How long after FUE for donor area to regain fullness?

I am at the 4 month mark post FUE transplant. While my transplants (700) seemed to have grown in already, my donor area has yet to regain good fullness. I should add that my procedure was to correct a FUT scar on the back of my head and the donor area used was above and below my scar. What is a good time table to expect for the donor area fullness to return?

Doctor Answers 7

Donor Fullness after FUE

I see this quite often in my practice from patients who have had FUE previously by other clinics and are unhappy with their donor zone post procedure.  Lately I've been seeing this frequently coming from turkey.

In my patients, their donor zone is healed and returns to excellent density within 1-3 months after the surgery.  The problem with FUE is that many inexperienced doctors are using large punches, punching deep, have high transection rates, and over harvest (take out too many grafts) in 1 surgery.  This is what creates the decreased density and thinning in the donor zone and a lot of times it is permanent.

At the last ISHRS conference a Dr. from turkey was describing how great his FUE procedures were and that his transection rate was only 30%. At first I thought I was not hearing correctly, and when I realized I was I left shaking my head.

Its important to do a lot of research before undergoing an FUE procedure as there are so many things to look out for.

Irvine Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Shock loss in the donor?

You may very well be experiencing some shock loss in the donor area.  You likely haven't seen your hair so short with the scar but it there is a possibility that the density was lighter above and below the scar.  Obviously cutting the hair highlights that and hair only grows 1/2 inch a month so it feels like longer.  I recommend rubbing Rogaine in the donor area to help improve the growth. 

Timetable for donor area FUE

Everything that is effective takes a year in hair transplant.  FUE is no exception.  Your grafts are by no means grown in at 4 months so if you are pleased now you will be very pleased later!

As for your donor area, one of the big drawbacks of FUE is that it reduces the density in the donor area.  Wait for a year, and then if your results do not meet your "fullness" goals, consider adding SMP for additional camouflage.

Sara Wasserbauer, MD
Walnut Creek Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Donor fullness

remember, when you remove a follicle from the donor area to place it into the recipient area, you will not grow hair where it was removed, as it is now growing in the recipient site. The donor area should not be over harvested as to cause a thinning in that area. I recommend following up with the surgeon who performed your procedure to review your photographs from pre op.

Rae Lynne Kinler, MD
Chicago Physician

Donor Area Re-Growth

Once the hairs have been removed from the donor site to be transplanted to another area, they are gone from the donor site and there is nothing left to regain fullness. That is why it is very important to not over harvest the donor site and make sure that you have an experienced and trusted hair transplant specialist do your procedure.

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Hair regrowth in donor area

The hair follicles and surrounding cells when removed ,hair regrowth in the donor zone is not possible. Hair regrowth will only take place in areas in the donor site where the hair follicles were not fully removed. After FUE Hair transplant surgery the donor should be totally looking normal after few months.  In the hands of an experienced surgeon you probably have no serious change in the donor site even though the density has been exceeded.

Ilker Apaydin, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

FUE and the donor area

The hair never grows back that was taken out so the donor area although healed well at 4 months is still missing what was transplanted. This is the situation for the rest of your life. Each time a graft is removed from the donor area and moved elsewhere, the donor area graft count drops. There is a finite number of grafts that someone has in the donor ara and we routinely tell our patients what that is when they visit us. 

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

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.