I recently read an interesting article written by Dr. Yagyu from Japan that discusses guidelines for patients who are on antithrombotic therapy and interested in having a hair restoration procedure.
The procedures we perform as Hair Transplant Surgeons are typically completely elective and as such do not warrant putting the individual in any sort of medical danger. Along these lines, we are often approached by patients who may be taking antithrombotic medications including aspirin, coumadin, and plavix for a variety of medical conditions. In the past, the thinking has been that since we are usually transplanting into the scalp or face, and since the areas are so vascular (which is part of the reason why there is such good growth of follicular grafts and such a low incidence of infection) that it would not be a good idea to transplant someone who is on one of these antithrombotic medications, as it would be difficult to control the bleeding and thus difficult to create sites for the transplanted hair and place the grafts as well. This study by Dr. Yagyu included 25 patients with cardiovascular disease who underwent 46 hair transplant procedures. Risk factors in these patients included coronary artery stents, prosthetic heart valves, and atrial fibrillation. The conclusions based on the results showed that in these patients low dose aspirin “does not cause hemorrhagic tendency and it can be continued before hair transplantation”. The study also determined that low dose coumadin also does not interfere with surgery and can be continued before a hair transplant procedure. My own experience with a patient taking Plavix prior to undergoing an eyebrow transplant procedure, was that in this specific case, there were no complications associated with the patient taking an antithrombotic medication.
It is always imperative to weigh the risks against the rewards associated with any patient undergoing a surgical procedure, but the results of this study are very positive in regards to patients who require antithrombotic therapy and wish to undergo a hair transplant procedure.
All the best,
Marc Dauer, M.D.