My hair loss started after major surgery to my leg; I was told by a doctor that trauma can kick male pattern balding into effect. I was just wondering about the time frame in which major surgery would jeopardize the survivability of transplanted grafts?
Trauma or a major surgery can cause a temporary shedding called Telogen Effluvium (TE). Hair that is already weakened by pre-existing Androgenic Alopecia (AGA) may not grow back after a bout of TE. For example, many women notice excessive shedding a couple of months after they deliver a baby and their hair gets thinner. Most women find their hair grows back 6 to 12 months later. Women with female pattern balding who have a bout of TE often don’t get a full recovery. Some women with genetic balding find they have a step-wise worsening of their AGA after each pregnancy.
I have not met or examined you but if you have AGA (MPB), you have had the genes all along. The trauma could have led to a bout of TE, which in turn uncovered your MPB.
Whether it is 3 weeks or 6 months after your hair transplant, the grafts should be established and should not be directly affected by a big surgery. At 3 weeks your grafts will be resting and at 6 months you would have seen some early growth. Most people who have a knee replacement will not get Telogen Effluvium but it is possible to get TE a couple of months after your surgery. If you shed transplanted hair (that came from a safe donor area) it will grow back. If you shed AGA – sensitive hair, most of it will grow back but the weakest hair may not. Medical treatment with Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) may have a protective effect for your native hair.
I hope this helps. Ultimately, you should discuss the timing of your hair restoration surgery and knee replacement with the doctors who will be performing the procedures because they will be taking responsibility for the outcome.
Cam Simmons MD ABHRS
David – aka TakingThePlunge
Forum Co-Moderator and Editorial Assistant for the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning Center, the Hair Loss Q&A Blog, and the Hair Restoration Forum