The Realities of FUE Scarring

In hair transplant surgery, the FUE technique is used by many surgeons. I’ve consulted with many patients whose hair transplants were performed using this technique, with some very different outcomes. The results achieved and the amount of scarring with this procedure are affected by several considerations.

  • The donor site density
  • Thickness of donor hair shafts
  • Individual healing conditions

Two Patients, Two Results

I am frequently asked about the FUE technique leaving a patchy and moth-eaten appearance. Recently, I encountered two patients that had undergone hair transplant surgery using FUE. The amount of scarring and the appearance of their transplanted hair were vastly different.

The first patient received 1500 grafts using a 0.9mm punch. The second received about 2500 grafts. Both patients experienced about 30% graft loss. The difference is in the amount of scarring visible. The first patient was left with visible scarring and a patchy look to the donor site. Patient two had minute scars that were barely visible. The differing results came because of their individual conditions. There were several factors that gave the first patient poor results.

  • Poor healing, thus increasing the size and number of scars
  • Low hair density at the donor site, which decreased the fullness of regrown hair
  • Dark hair with light skin which causes the scarring to be more pronounced

If you and your doctor have decided to use the FUE technique in your hair transplant surgery, keeping the first graft count at 1000 to 1500 gives you a chance to go through the healing and regrowth phases. You can then determine if you are satisfied with your results without wasting any donor hair.

What to Ask

When you discuss FUE with a hair transplant surgeon, you should ask some important questions. The answers you receive can affect the appearance of your results.

  • The punch size. The size of the punch used for FUE should be less than 1mm. larger punches can increase the size of any scarring that may occur.
  • Extraction displacement. The ideal is to have every fourth hair removed when using the FUE technique. If hairs removed are closer, the scars left will be in a more consolidated area. The FUE hairs harvested should be spread across as wide an area as possible. This avoids the moth-eaten appearance.

When considering which hair transplant technique is right for you, be sure you have all the information to make the best decision for your needs. Consult with a qualified hair transplant surgeon and all the factors we’ve discussed. Start small and be sure you like your results to avoid losing valuable donor hair.