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October 22, 2020
With so many men and women losing hair even at quite an early age, hair transplants have seen steady growth over the years. Advancement in technology has also seen various hair transplant techniques evolve, making the process widely accessible to many. But what are the repercussions of these procedures; does hair transplant leave scars?
Well, although hair transplants are significantly safe, one thing is for sure – they will leave a scar. Even the most cutting-edge techniques still have a certain level of scarring involved. But not to worry, there are also several hair transplant scars removal methods that can help you minimize or conceal these scars.
Today we look at the different types of hair transplant scars and how we can treat or conceal them.
Currently, there are two main surgical procedures that doctors use to help re-establish hair growth. These two are the follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction (FUT and FUE).
The type of procedure you choose will directly affect the type of hair transplant scar you get. Also, factors such as how experienced your doctor is and your budget will also affect these procedures’ success and, ultimately, the resulting scar.
FUT is one hair transplant method that, over the years, has offered a reliable solution to hair loss. The procedure involves surgical hair harvesting from one part of the scalp (primarily the back part) and grafting these hair follicles on the affected area (recipient area).
The harvesting process involves cutting a small strip of scalp skin containing healthy hair, from which healthy hair follicles are harvested. Each follicle is grafted into an individual incision made on the scalp’s recipient part during the transplant. Stitches on the scar are usually removed after around ten days, and the procedure is usually out-patient based.
Although this procedure is effective in giving back the desired hair growth, there’s a scar left behind where the harvesting was made. Most people will want to get rid of this long scar, or at least be able to conceal it.
Unlike in the traditional FUT, where the surgeon cuts a strip of skin to harvest hair follicles, they harvest individual follicles separately from the scalp in FUE. This can be done either from the back or the sides of the scalp.
Although hair follicles are grafted individually, this doesn’t mean you are free of scars. The micro-punch tool used to graft the hair follicles leave tiny circular scars from each extraction. This means that you’ll have tiny dot-like scars either on the back or the sides of your head.
Since each extracted follicle contains 1-4 hairs, the hairs are again separated and grafted individually on the recipient area. This is done through small incisions done on the recipient part of the scalp.
Due to the nature of the FUE procedure, it may take several hours to days, depending on the number of grafts needed. Also, it might be necessary to undergo the process several times to attain the ideal results.
The procedure is outpatient-based and also uses local anesthesia. But unlike the FUT, no stitches are necessary for the donor area.
The type of procedure you choose will determine the type of hair transplant surgery scar you incur. Generally, there are about four types of scars from these procedures.
1. Strip or FUT Scars (Follicular Unit Transplantation Scars)
These are scars resulting from the FUT hair transplant method. The use of the FUT technique dates back to the early 1990s, and it’s still in use up to date. Since the process is cheaper than the most advanced ones, like the FUE, many people opt for this - also because its retention rate after healing is high.
An FUE or Strip scar is hard to conceal as it appears as a long line running across the back of your scalp. The scar might sometimes run from one ear to the other. The size of this scar will mainly depend on the size of the skin strip removed from the donor region.
Note: scarring can be worse if you use a doctor with minimal or no experience in these procedures.
2. Dot or FUE Scars (Follicular Unit Extraction Scars)
FUE scars are scars resulting from the FUE hair transplant procedure. These scars are also known as “Dot scars” since they appear as small dots on the donor region. The dots are usually as a result of a punch tool, which the doctors use in the extraction of the hair follicles.
The extent of these tiny scars will depend on the amount of hair needed for the transplantation. Also, they can appear either on the back of the scalp or on the sides.
3. Plug Scars
These are scars from early hair transplants (before the 1990s) before the modern FUT and FUE techniques came into play. During this era, the extracted skin strip was grafted as a whole on the recipient area, without extracting individual hairs.
The procedure used to leave behind big scars on the donor areas, which were somewhat awful in appearance. These scars are what we refer to as the plug scars.
In the recipient region, incorrect implantation and excess trauma could also lead to another grave condition called cobblestone scarring.
4. Scalp Reduction Scars
Just like hair transplant procedures, scalp reduction also leaves considerable scars on the scalp. The process itself is not for the weak of heart. It involves a surgery that removes part of the scalp’s skin and connects the remaining skin using stitches.
The whole scalp reduction procedure helps the patient to:
Skin reduction surgeries result in different kinds of scars, depending on the amount of skin removed. Luckily, this procedure is no longer as popular, although some instances still call for its use. Those with such scars are also lucky as there are numerous revision methods for these scars currently.
For each of these scar types, there is a different way of treating or concealing them. Each presents a unique challenge to the bearer and requires varying methods to hide them.
The scars are usually different in color, size, location, shape, as well as the amount of hair around it. All these are vital factors that you must consider when coming up with the best hair transplant scar removal method. Also, the doctor you choose has a significant effect on the success of each treatment.
These are the main hair transplant scars removal methods:
One method of making the scars on your scalp less visible is through the use of the FUE technique. For instance, when treating FUT scars or scalp reduction scars, you can harvest hair follicles from other parts of the scalp and graft them on the affected area. The whole idea is about hair transplants on scars.
And although this might not entirely remove the scar, it will make it less visible and sometimes almost obscure. Some factors that might hinder this process include deficient donor hairs and insufficient blood flow on the hair transplant scar tissue.
One disadvantage here is that you might incur even more scars when harvesting follicles to graft on the existing scars.
Although it’s been there for decades, scalp micropigmentation started to be fully used only from 2009. This tattooing method is also quite a popular hair loss solution among numerous specialists.
As a scar treatment method, scalp micropigmentation has proven over the years to be a reliable solution. In fact, it has become one of the world’s most used scar solutions for multiple scar concealment.
The procedure is ideal for both hair transplant scars and scalp reduction scars as it uses pigment injections to conceal the actual scar. If you are looking for an easy hair transplant scars cover-up, an SMP might just fit perfectly.
However, one should first look for a specialist whose track record precedes them, as this is a tricky procedure. Its success largely depends on the person performing it – don’t think that you can get your scars sorted at any tattoo parlor.
The use of focused light is another effective way to deal with scars. Whether you’re dealing with a hair transplant keloid scar or an atrophic scar, laser treatment will significantly reduce your scar’s visibility.
This method works in two different ways. First, it helps to remove damaged skin that covers the scar. Secondly, it triggers collagen production, which rejuvenates the appearance of the scar.
For better results, doctors can combine the laser treatment with SMP scar removal.
Hair transplant scarring might be severe when there is no proper care as the scar heals. Also, if an unskilled person performs the surgery, the scar might be bigger than you anticipate.
When this happens, it might be necessary to operate again to remove or correct the scar. While this might not be the surest scar removal solution, the scars can heal properly and reduce in size and appearance with better care. And, with new technologies emerging each day, a scar revision might be a perfect solution.
Don’t let that scar entrap you. These hair transplant scars removal techniques are great solutions.
While a hair transplant might be an excellent way to restore your look and even your self-confidence, it will, in most cases, leave some permanent marks. The current procedures used for hair transplant, mainly FUE and FUT, will result in scarring.
However, with the above hair transplant scars removal techniques, you don’t have to worry or forego your hair transplant. Just get the right doctor to perform the procedure and solve both your hair and scar problems.
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