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Hair Transplant Trypophobia: The Fear of Holes on the Scalp

overcome the fear of hair transplant typophobia

Do you feel disgusted, anxious, and scared when you see a bunch of small holes clustered?

Even seeing a strawberry photo makes you feel uncomfortable?

Ok, then you might be trypophobic and automatically hair transplant trypophobic.

Delicious, red, and ripe strawberry picture for trypophobics

Don’t worry, you are not alone. The estimations of the National Institute of Mental Health show that 12.5% of adults in the United States experience a phobia at some point in their lives.

So, in this this article, I’m going to cover:

  1. What is hair transplant trypophobia?
  2. Hair Transplant Trypophobia Pictures
  3. How to ensure that your hair transplant is 100% successful?

From the 2nd section and on, the article includes some trypophobic pictures. Please continue accordingly.

What is Hair Transplant Trypophobia?

Trypophobia is fear or aversion to clusters of tiny holes. It is not considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 

​​A study says that even if the reasons for trypophobia are not totally clear, the aversion of small holes somehow is a survival instinct preparing the person against the danger of a wild animal, parasites, or infectious disease that might come out of holes.

Hair transplant trypophobia is an autonomous nervous system response to the look of small holes in the donor site where the micro-punch device is applied and the incision site where the extracted grafts will be placed.

In a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) procedure, the surgeon uses a micro-punch device (0.8 mm or less in diameter) to extract hair follicles from the side or back of the head. This process opens very tiny scars/holes in the application zones.

If you have hair transplant trypophobia, you can feel discomfort by looking at these holes in front of the mirror.

Thus, hair transplantation may trigger trypophobia. However, this does not mean trypophobics can’t get a hair transplantation operation. It can be overcome with the help of an experienced hair transplant surgeon employing the right patient stress management methods.

Hair Transplant Trypophobia Pictures

Here are some pictures related to hair transplant trypophobia I found online. I guess the left one is from archives of ISHRS and shows a result of an outdated hair transplant technique. The right one is done with a modern technique but the surgeon used improper micro-punch.

Hair transplant trypophobia trigger (improper, old technique)
Hair transplant trypophobia trigger (modern tech. but with wrong micro-punch)

These are totally DISASTERS and ULTIMATE HAIR TRANSPLANTATION FAILURES.

Unfortunately, there are many non-medicals (from taxi drivers to janitors) doing these operations for $800 – $1000 packages including hotel, transportation in Turkey. The outcomes are inevitably hair transplant failures.

This kind of hair transplantation will definitely leave visible scars on your scalp (as seen in the picture below) trigger not only trypophobics but also a normal person.

Hair transplant failure caused visible scars on the back of the head

Normally, there won’t be such huge holes on your scalp even right after the operation. An experienced surgeon uses the tiniest micro-punch possible considering your hair type and thickness.

What you should expect to see in the donor area right after the operation is as follows:

The result of proper diameter micro-punch in hair transplant surgery

And these kinds of small holes usually heal within days with good post-operative care offered by a dermatologist whose specialty is skin/scalp and hair.

Extremely fast recovery is possible if:

  • The right hair transplantation technique is used. (Sapphire FUE, DHI)
  • The minimum diameter micro-punch is used.
  • The donor area is not overharvested and seriously damaged. (causes inflammation and scars)
  • The recipient area is not overloaded and existing follicles are not damaged. (might cause tissue rejection and death of healthy hair follicles)
  • A patient is provided with detailed post-operative instructions and high-quality post-op care products. (shampoo, lotions, etc.)
  • A patient properly followed post-operative instructions. 

Since the tiny holes will be there just for a couple of days, it will be much easy to handle stress and discomfort.

How to ensure that your hair transplant is 100% successful?

Trypophobia, fear of holes, already affects your daily life. And, you may think it also prevents you from restoring your natural look with hair restoration surgery.

You are not alone and many others have different phobias against surgeries such as tomophobia (fear of surgical operations), hemophobia (fear of blood), trypanophobia (fear of needles), etc.

At the end of the day, benefits far outweigh the fear and discomfort when you comb your new hair in front of the mirror, without hair loss, anxiety, stress, and low self-image.

Therefore you can have a hair transplant trypophobia and still restore your natural look by hair restoration surgery.

Let’s cover what we can to do manage the hair transplant trypophobia:

  1. An experienced surgeon and proper clinic:
  2. Education/information
  3. Meditation/stress management
  4. Medication

An experienced surgeon and proper clinic:

Knowing that your doctor has a very high success rate and does almost perfect operations every day is pretty relaxing. Don’t cut the cost while finding the doctor especially if you have a hair transplant trypophobia.

If your clinic is low-cost and does not involve a dermatologist in the operation, very large diameter punches might be used without considering the hair type and thickness (curly, straight, very thin, extremely thick, and hard). 

