Hair transplants replenish balding areas of the scalp with thick, natural hair – but this comes at a price: hair transplant scars. Unfortunately, scarring is an inevitable byproduct of any form of surgery. When an incision is made into the skin, it will always leave a mark behind. Hair transplants involve cutting hairs out of one region of the scalp (known as the donor site) and inserting them into another area of the head (known as the treatment area). Both of these processes involve making incisions into the skin, which, unfortunately, results in scarring.
There is some good news, however: when a hair transplant is conducted appropriately by a skilled and certified surgeon, the operation will never create large, unsightly or visible scars. Experienced surgeons know how to administer a hair transplant in such a way that minimises and conceals scar tissue.
In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know about hair transplant scars, from the different types of scar that are created by different types of transplant, to the treatment options that are available if you wish to reduce or diminish your scar tissue.
Do Hair Transplants Leave Scars?
Yes, a hair transplant will always produce some scarring. However, the amount of scarring depends on a variety of factors, such as your age, the condition of your scalp, and the expertise of your surgeon. Additionally, the type of hair transplant that you have will have an impact on the size and shape of the scar that is caused by the surgery:
FUT Hair Transplant Scars:
Follicular Unit Transplantation (abbreviated to FUT) is the formal name for a type of hair transplant surgery that is sometimes referred to as ‘the strip method’ or ‘strip surgery’. This is because it involves the removal of a small strip of skin from the back of your scalp. This area is known as the donor site, and your surgeon will stitch it closed once the strip of tissue has been removed.
Then, your surgeon will remove the hair follicles from the extracted strip of skin using a technique called stereo-microscopic dissection. These hair follicles are then implanted into the balding areas of the scalp, where they will begin to produce new hair.
The stitches that were put in place to seal up the donor site will be removed after 10 to 14 days have passed, and this will create a thin, linear scar. The length of the scar depends on the size of the strip of tissue that was removed. However, in most cases the scar is small enough to cover with the hair that surrounds it.
FUE Hair Transplant Scars
FUE stands for Follicular Unit Extraction. In contrast to FUT, FUE does not involve the removal of skin from the donor site. Instead, the donor site is shaved, and hair follicles are cut out from it individually. This involves the use of an instrument called a micro-punch, and a local anaesthetic is used during this process to reduce pain as much as possible. The hair follicles are then transferred one-by-one to the balding regions of the head.
When a hair follicle is extracted from the donor site using the micro-punch, it creates a small, round scar on your skin, which circles the extracted hair follicle. Each scar will be no larger than one millimetre in diameter, though there can be many of them, depending on the number of hair follicles that are transplanted during the procedure.
However, if your surgeon is experienced, they will ensure that they do not remove too many hair follicles from the donor site. This will ensure that enough hair grows back in this area, which will allow the scars to be concealed by the surrounding hair.
Why Do Some Hair Transplants Create Visible Scars?
If you cut your hair very short in the first six to twelve months after your hair transplant, it is possible that the scars will be visible. This is because the scar tissue is still healing, and a short haircut will prevent the surrounding hair from covering them completely.
If your surgeon lacks expertise or experience, they may take too many hair follicles from the donor site. This will produce visible scars, because there will not be enough hair remaining in the donor site to conceal the scars that were created by the extraction of hair follicles.
Similarly, it is essential that your surgeon removes hair follicles from many different regions of the head. If, instead, your surgeon removes follicles from a concentrated area of the scalp, they will create patchy spots of baldness. This will expose the scars, as there will not be any surrounding hair available to conceal them with.
At Aventus Clinic, our experienced surgeons administer hair transplants with the utmost care, ensuring that there are no visible scars once the procedure has been completed.
Are Hair Transplant Scars Permanent?
Yes, hair transplant scars are permanent, though they can fade a little with time. Hair transplant surgery involves making incisions in the scalp, and it is both natural and inevitable for these cuts to cause permanent scarring on the skin’s surface. Patients should be wary of any clinic which claims to offer ‘scarless hair transplants’ or ‘scarless surgery’, as these claims will always be dishonest, since it is simply not possible to perform surgery without creating some scars.
However, when your hair transplant is administered by a qualified and experienced practitioner, scarring will be minimal. As we discussed above, a skilled surgeon will always harvest hair follicles in such a way that reduces scarring as much as possible. Additionally, they will ensure that the small scars which are created during the surgery can be hidden by the surrounding hair. This means that, though hair transplant scars are permanent, they are essentially invisible.
How Can I Remove My Hair Transplant Scars?
The best way to avoid suffering from visible hair transplant scars is to have your transplant conducted at a reputable surgery, such as Aventus Clinic. This will ensure that your scars are small and concealed. Nevertheless, if you are already suffering from visible hair transplant scars, there are some treatments available which can reduce their size and visibility.
FUE Hair Transplant Surgery for your FUT Hair Transplant Scar:
As we discussed above, FUT hair transplant surgery creates a single, linear scar. This scar appears in the donor site from which a strip of skin is removed. This is usually on the lower back of the scalp.
In these cases, FUE hair transplant surgery can be used to conceal the scar that was created by the FUT hair transplant. Your surgeon will select a new donor site and remove hair follicles from it using a micro punch. These follicles will be grafted on and around the scar tissue. When hair begins to sprout from the transplanted follicles, the new hair will cover the scar, rendering it invisible.
Of course, FUE hair transplant surgery will create new scars in the new donor site. However, the scars created by FUE are much smaller than those that are created by FUT, and they are much easier to conceal with the surrounding hair, and thus they will not be visible.
Things to Know:
Unfortunately, FUE surgery is not a suitable scar repair remedy for everyone. Patients with a very thick linear scar, for example, are unlikely to be good candidates for this treatment, as it is improbable that the scar will be able to be hidden by the transplanted hair.
Similarly, FUE surgery will be ineffective if there is a weak blood supply to the scar tissue. This is because the transplanted hair follicles will fail to produce new hair if there is an inadequate blood supply flowing to the skin surrounding the scar. Unfortunately, it is common for scar tissue to experience reduced levels of blood flow than healthy skin, and consequently it can be difficult to graft hairs to the scarred area.
If you are unsure whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment, arrange a consultation with one of our friendly specialists. They will assess your scar tissue and determine whether FUE surgery is a viable treatment option for you. If it is not, then there are alternative treatments available, such as Advanced Tricho Pigmentation.
Advanced Tricho Pigmentation (ATP) Treatment for Scars:
Advanced Tricho Pigmentation, or ATP, conceals scars by mimicking the appearance of hair on your skin. The treatment works much like a tattoo: natural pigments are applied to the skin of the scalp to change its colour and imitate the look and shape of natural hair.
ATP is sometimes used to treat balding or thinning hair by darkening the balding regions of the head and thickening patchy areas of the scalp. It also used to treat receding hairlines by building on and thickening the recessive hair.
When ATP is used to treat hair transplant scars, natural pigments are applied to the scar tissue. This conceals the marks by creating the illusion that hair is growing on the scarred areas. As ever, it is essential that patients who are interested in ATP arrange an appointment with an experienced and certified technician in order to achieve the excellent and natural-looking results that they desire.
Ultimately, scarring is an inescapable side-effect of hair transplant surgery. It is important to be aware of this, so that you can dismiss the dishonest claims of unprofessional clinics which pretend that they can offer ‘scarless’ transplant treatments. Nevertheless, it is also important to know that a good surgeon will always be able to conceal scar tissue, and that hair transplant scars should always be small and hidden by the surrounding hair. As a result, it is perfectly possible to have a hair transplant that does not cause visible scarring.