Visible scarring is always a concern with any surgical procedure and no less a concern when considering surgical hair restoration, a hair transplant procedure, be it using the FUE or FUT extraction techniques. Scarring can occur in two area of the scalp, either the recipient area where the hair is placed into small recipient sites or slits or in the donor area where the hair or follicular units are removed from.
Making the recipient sites requires skill to ensure the slit is made deep enough, but not too deep, wide enough but not too wide, and close enough together ensuring density but not too close to create trauma and impair healing. When performed proficiently there should be no visible signs the hair growing from the scalp was not always there, with the slit healing well, leaving no pitting or ridging in and around the area of placement.
In the donor area, where the hair is removed from there are 2 recognised techniques of harvesting the follicular units, FUE and FUT; they differ in the manner the hair is extracted.
FUE relies on a cylindrical punch surrounding each FU individually, making a punch incision and then the graft is removed, and the punch diameter ranges from around .75mm to 1.1mm and can depend on the size of the FU. The punch marks left heal over a couple of weeks, the scarring shrinks and can leave small white dots over the surface of the donor area, dependent on skin physiology some are more visible than others.
FUT, The FU´s are removed in a single strip of hair bearing tissue, the line is brought together and sutured or stapled, removed around 10 days post-operation; once healed over a few months a fine line should be left. Developments have allowed for hair to regrow back through the line to break down or camouflage the area further: utilising cosmetic surgical techniques to overlap the closure points when closed.
So, How Visible Is The Scarring? (Assuming both techniques are performed proficiently along with careful post-operative care by the patient)
The cylindrical or white dot scarring is hard to see when the hair is brushed through; it can resemble chicken pox scarring. A problem if cut too short is the randomness or lack of it and it can appear cosmetically made. FUT, again if the hair is too short a slight line or kink in the hair direction can be seen in the hair length.
With either technique it is easy to hide the scarring with minimal hair length, but too short a hair style and it can become visible. This is important to understand that regardless of technique some degree of scarring remains, albeit minor
The harvesting method is not a matter of taste but a matter of necessity. Each patient will have different characteristics and these should be taken into account when deciding on the best technique that should be employed*