How Does Smoking Affect Hair Transplants?

How does smoking post-op affect the long term results of transplants? Does it make the hair shafts thinner and eventually hair loss in the grafted region? Is this something that will reverse with exercise, and stopping smoking? — S.B.

Dear S.B., there is no evidence that smoking has any negative long-term effect on hair transplant results. As doctors, we don’t want patients to smoke for health reasons, but also, we urge patients to refrain from smoking in the short term post-operatively for an optimal healing process. Smoking reduces blood flow, and may slow the short-term healing process. Many patients who smoke simply don’t stop smoking pre-op or post-op and there is no negative impact on the results. Stopping post-operatively is a “nice-to-have” not a “must-have”.

Jerry Wong, MD

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