Does Removing Hair from The Donor Area on The Back of My Head Leave A Scar?
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) are the two surgical procedures most often utilized for hair transplant. As part of the FUT surgical technique, a strip of scalp from the donor area is excised. Keep in mind that the scalp is very elastic. So after the donor strip of hair is removed, the scalp on both sides is just pulled together and sutured. The only evidence of surgery is a single, thin line that is typically around 1-3mm in width, hidden under the hair that grows vertically on the back of the head. Scarring can be minimized by fastidious closures in which the wound edges are perfectly approximated so that there is minimal or no tension. Additionally, when the FUT surgical technique is performed with a tricophytic closure, as Dr. Dauer routinely does, it results in hair growth through the scar which further camouflages it. Normally patients can safely cut their hair down to a 4 cm haircut with no visibility of the FUT scar and some patients can go as low as a 2 cm haircut without seeing the scar. The scar is visible at a 1 cm haircut in most cases.
FUE is a relatively newer method of removing donor hair follicles that we are artfully utilizing at our hair transplant practice in Los Angeles. Some misinformed patients and physicians have the misconception that FUE is a completely scarless procedure. This is not the case. The FUE surgical technique creates small puncture wounds (typically, 0.8mm-0.9 mm in diameter) that leave tiny white dots. Typically, these scars are of no cosmetic consequence to the patient as they are generally not visible unless the hair is shaved to a very short length (less than 1 cm). In some cases where large numbers of donor follicles are harvested from the donor region a #2 haircut may be required to conceal the dot scarring from FUE. Accordingly, the primary advantage of the FUE procedure over the FUT technique is the lack of a linear scar and stitches, not the lack of any scarring whatsoever.
When older methods are utilized, current surgical techniques are performed improperly, or less commonly when a patient is a poor healer, scarring may be more visible and may present a cosmetic problem. This is why it is imperative that you choose a hair transplant surgeon with extensive experience performing FUT and FUE hair transplants and ideally a hair transplant surgeon that performs the extraction themselves, such as Dr. Dauer.