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Will I Lose My Hair After Bariatric Surgery?

doctors-officeAs with any major surgery, the recovery from bariatric surgery can lead to temporary side effects as your body heals. For some individuals this may involve hair loss for approximately three to four months after their weight loss procedure. While there are multiple causes of this cosmetic concern, it is believed that hair loss following bariatric surgery is due to telogen effluvium. This type of shedding may happen after major life events, like childbirth, nutritional deficiencies, surgery, emotional stress, and other physical distress.

Some degree of hair loss is common, especially after procedures that cause more rapid weight loss—such as gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery. However, this is usually only temporary. While the specific reason for hair loss may differ from one patient to another, it is ultimately caused by a disruption in the hair’s natural growth process.

Normally, the majority of one’s hair follicles are in their growth phase (known as anagen), while the remaining follicles are in the resting phase (known as telogen). Once a follicle is done with its growth phase, it will naturally enter the resting phase, eventually being replaced once the new growth cycle begins. After bariatric surgery, however, the body is recovering from the trauma of surgery and, as a result, may prioritize other functions over hair growth. This is why hair may start to shed after surgery, because hair follicles may delay in entering their next growth phase.

While hair loss can be an unwelcome side effect of surgery, our team at Suburban Surgical Care Specialists / Kane Center will discuss this possibility and other events that may occur after your procedure so you know what to expect. We work closely with our patients at every step of their weight loss journey to ensure they have the support and resources needed for long-term success. From prescribing nutrient supplements and advising a healthy diet to monitoring progress and recommending support groups—our bariatric surgeons will help you navigate the post-operative period to ensure you have a smooth, comfortable recovery.