Hair Transplant Scar - Always Big and Ugly?

i've read a bunch of hair transplant forums that talk about awful & ugly scars from hair replacement surgery. Is getting a bad scar a real risk or is it really depend on surgery method and the surgeon doing the work?

Doctor Answers 11

The FUE Hair Transplant Surgery Method

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FUE is a minimally invasive hair transplant technique. The grafts are removed using a precision tool and then placed in the recipient area. There is no linear scar and no stitches are required, so your donor area will be minimally noticeable within just a few days.

Dallas Hair Restoration Surgeon


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Large linear scars are from strip method.  Scars depend on genetics and tension of closure as well as technique.  FUE can theoretically leave tiny little scars but this is rare.

You will see mostly bad scars on the Internet and rarely great scars.

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You will see mostly bad scars on the Internet and rarely great scars.  The ones with great scars will never feel compelled to share their success with others on the forum.  Most hair transplant scars are not "big or ugly".  Only the "big and ugly" scars will get attention in all the forums.  

The good news is that these "big and ugly" scars can be treated with Scalp MicroPigmentation  (see VIDEO)

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

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Scars and Hair Transplant

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There are two types of transplant methods.  The original method is referred to as the strip method.  It will always create a linear scar at the back of the head.  The appearance of that scar does depend on the surgeon and what sutures/staples were used to close the scalp.  The newer technique is FUE (follicular unit extraction).  With this procedure, hair follicles are removed individually over a larger surface area, preventing large scars from forming.

Risk of scarring after Hair Transplant

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The result of  the scar is totally dependent on the surgeon's skill.  If the donor hair site is closed properly with minimal tension, usually the scar is minimal.  Unfortunately, the rare unsatisfactory result gets all the press and the patients with excellent scars tend not to discuss it.

Jack Fisher, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon

Hair Transplant Donor Site Scar

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Not true at all- as you can see if you go through some website photo galleries. However, there is always a risk of a widened scar, but on average, donor site scars typically heal up 1 to 2 mm wide. There is a second hair transplant technique, called follicular unit extraction (FUE) that avoids altogether a linear donor site scar.

Hair transplant donor scars are usually excellent

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Hair transplant donor site scars (where the grafts are harvested) are typically excellent.  By this I mean that they are usually thin, often difficult to find and can almost always be easily hidden completely by your hair unless you shave your head or do a buzz cut.

It is more likely to have a bit of a wider scar in repeat transplantation and it is always possible that a complication like infection can contribute to a wider scar, but even in those situations, existing hair can still easily camouflage things in most cases  unless your hair is cut very short.

If you are planning on shaving your head or having a "buzz cut" then you should certainly consider this risk more seriously and discuss with your doctor about either not doing the transplant or considering follicular unit extraction.

Daniel Berg, MD
Seattle Dermatologic Surgeon

Transplant scars

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hair transplant scars can be very thin and hard to find . Many patients have successful hair transplants and no visible donor sight scar. I personally have had 3500 transplants and it takes great effort for anyone to find a donor sight scar on my scalp. There are some individuals who have a tendency towards hypertrophic scarring and actual keloid formation. If you have a history of these problems you would best do an FUE proceedure and avoid a donor sight scar

Thin scars after hair transplant

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The donor scar if placed appropriately and closed in the appropriate manner can produce a very fine scar. Technique is everything. Visit with several hair transplant specialist and discuss and review their results.

Wide donor scars are not typical, but are a real risk

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Wide donor scars are more common with multiple procedures and certain scalp characteristics. A consultation with a hair transplant surgeon can reveal what risks pertain to you. I use a trichophytic closure on patients planning to undergo only one session, and the donor scar is usually undetectable.

Kevin Ende, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.