As the body heals following surgery, patients may note certain physical changes. While swelling and tenderness are quite common, hair loss is another possible, yet much rarer, side effect.
If the surgical procedure involved anesthesia, as most do, individuals may contribute their hair loss to this factor. They may even call their surgeon’s office and ask: Does anesthesia cause hair loss?
In order to answer this question, let’s take a look at the two types of hair loss that are possible post-operatively and determine if there is a causal relationship between anesthesia and hair loss.
Types of Hair Loss Following Surgery
There are two types of hair loss that may present after surgery – pressure alopecia and telogen effluvium.
Pressure alopecia may result after a long surgery, during which, the scalp is held in one position for a prolonged period of time (several hours). This can produce localized hair loss to one portion of the scalp.
This type of hair loss may also occur following cardiovascular or pulmonary surgeries that involve a heart-lung machine which can decrease blood flow throughout the body and scalp.
Telogen effluvium is a stress-induced, generalized type of hair loss that may be caused by a number of factors including:
- Acute illness
- Severe infection
- Major surgery
- Severe trauma
- Chronic illness (cancer, liver or kidney disease),
- Hormone fluctuations
- Changes in diet
- Variety of medications
Does Anesthesia Cause Hair Loss?
When patients experience pressure alopecia or telogen effluvium post-operatively, they may wonder: Does anesthesia cause hair loss?
Although anesthesia is an essential component in most surgical procedures, there is not a direct link between anesthesia and hair loss or any evidence that anesthesia, in and of itself, causes hair loss.
Rather, confounding variables associated with surgery and recovery are likely the root of hair loss.
Learn More About Surgical Procedures and Anesthesia
To learn more about surgery and anesthesia, contact a reputable medical practice to schedule a consultation with a highly skilled and experienced provider.