Hair transplants have come a long way since Norman Orentreich performed the first procedure for male pattern baldness in 1952. The cutting-edge technology available to surgeons today ensures natural, seamless hair restoration beyond anything patients may have imagined possible decades earlier.
But despite the huge advancements made in the hair restoration field, and the positive publicity surrounding the latest treatments, you may still have doubts about trying it.
And that’s understandable: any form of surgery, no matter how minor, no matter how safe, is a big step.
There’s a lot to consider, and one of the most common concerns we encounter is scarring.
Nobody wants to develop scars, particularly as a result of a surgical procedure you might prefer to keep discreet.
Fortunately, there’s good news: hair transplant scars are less visible than you might expect today.
Especially when you’re in the hands of experienced hair restoration surgeons using state-of-the-art tools.
But why do hair transplants cause scars? And how can they be treated?
Why does every hair treatment leave a scar?
Sadly, there’s no such thing as a scarless hair transplant.
When the flesh is subject to physical trauma, scar tissue is formed. Even a wound as small as a shallow cut can create scar tissue beneath the skin’s surface.
Hair transplants involve making incisions into the flesh on the scalp, and the back and sides of the head.
This is essential for harvesting and transplanting healthy hair follicles into thinning/balding areas across the scalp.
Even the most advanced hair restoration technology requires doctors to make tiny wounds in the skin.
Still, the treatment method you choose will determine the extent of scarring you can expect to see in the months following your procedure.
What types of hair transplants and scars exist?
Two types of hair transplant are available today:
- Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular Unit Transplantation
FUT is an invasive form of hair transplant surgery still widely available round the world:
- the surgeon cuts a strip of flesh from the back of the head (which is why this treatment is sometimes known as “strip surgery”)
- they dissect the strip into small grafts comprising between one and three hairs each
- these grafts are inserted into tiny incisions in the target area(s) of the scalp
- the wound created is closed with delicate stitching, which remains in place for around two weeks
The invasive nature of Follicular Unit Transplantation means scarring is much more visible once the wound on the back of the head has fully healed.
This can limit the patient’s choice of hairstyle in the future, particularly if they want to maintain discretion.
In this case, the patient would need to wear their hair longer than they may otherwise choose to.
Follicular Unit Extraction
FUE is a more modern hair restoration method, ideal for patients who want to avoid visible scarring as best they can.
This minimally invasive procedure follows a different process:
- the surgeon uses a precise micro punch to extract one graft at a time from the donor areas at the back and sides of the head (usually shaved before treatment)
- these extractions are performed in a staggered pattern to prevent noticeable thinning in donor areas
- these grafts are inserted into microscopic slits in the target areas (e.g. the hairline, the crown)
The major advantage of the FUE method compared to the FUT is the lack of a visible linear scar on the back of the head.
Patients can enjoy greater freedom to choose haircuts and styles that may be shorter, with less need to worry about remaining discreet.
However, the wounds made during an FUE procedure are amazingly minute, comprising a series of tiny dots across the target area.
Patients are generally stunned by the scars’ fast healing, and are delighted when new hair growth starts to cover them.
If you wear your restored hair longer than a grade 1 or 2 length, your scarring will likely be invisible to the naked eye.
You should be free to choose almost any haircut without people noticing your scars.
When surgeons perform FUE hair transplants, they must take care to extract healthy follicles in a balanced way to avoid creating clusters of scar tissue beneath the scalp.
Fortunately, the FUE2 Safe System (as used at HairPalace hair clinics) empowers surgeons with the precision to extract grafts from donor areas with unparalleled accuracy.
There’s also a minor risk of developing keloid scarring if you’re prone to them.
These raised scars can grow bigger than the wound that formed them in the first place.
How can you fix a hair transplant scar?
If you want to minimize the visibility of hair transplant scars, they can be treated in a number of ways:
Can a hair transplant scar be removed?
A hair transplant scar cannot be “removed” exactly, but one option is to implant grafts back into scar tissue to provide greater coverage.
This involves removing a small number of follicles from donor areas, creating incisions, and implanting the grafts directly into scar tissue.
This will add even more density to the areas of transplanted hair and offer greater discretion.
However, scar tissue is different to surrounding skin and this method may not be totally successful.
A thorough consultation and detailed assessment is required. Dedicated aftercare will be necessary to monitor growth.
Keloid scarring may be treated through:
- surgical removal
- corticosteroid shots
- laser therapy
- pressure treatment
Again, though, the risk of a hair restoration procedure causing keloid scarring is slight.
Fractional lasers may also help. This is a form of treatment in which lasers stimulate tissue beneath scars to remove damaged skin cells and replace them with new ones.
However, this may only be necessary if you want to wear your hair extremely short.
Can hair transplant scars be covered?
You can cover hair transplant scars with your hair, though you’ll need to wait for this to grow back in the target and donor areas (if the latter have been shaved).
If you’re concerned about visible scarring, you may prefer to wear a hat in the meantime.
Alternatively, if you want to wear your hair extremely short (grade 0 or 1 length), scalp micropigmentation could be a viable solution.
This is a cosmetic procedure in which the scars are coloured to match your hair tone, similar to tattooing.
Any visible scarring would be even less noticeable once the pigmentation and hair blended.
How long does it take to see results?
The results of a FUE2 hair transplant at HairPalace will take between 12 and 18 months to reach their final stage.
Crusts will appear on the head during the first week after surgery, but this is normal. Gently massaging the area will encourage them to disappear.
Between one and three months, your new hairs will fall out. This is normal: it’s just part of the natural growth cycle.
They will gradually grow back over subsequent months — until you have thicker, healthier, more youthful coverage.
How soon will the scar heal and fade?
Scars from a FUE hair transplant will heal within a few weeks of your surgery.
But the strip wound caused by an FUT procedure will take longer to heal, as it’s much larger than incisions created by the FUE micro punch.
The scarring will continue to fade as the hair starts to regrow, and will be hidden beneath the hair.
Summary: Is it worth having a hair transplant in spite of the scar?
Everyone has to decide whether a hair transplant is right for them independently.
There are minor risks involved with any form of surgery, even when it’s minimally invasive.
This is why a comprehensive consultation with a surgeon is so important.
They’ll examine your hair and scalp before creating a tailored treatment plan. Once this is complete, they’ll discuss the results you can expect to see in depth.
But generally, the answer is yes!
A hair transplant can restore hair, lower the hairline, and cultivate more youthful density across the scalp to achieve amazing results.
HairPalace has helped hundreds of patients restore their hair through the latest FUE2 Safe System method, and the results speak for themselves (as you can see below).
To learn more about how our FUE2 hair transplants could transform your hairline, contact our friendly team now.
Does every hair treatment leave a scar behind?
Yes, every hair transplant treatment leaves scars behind. The extent of scarring varies based on the type of hair transplant chosen: FUT or FUE. The FUE2 method uses an innovative micro punch to extract healthy hair follicles precisely, leaving no visible scarring in donor areas.
What types of scars exist?
Different types of post-transplant scars exist. FUT transplants leave a linear scar on the back of the head, while FUE treatments cause tiny scars in donor and target areas. These will be covered by the hair when its growth is complete.
Can a scar be removed?
A scar’s visibility can be reduced through numerous treatments. These include laser resurfacing, scalp micropigmentation, and implanting hair grafts into scar tissue for extra coverage.