Is There Any Scarring From an FUE Hair Transplant?

One of the more highly debated topics in the hair transplant industry is whether an FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) hair transplant leaves any scarring or not. During an FUE procedure hair grafts are extracted one by one using microsurgical tools. This is different from the Strip procedure, where a strip of hair bearing skin is removed. The strip procedure is known to leave a linear scar on the back of the scalp, but there is still confusion regarding how much, if any, scarring is left from an FUE procedure.

Whether there will be any visible scarring from an FUE hair transplant procedure depends on a few different factors. The skill and experience of the doctor who will be performing the FUE is perhaps the most critical part. Extreme precision when extracting and inserting hair grafts is needed, in order to avoid damage to the surrounding skin. Continue reading

How Long Does It Take For The Transplanted Hair To Grow?

A common misconception regarding hair transplants is that the client will have a full head of hair immediately after the procedure. For a variety of reasons, this is not possible and it can take a full year, or even longer, for the hair transplant results to be final.

While a hair transplant is a safe and efficient procedure, it is also a long term process. Understanding how the transplanted hair grows will help to keep expectations realistic. For the average hair transplant client, the initial growth is slow and the hairs that do grow in are short and thin. After some time, additional hair growth will be noticed and this growth will continue to improve up to one year and beyond. Continue reading

Will Anyone Notice I Had a Hair Transplant?

When considering a hair transplant it is understandable to be concerned with whether anyone will notice the hair transplant or not. Whether the hair transplant will be noticeable depends on many different factors, with perhaps the biggest one being the choice of method. Some procedures do cause more scarring than others. And scarring may or may not be visible depending on how the hair is worn. A scar from a Strip procedure can be more difficult to conceal, especially if there is no hair to cover it.

Regardless of chosen hair transplant procedure, following surgery the client’s recipient area will typically have tiny marks where the new hair was implanted, and it is possible for these marks to be noticeable at first, especially if there is no hair to cover them. And soon after, little scabs will form around the incisions, and these hundreds or thousands of tiny incisions will heal in the coming days and weeks, and the scabs will eventually fall off.

To conceal the fact that a hair transplant was done, clients can grow their existing hair before surgery to help cover scabs and scarring. It is also possible to wear a hat or a baseball cap when out in public. However, some doctors believe that hats or caps should be worn as little as possible, as they can restrict air and blood flow to the scalp and delay healing. Most clients feel comfortable being in public without wearing a hat about one week following surgery.

If undergoing a strip procedure, where a strip of skin will be removed under anesthesia, it is possible to experience some swelling on the scalp or around the eyes, which others might notice. Most doctors would advise to take a few days off from work, as this allows the client to adjust to his new situation. A strip produce usually requires more days off from work then an FUE, which is a gentler hair transplant procedure. Though each case is individual, it is usually ok to go back to work after 7-10 days, and friends and colleagues are not likely to notice the hair transplant. Wearing the hair in different styles in the coming months following surgery can also help conceal the fact that a hair transplant was done.

It takes a long time for a hair transplant to become final. In fact, it can take up to one year. During this time, the hair grows in so slowly and gradually that is unlikely for anyone to notice that the new hairs were transplanted.

Though a hair transplant is a highly personal and sensitive matter to some, it is good to know that they are becoming more common, and should anyone happen to notice that there was something done to the hair, it will probably not be a big deal.

Once the transplanted hair has grown into place, the overall look should be completely natural, even up close.

Photo via alx21creations

Hair Transplant Surgery: Possible Complications

Today’s hair transplant techniques are improved to the point where any complications are unlikely, though it is still possible for them to occur.

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure. And any surgical procedure carries a risk of complications, no matter how small. The overall health of the client will have a great affect on the number of possible complications. A client that smokes, drinks alcohol, has an illness or takes medications poses a greater risk of complications.

