DOCTOR
  • CHECK THE CLEANLINESS OF THE CLINIC
  • TAKE THE PRESCRIBED ANTIBIOTICS AS YOUR DOCTOR INSTRUCTED YOU
  • DO NOT TOUCH OR SCRATCH YOUR SCALP AFTER SURGERY
  • KEEP YOUR SCALP SANITARY BY USING A SOFT SHAMPOO
  • AVOID SMOKING AND DRINKING ALCOHOL
  • FOLLOW THE POST-OP INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY
  • AVOID DIRECT SUNLIGHT AND STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES
  • KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR ANY SIGNS OF INFECTION


By following these tips you are assured to have a smooth and normal healing time.

How To Treat Infected Hair Transplant Follicles?

If by any chance you are experiencing infected hair transplant follicles, you should first and foremost contact your doctor and their medical team. Based on your situation your doctor might prescribe antibiotic treatments. The treatments can be:

  • ORAL ANTIBIOTICS: TAKE THEM AS INSTRUCTED DURING THE DAY UNTIL THE CYCLE IS COMPLETED.
  • TOPICAL ANTIBIOTICS: DIRECTLY APPLY THE CREAM TO YOUR SCALP TO DRY UP THE ABSCESS.
  • ANTIBACTERIAL SHAMPOOS: TO HELP WITH ANY ABSCESS OR PIMPLE PRESENT ON THE SCALP.


While applying these treatments also make sure you are keeping up good hygiene as well.

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