Toronto Hair Transplant Surgeons

The Role of Tumescence in Hair Transplant

The Role of Tumescence in Hair Transplant


Hi, this is Dr. Jonathan Huber. I’m one of the partners at Toronto Hair Transplant Surgeons. I’m coming at you today with a bit of an explainer. Today, we’re going to be talking about tumescence.

So, if you’ve been looking into this hair transplant or maybe you’ve had a hair transplant, you’ve watched videos, you know that while we’re doing the surgery sometimes we inject a little bit of fluid underneath the skin. And when I’m doing surgery sometimes patients are asking me “What is this fluid that you’re using?” “Why are you doing this?”.

It’s a great question. There are a few reasons for it – including helping to control bleeding, including decreasing swelling, but one of the main reasons is best illustrated by a toy that actually my young daughter brought home the other day. 

So I thought I would show you this toy and help explain exactly what tumescence is. 

So let’s take a look at this squishy toy. You’ve probably seen one of these before. Let’s imagine that this is actually your scalp with a bunch of hair on it. You can see that if this was your donor area, that means the area where I’m removing hair to transplant. Those hairs are pretty close to each other and if I remove one, I might damage one of its neighbours. 

So, by putting a little bit of fluid under the skin and blowing it up, just like that, you can see how those hairs are now spread apart and I can more safely extract follicles without damaging one of its neighbours. 

Now the situation is pretty similar in the recipient area as well. So let’s imagine now, that instead of your donor area, that’s your recipient area. Maybe it’s not quite as dense as the donor area. Maybe it’s kind of like that. Now I’ve got to take all these transplanted follicles and I’ve got to move them in between your existing hairs. 

Well, this is okay. I’ve got some space to do it. But if I use some tumescence and really blow that up… now I’ve got more space. I can potentially fit more follicles in there, adding more density to that recipient area.

So that’s it! That’s why we use tumescence in hair transplant surgery.