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 16

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

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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

Scar Revision after Hair Transplant

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Scar revision done with proper technique is the best way to minimize the scar. During scar repairs, I excise the scar microscopically and re-allign the follicles on each side. Extracting follicles by FUE will leave additional scarring. If you plan to shave your head bald, scarring will be apparent from both FUT and FUE. I have seen a lot of very bad scars both FUE and FUT. Not all FUT scars are created equal. I have added a link to further you investigation. Hope it helps!

Brian Goertz, MD
Seattle Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Options for Scar Revision

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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 28 reviews

Considerations in Fixing Scars Using FUE

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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
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Yes it can make it much better

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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

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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).

Jeff Donovan, MD, PhD
Vancouver Dermatologist

Scars

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There are a few options for scar revision.  You can punch out the scars with the Neograft to cause contraction to lessen a widened scar.  This will improve the scar but it will still be perceptible if you shave your head completely.
Another option is to transplant hairs into the scar so that if you wear you hair short the scar won't be obvious.
The last option is dermal tattoo with skin pigment.  This can work but generally only if the scar is white and not raised.
I would consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to go over your options.  Good Luck! 

Adam Saad, MD
Atlantic City Plastic Surgeon

Scar revision with FUE

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A strip harvest scar can definitely be improved by implanting grafts into the scar after FUE extraction. A widened scar can also sometimes be improved by re-excision, depending on the surrounding hair and scalp characteristics.

Unfortunately, it is probably impossible to make the scar go away completely to the point where it would not be visible with a shaved head. Scalp micropigmentation could be helpful to disguise the scar as well. Neograft vs ARTAS really doesn't impact the improvement of the scar itself as both are likely to give good results.

All the best,

Matthew Richardson, MD
Frisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Micropigmentation

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Micro-pigmentation is an excellent method for hiding donor scars. Don't try a tattoo as it goes too deep into the skin. You want the ink in the deep epidermis and not the dermis or sub-dermal.You can also do FUE transplant into the scar but won't get the coverage. Fue used in combination with scalp pigmentation is an excellent method for donor scars.

James B. DeYarman, DO
La Jolla Hair Restoration Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

FUT Scar Options

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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

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.