These large punches help them to complete the operation in less time and move on to the next patient in the “hair mill”. They spend less time on your operation, they reduce the cost, earn more by doing an extreme number of patients every day.

However, these large punches open bigger holes than expected.

A proper clinic and experienced surgeon will make sure that holes are as small as possible and disappear within days.

Education/Information

Do you know the psychological fact that expectation of pain intensity affects the pain feel? 

Expectations about a future pain alter the perceived pain intensity to closer levels of expected intensity. If you believe that, a procedure will cause a little pain, it will most probably cause less pain than it should.

In the same manner, if you believe you can have the surgery and see tiny holes on the scalp as a normal thing that everybody does, it will normalize.

One of the most effective ways to overcome hair transplant phobia is to learn everything about the operation and gradually confront the fear in a safe and controlled environment.

You can find a responsive, transparent, and attentive clinic and dermatologist surgeon knowing more than 3,000 conditions about skin, scalp, and hair and learn everything you need to know about hair restoration surgery leaving no room for a surprise. This way, the chance of triggering a hair transplant trypophobia will be much lower.

At UnitedCare, we really love to inform our prospects about hair transplantation in UnitedCare and Turkey. Feel free to ask us anything you want:

Overcome the fear of hair transplant

Restore your natural look with professional help.

Meditation/Stress Management

Although you may still experience a phobic reaction, meditating before facing the situation can make your symptoms less severe. It may help you stay free of unhelpful fears.

Meditation could make you more relaxed and tranquil your mind. During meditation, you focus your attention on the moment and eliminate thoughts crowding your mind and causing stress. It calms not only the mind but also the body.

According to a meta-analytic review:

Mindfulness-based therapy is a promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems in clinical populations.

Thus, meditating before going into hair transplant surgery, can make you feel less discomfort and fear. 

In addition, a close relative or friend you trust may be helpful to manage the stress and keep you calm during the operation. When your focus is away from your fears, symptoms disappear.

Keep in mind that, medical staff is dealing with numerous patients having a variety of fears/phobias every day. They have an opportunity to improve the technical skills they acquired in universities with daily practice. 

Thus, they will be pretty helpful to keep you calm and will accompany you throughout the experience.

Medications

Sedation

Normally, hair transplant operations are done under local anesthesia done with a pain-free needleless dermojet.

If a patient has a phobia, an anesthesiologist can involve in the surgery and give sedation. When it kicks in, a patient feels relaxation and drowsiness and does not feel pain. 

Also, negative emotions, stress, or anxiety gradually disappear.

Sedation should only be done by an anesthesiologist that can adjust the proper dose. Always ask the profession of the medical personnel trying to give sedation. Otherwise, a patient may have a heart attack, pneumonia, or stroke with the wrong dose.

Beta-Blockers

They reduce blood pressure, safely slow down the heart and reduce stress and anxiety. It gives hair transplant trypophobic patients relief throughout the operation.

Beta-blockers may have some side effects such as sleep problems and cold fingers. A healthcare professional should decide on its use.

Anti-anxiety (Anxiolytic) Drugs

Anxiolytics are used to treat anxiety and excessive worry. They are effective to get rid of hair transplant trypophobia symptoms.

Some of them are alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium).

They are also preferred as an alternative to sedation in medical procedures.

Anxiolytics may cause drowsiness or dizziness as side effects.

Can you overcome hair transplant trypophobia?

If you believe in yourself, YES, you can overcome it with the right conditions, environment, and support.

Finding an experienced clinic and surgeon, learning all details about the procedure, employing meditation techniques and use of medications relieve your discomfort and anxiety caused by the hair transplant trypophobia.

With the experience of seeing thousands of cases, we are ready to help you handle the phobia and are just a click away:

We believe in you to overcome the fear.

Do you believe in yourself?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Can you go bald after a hair transplant?

In the first months, it is normal to have a shock loss and all transplanted hairs fall out. After this period, the hair growth cycle re-starts, and new hairs start to grow. The transplanted hair is more resistant to male and female pattern hair loss (AGA) because hairs on the sides and back of the head (donor site) are generally less sensitive to androgens.


How can a hair transplant go wrong?

The average failure rate of hair transplants is 5%. In professional clinics, the rate is below 1%.

The failure reasons are:

  • Overharvesting and leaving scars in the donor area.
  • Damaging existing hair roots.
  • Tissue rejection or inflammation in the recipient area.
  • Very low graft survival rate due to improper techniques.
  • Compilations that couldn’t be properly dealt with non-medicals and nurses.

Is hair transplant not for hair transplant tryphophobes?

No, they can have a hair transplant. With proper stress management and operation techniques, a patient overcomes the fear, undergo hair restoration surgery, return to his daily routines in a week.

Utkan Kızıltaç, MD

Chief Physician and Dermatologist Hair Transplant Surgeon of UnitedCare, a dermatology clinic helping patients become the best version of themselves.

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