Factors influencing postoperative hyperesthesia in hair restoration surgery

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2011 Dec;10(4):301-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00582.x.


Background: While esthetic outcomes in hair restoration surgery (HRS) have improved markedly since the advent of follicular unit transplantation (FUT), various undesirable sequelae persist. We investigated the technical and demographic variables that may contribute to the frequency of postoperative hyperesthesia.

Methods: A multicenter retrospective chart review involving 552 patients undergoing HRS from 1999 to 2009.

Results: A total of 19 patients (3.4%) reported postoperative hyperesthesia in either the donor or recipient area of their scalp. Although many trends emerged, one variable significantly influenced the rate of this neurosensory symptom. While no patient who had all previous and current HRS sessions performed entirely within the same investigated surgical practice (n=42) experienced postoperative hyperesthesia, 14% of our patients who underwent prior HRS by a physician outside of the investigated surgical group (n=35) developed this complication (P=0.0404). The amount of intraoperative electrocautery to maintain hemostasis (P=0.0897), degree of tension upon donor wound closure (P=0.3044), and extent of donor wound edge undermining (P=0.4420) influenced the frequency of this sequela to a lesser degree.

Conclusion: These results suggest that physicians planning repair sessions on patients who have undergone prior HRS by a physician at a different surgical center should include the specific caveat of increased incidences of postoperative hyperesthesia in their preoperative consultation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alopecia / surgery
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cosmetic Techniques / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hair
  • Hair Follicle / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Hyperesthesia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scalp / innervation
  • Scalp / physiopathology
  • Scalp / surgery*