Hair Transplant Scar
One of the tell-tale signs of having undergone hair restoration surgery is a linear scar across the back of your head. Hair transplant scars result from a method of hair transplantation known as FUT, or strip surgery. Hair transplant scars from this type of surgery are unpredictable in nature. Some lucky strip hair transplant patients will have only a slight, paper-thin scar. Others will develop thick, protruding scars of half an inch in width or more. The problem is that it is very difficult to determine how individual patients will heal, and whether their scars will stretch in time.
Avoiding a Hair Transplant Scar
The only way to avoid having a linear strip scar is to elect not to have strip surgery. One alternative method to strip is FUE, or follicular unit extraction. This method involves the excision of individual follicular units, one at a time. FUE does not result in a hair transplant scar because the doctor is not removing a large portion of tissue, nor is there a need for sutures. Without the linear scar left by strip surgery, FUE hair restoration surgery allows patients to restore their hairline, or add density where needed, without having to keep their hair long to conceal the donor area scar.
Strip Procedures and Scarring
During a strip procedure, the physician excises a ‘strip’ of tissue from the back and sides of the patient’s head. While surgical technicians begin dividing the tissue into individual follicular units, the physician closes the wound using sutures. In an ideal situation, the wound heals well and the scar is virtually undetectable underneath existing hair. However, in most situations, the scar will be quite visible and may even stretch over time. Having a hair transplant strip scar prevents patients from being able to wear their hair short or shaven without exposing the scar.
Other Drawbacks of Strip Procedures
In addition to the hair transplant scar that is left following a strip procedure, strip hair transplantation has a number of other drawbacks. Strip procedures are more invasive in nature than FUE, and the patient therefore requires additional healing and recovery time. Strip procedures also permanently distort hair growth angles, where the tissue and hair is removed, drawing even more attention to the linear scar. Yet another concern with strip procedures is that surgical technicians, and not the hair restoration surgeon, are often responsible for dissecting the strip into individual follicular units. This can contribute to fewer hairs per graft and even result in graft transection.