Can scar revision with artas or neograft conceal a hair transplant donor strip scar?

I would like to able to shave my head and the donor scar be undetectable. If not are there any other options? Please help!!

Doctor Answers 14

Can a linear donor scar from a hair transplant be concealed with FUE?

The short answer is yes.  Obtaining the original density of hair in your donor scar won't be possible, as the scar tissue simply doesn't have enough blood flowing through it to support a full density of newly transplanted grafts.

For scar camouflage, options are:

1) scar removal and revision by an highly experienced scalp surgeon if indicated, with or without tissue expansion
2) FUE into the scar; typically 2 or more small sessions will be required
3) following FUE the scar to provide some texture, the skin of the scar, which is typically lighter than the surrounding skin of the scalp, can be tattooed with a specialized scalp micropigmentation procedure (SMP), which are temporary tattoos that will need to be revised about once every 2 years or so.

However, as you mentioned that you'd like to "shave my head" following a linear strip procedure and have the donor scar be "undetectable", this is not likely ever to happen.  This is definitely something your hair restoration surgeon should have disclosed to you prior to you signing up for surgery.  These techniques can help to decrease the visibility of the scar, allowing for shorter hair styles, but following a linear procedure, is it typically not possible to shave your head without the scar being at least a little bit noticeable, despite the techniques mentioned above.  All scars are, by definition, permanent, as your physician should have mentioned to you as well.


Atlanta Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Options for Scar Revision

There are a few options to repair a donor strip scar.  Sometimes the scars can be revised depending on how bad your scar is.  Grafts can also be transplanted into the scar to minimize it's appearance.  We also do micro pigmentation (tattooing) into the scar to help hide it.  

All of these options will help minimize the scar. It is unrealistic to think it will become "undetectable" with any repair procedure if the head is shaved.

Amir Yazdan, MD
Irvine Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Yes it can make it much better

FUE is the best option to option to obtain the grafts to hide a strip donor scar. It definitely will help and possibly erase the stigmata. You need an experienced FUE surgeon to deal with that properly

Transplanting into Scars

If you have a transplant from a donor scar there are there options:

1. Follicular units can be put into the scar to try to camouflage the appearance of the scar. This is essentially a small hair transplant done by FUE into the scar.

2. The scar can be tattooed using scalp micro pigmentation (SMP).

FUT Scar Options

While it is possible to improve a FUT scar with FUE grafts, there are some special considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Grafting into a scar can lead to uncertain results. Some dense scars lack blood supply and will not support a graft to grow. The circulation can be tested by your hair restoration surgeon by numbing up a small area of the scar and seeing if sterile pin pricks will cause bleeding.  I also like to inject scars I treat with a steroid solution to soften them up to help them support the new hairs.
  2. Is it worth using FUE grafts?  Until cloning techniques become available and we no longer are limited to our current supply/demand considerations and restrictions of hair restoration procedures, each graft you use to fill a scar is a graft that you cannot use elsewhere.  Some FUT scars are quite large and some guys have multiple scars, so to place hairs into all the scars can easily eat up quite a few grafts.  While this may be a good option if the scarring is your main concern, however if you have thinning elsewhere, you may want to use the limited donor hairs you have left to address that.  There is no right or wrong answer here.
  3. FUE placing is not the only option.  As some of my colleagues have correctly pointed out, SMP is often a good option for FUT scar masking.  It's important you go to a an experienced SMP artist who uses proper SMP pigment.  SMP is much less expensive than FUE revision and does not limit an FUE revision later if still desired.

Justin Rome, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Scar Revision Surgery

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is an excellent technique to reduce the visibility of and conceal a donor linear strip scar. FUE devices like ARTAS and NeoGraft do not contribute to cosmetic outcome of any hair surgery.  Many patients are unaware that a FUE device does not make a hair restoration procedure better than another device. There are other great FUE harvesting devices that may be better then the two mentioned.  It is always the physician’s aesthetic eye, skill, and experience; and not a FUE device that ultimately determines the patient’s cosmetic outcome.

Performing hair restoration surgery requires proper training and knowledge. Many surgeons perform hair surgery without proper training, or they don’t perform the surgery and illegally delegate the procedure to hair technicians. This is a felony. A board certified hair restoration surgeon is the ideal and ethical choice to perform hair transplant surgery and they abide by high ethical standards and best practices. Board certified physicians from the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery have passed a written and oral exam demonstrating their knowledge and expertise in performing hair surgery.  

I use a punch grafting technique to excise as much scar as I can. I also combine this with Scalp Micropiogmentation (SMP). A hand held motorized FUE device and a 0.8 mm circular round sharp punch are used to punch into the scar and remove scar tissue. The scar tissue is removed and FUE grafts are then placed into the created punch wounds. This technique provides a natural appearance and better coverage may be achieved. The procedure may need to be retreated depending upon graft survival. 

Hiding the FUT scar with FUE

You can definite minimize the scar by adding grafts into the scar.  With that said, you should not expect 100% of the graft to grow in the scar as the blood supply is limited in scar tissue.  You may want to consider SMP to minimize or disguise the scar. Many of my patient are happy with the result!

Justin Misko, MD
Lincoln Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Considerations in Fixing Scars Using FUE

An FUE procedure can help camouflage a widened FUT scar. In order for the grafts to take, the scar must be thin and soft. A patient may require one or more steroid injections into the scar to soften it and prepare the scar to receive the follicular unit grafts. It is important to note that while transplanting hair into a scar can help to camouflage the scar when you wear your hair short, it will not make the scar totally undetectable if you choose to shave your head. In our opinion, the ARTAS robotic system generates consistently superior grafts compared to the hand-held Neograft device and these will grafts will have better growth in scar tissue.

Robert M. Bernstein, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Not completely You will Always See the Scar

FUE to strip scar will help disguise your scar. But it will NEVER allow you to shave your head so your scar is undetectable.  Actually it will make it look WORSE.

Think about it.  You are having a hair transplant to the scar.  Then you are SHAVING it.  This is not going to hide your scar.  You will still have the scar and the transplanted hair may even make your scar look worse as the transplanted hair will not completely match your surrounding hairs in texture and hair direction.  Furthermore, your FUE scar will now be an issue with tiny white dots (when you shave your head).

FUE to the transplanted scar can work if you keep your hair long, but it will not work if you shave your head.

Even Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) which I perform at my clinic will have limitations.   You can see all my before after photos on this site and my website but  YOU WILL STILL SEE THE SCAR in certain lighting and angles. No treatment will make the scar undetectable.  The goal is to make the scar less detectable and not noticeable to the general public at a casual glance.  

This is why you need to see a doctor for a realistic assessment.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Scaring after FUE

Basically, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a revival of the old punch technique obtaining donor hair with a small circular cutting instrument. There are different instruments used in the market to do FUE extraction siding punches, one is the ARTS. ARTS instrument uses punches to harvest follicular units one at a time from the donor area. You do not get a linear scar which you may get with FUT, however you still get small circular scar after FUE no matter which instrument is used for extraction.
So it is very important to chose an experienced doctor and discuss the options in detail to make sure it meets your concerns and expectations.

Michael Meshkin, MD
Newport Beach Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 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.