Hair Transplant incision and scaring?

What kind of donor site incision wound can be expected from a hair transplant? What can be done to minimize scarring or prepare for the procedure?

Doctor Answers 8

Hair Transplant Surgery

Scarring depends on what hair transplant technique the surgeon is using on your transplant. Follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) leaves a lineal scar at the donor area on the side or back of the head, known as a strip scar. Elliptical-shaped strips are removed from the donor area, typically along a line 1-centimeter above the ears or above the occipital bump. However, scarring complications decrease if the incision width is less than 1 millimeter. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a less invasive hair transplantation surgery with minimal scarring. If scarring does occur, the round holes are typically not cosmetically significant. Currently, surgeons use a handheld tool that “punches” each follicular unit in the scalp donor area, with punches only 0.8 to 1.2 millimeters in size. The downside is the technique is more difficult and time consuming, and some surgeons do not offer it.

Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Strip versus FUE

If you are having a traditional strip procedure you will have an incision with sutures. FUE or follicular unit extraction removes each hair follicle which is transplanted into the recipient site.  The FUE method usually has less recovery time and discomfort. Your question should be addressed with your operating surgeon.

David V. Martini, MD
Elkton Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Hair transplant incision

In our office and we do 5-10 proceedures a week the options are a simple donor strip proceedure  which usually heals excellent or an FUE proceedure (Follicular unit extraction). The FUE proceedure is excellent for anyone who wants to wear their hair short. The donor hairs are removed one by one without any incision. The process is longer and more expensive but leaves no evidence of a donor site.

Richard Galitz, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Scarring from a hair transplant

There are three factors that cause scarring (1) the technique, FUE produces punctate scars while strip surgeries produce linear scars, (2) the surgeon's technique, when the surgeon does FUE what is the size of the instrument, the larger the instrument, the larger the scar. and the same is true of strip surgeries as it is technique dependent, (3) possibly the most significant variable in scarring is the way you heal. I had three strip surgeries and have almost no scar, so I had a good surgeon and I happen to heal better than most people. 

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

You can have the best surgeon in the world and you can end up with a huge scar.

Scarring is unavoidable when you cut the skin.  Even FUE will leave scarring.  There is no preparation to minimize scars.  FUE leaves thousands of "DOTS".  FUSS (strip surgery) leaves a "LINE".  You can have the best surgeon in the world and you can end up with a huge scar.  You can have the worst surgeon in the world and end up with a great scar.  In other words, scars partially depend on how the individual heals.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Hair transplant scar for a virgin

Most strip harvesting scars for hair transplant naive patients are quite minimal and are easily camouflaged with the remaining donor hair.  Any type of surgical cut leaves a scar, including follicular unit extraction and automated techniques mentioned in the other surgeon's answer. 

Kevin Ende, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Hair Transplant incision and scaring

If you would like to avoid the severity, risk and scarring associated with conventional strip harvesting, you should seek an experienced surgeon who performs automated fue.



Dr. Malouf

Peter Malouf, DO
Dallas Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Hair transplant scarring

The donor site is usually a fine linear scar or multiple fine pin point scars when the FUE method is used. The  fringe hair covers these scars similar to the disguise of the scars of a facelift.

There is nothing you can do beforehand  that would affect the outcome of a hair transplant surgery. I assume you are concerned with donor harvest scarring . There is usually little concern for the recipient areas.

If scarring , of any degree concerns you, try a shaved head style first to see if you like the look as any hair transplant will interfere with the look of a shaved head.

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 35 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.