Bleeding is a possible complication, and taking certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs or vitamin E, will increase the risk. Infection is another possible complication, but can be prevented and treated by taking antibiotics before and after the procedure. Though not a serious complication, it is also possible to experience swelling in the head or face as a result of the hair transplant surgery. The swelling will last a few days and go away on its own, and sleeping on a tilted pillow can help. As a preventative step, the doctor can give the client cortisone to minimize any swelling.

If undergoing a strip procedure, a thin linear scar is expected, however, scalp numbness or tenderness is another possible complication. If the doctor does not take great care while harvesting the strip, or if their closure method is poor, it could result in a sore, painful scar.  Any soreness or numbness should disappear a few months following surgery; however, it is possible to have permanent numbness, especially if nerves were damaged. Permanent numbness cannot be reversed.

Shedding of the hairs in the following weeks after the surgery is normal and nothing to be alarmed about. The hair follicle remains in the scalp and will grow new hair in the coming months. A more serious complication would be what is called shock loss, and refers to a temporary loss of the transplanted hairs, as well as the hairs the client had before the hair transplant. This happens because of the “trauma” to the scalp during the procedure. This occurs only in a small percentage of male patients, with the risk being slightly higher in female patients.  Good thing is that the hair that was lost during a shock loss will most likely grow back after a few months. An experienced doctor will take steps to minimize the risk of excessive shedding as well as shock loss.

Another unlikely complication of a hair transplant is the possibility that the hairs will grow poorly or not at all. Poor growth can occur for different reasons including damage to the hair follicles when harvesting or implanting the hairs, dry grafts, and for other unknown reasons.

Though it is possible to experience complications as result of a hair transplant, it is important to understand that the majority of clients do not. Consulting a skilled doctor with many years of experience, as well as following pre and post operative instructions will greatly increase the chance of a complication free hair transplant.

Photo via gullevek

What To Expect After a Hair Transplant

Every hair transplant clinic has their own set of detailed instructions to follow during hair transplant recovery, and you should take their advice.

Guidelines will differ depending on whether you have undergone an FUE, a STRIP or another hair transplant procedure, but they do have much in common.

Following the recommended steps carefully is important because your new hair grafts will be sensitive to external damage for a few days until they heal.

There might be a mild to moderate amount of pain or discomfort associated with your hair transplant surgery. This can be eased with pain relievers.

If you have been given a sedative, arrange for someone to pick you up after the procedure.

The first night is the most important. Avoid touching the grafts and try to sleep in a semi-upright position, by using pillows to elevate your head and reduce swelling.

If you are a smoker, avoid smoking for 2 weeks after surgery, as it will slow healing.

Do not take any aspirin 2 weeks after your surgery and avoid alcoholic beverages for 48 hours afterwards.

Most clinics advise that you can return to work the day after your surgery. Avoid bending or lifting heavy things for one week. After one to two weeks you may return to all normal activities. Leave the transplanted area open to the air as much as possible, but avoid sun exposure.

You can start to gently shampoo the scalp the day after surgery, and a blow dryer is recommended to dry the hair rather than rubbing with a towel.

Sutures should be removed in 10-14 days.  You can comb your hair the next day, just be careful not to brush the comb over the grafts.

Don’t go swimming or apply hair coloring for at least one month after surgery.

The doctor might provide you with a spray for use at home. Spray the solution as instructed.

Remember to take your medications as indicated by your doctor and contact him immediately if you notice any discharge from the incision, fever or increase in pain.

The procedure may or may not be visible depending on which hair transplant procedure you chose. But it is possible to cover any scarring simply by wearing a hat or a baseball cap, or cover with surrounding hair.

The graft sites will scab following your surgery which means they are healing. Do not pick on the scabs. Doing so can cause infection. The scabs will fall out in 10 days. Some hair in the grafted area may also fall out. This is a completely normal process and nothing to worry about. Even if the hair falls out, the follicle remains.

Patience is one of the most important factors in hair transplant recovery, as the patient waits for months to see the positive results of the procedure. About one year after the procedure, the final result can be seen, and most hair transplant clients agree that it was well worth it.

Photo via Earl – What I Saw2.0