Managing hairloss after radiation treatment

Sept 09, 2019 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)

Managing hairloss

Radiation therapy as we all know is a modality for treatment of tumors and has many side effects, some of them may be psychologically devastating like hair loss. In case of chemotherapy, the hair loss is generally reversible but in case of hair loss after radiation therapy it may be reversible or it may be irreversible or permanent. Hair loss generally starts around 3-4 weeks after the start of the radiation treatment. It can take around 3-6 months for the hair to start grow. The hair which grows back may be very thin or sparse and may have different texture also.

During and after radiation therapy one should take extra care while managing hair loss, some of the points to consider are:
1. Use soft hair brush or wide toothed comb for brushing and while brushing the hair one should be very gentle.
2. Use mild or baby shampoo for head wash.
3. Avoid using hair dryers, hot irons or other chemical products.
4. For drying, use soft towel to pat dry or let the hair dry naturally.
5. Use comfortable scarf to cover the head to avoid direct sun exposure and also to keep head warm.

Some people prefer to cut their hairs short, while other shave off the hair but one should be very careful while removing the hair and avoid using razor.

Some persons use wig to cover the head till the time the hairs grow back but in permanent hair loss or in the situations when hair loss has not recovered fully and there is patchy area of baldness, one can consider hair transplant as an option and consult an experienced doctor for this.

The doctor will examine the condition of the scalp and also assess whether donor hair follicles are available or not and whether the available donor is adequate for the hair transplant to give the expected result. It should be kept in mind that radiation causes compromise in the blood flow to the area which received the treatment. One should counsel that the area may require multiple session of hair transplant to get the coverage of baldness. It should be kept in mind that as there is poor blood supply in the area which underwent radiation so, chances of infection also increase. It is mandatory to stick to strict aseptic protocols and prophylactic antibiotic should always be given due importance in these cases.

If doctor feels that person is a candidate for hair transplant then one should go for hair transplant as a properly performed procedure not only gives good cosmetic result but it also gave the boost to the psychology of the patient and hence the confidence also.

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