Many people want to get their hair transplant surgery discreetly. Hair shaving, which is a part of some transplant procedures, is a dead giveaway, though.
This is why people try to opt for a procedure in which hair is not shaved. Before you go looking for that option, you should understand the reasons why a shaved head for a hair transplant might be the better (and in some cases the only) option for you.
If you’re wondering whether it is necessary to always shave all your head before a transplant, the answer to that is no. However, an unshaven FUE hair transplant is not always possible either.
The standard approach to removing the hair grafts optimally from the donor area is to shave or buzz that part of the hair very short.
We understand that some people feel uncomfortable with the scrutiny that comes with hair transplant surgery. However, from a surgical standpoint, you can gain better results if your head is shaven. It might become awkward for a while, but after a couple of weeks or so, things will start becoming normal.
Why Do You Need A Shaved Head In First Place?
There are a few reasons for that.
Greater Precision in Graft Placement
Hair transplant surgery needs precision and accuracy to ensure natural-looking results. With time, technological advancements have made that possible. However, a lot depends on the surgeon.
A shaved head allows the surgeon to operate with greater precision and ease. Not only does it make the area more visible, but also the surgeon can plan the surgery quite easily.
It won’t be possible for the surgeon to transplant grafts in between your long hair. The angling and placement of hair follicles become much more difficult that way. This way, you’re more likely to end up with unsatisfactory results.
It is especially not suitable for surgeries that aim at increasing hair density through transplantation. That means that if you already have a weak donor area, every hair graft counts. Their survival depends on the surgical technique.
Easier Graft Extraction
Tools alone can’t do much if the surgeon can’t use them properly. And sometimes, to use the tools properly, some modifications have to be made, such as shaving your hair.
In an FUE hair transplant, the punch tool is very carefully placed on top of each hair follicle so that it is not damaged when removed from the scalp. Incorrect positioning of the instrument can jeopardize the survival of the hair follicles.
Therefore, the tools that extract hair from the donor area require shaved hair. If your hair is too long, it won’t be possible to cut around and extract the follicle with the punch tool.
Poor visibility can result in a high transection rate, which will lower the overall hair graft survival rate. And if the survival of the hair follicles is in danger, you might achieve poor hair density in the recipient area. This is why a shaved head is much better.
It becomes easier for the patient to follow the aftercare instructions if their head is shaved. With long hair, you are more likely to pull your grafts out after the surgery. This will affect the overall density and the final results of the surgery. In addition, it increases the risk of infection in the recovery period. This will result in delayed healing, which can cause other problems like scarring.
Shorter Surgical Time
One research published on Hair Transplant Forum International in 2020 had 10 males suffering from androgenetic alopecia on Norwood Scale 3-5 undergo hair transplant surgery with shaved hair and long hair. It found that the extraction and excision of the hair grafts with longer hair took twice as long as shaved hair.
Do You Have to Shave Head for Hair Transplant?
While shaved head transplant is preferred, it is possible for patients to have an unshaven hair transplant too. However, “unshaven” should not be taken to mean that the entire scalp remains just as is. That’s because, for the reasons mentioned above, the donor area is still shaved. To use the tool that does the extraction, you need to have short hair.
Since the grafts won’t be transplanted in between your hair but on a bald region, we can tie the rest of your hair on the top. This way, it won’t fall on the surgical site, and the surgeon can continue with the procedure. However, keep in mind that only certain candidates are suitable for this procedure. We can determine if you are suitable or not based on your pictures.
The aftercare of unshaven hair can be a bit problematic. For instance, your hair needs to be kept tied in a top bun for 10 days. And you have to handle it very carefully. Stretching the skin of the scalp can damage the results. If you want to avoid this kind of hassle or stress, getting your head shaved might be the better option for you.
If you’re worried about hiding the hair transplant surgery, there are a few things that you can try out. The best thing to do, though, is to make preparations in advance, if possible. Finding the right time can make things far more discreet than anything else.
Can Treatment Plan Change from U-FUE to Shaved Hair Transplant?
Yes, it can happen. But you should understand the reason why it’s a possibility. Before coming in for your face-to-face consultation with the surgeon, they only saw your scalp and hair through pictures. This may lead to an error in judgement on the part of the surgeon.
However, when you’re in the clinic, a physical exam will be performed before the surgery, where the surgeon will assess your donor areas and bald spots. If the balding area is larger than what appeared to be in the photos and your donor areas aren’t as strong, you’d be recommended to shave your head for better results.
Of course, after this assessment, the surgeon will inform you about the necessity of shaving and only proceed with it after you’ve agreed to the changes in the treatment plan. You shouldn’t be too worried about this prospect that’s because it doesn’t happen that commonly.
Do You Need to Shave Your Head Before Coming In For Transplant?
It is not recommended that you do that. You do not need to shave your existing hair before coming to Turkey for your hair transplant. In fact, if you have short hair, we’ll advise you to grow it for a few weeks before the surgery.
That’s because, in the face-to-face consultation session, the surgeon will assess the texture, density, and overall quality of your hair and mark the areas that have low density. If you do shave, the surgeon won’t be able to analyse your hair type, bald spots, density, and hairline properly.
It would make it quite difficult for us to make a treatment plan for you if this happens. For correct diagnoses, the surgeon needs to see your scalp in its natural, existing state. After the consultation session, your hair will be shaved by a member of the team, and you’ll be ready for surgery.
To Sum It Up
A hair transplant journey is not as easy as it seems. Certainly, you’ve made a tough decision after a lot of deliberations. There are many people who might notice that you’ve had the surgery. They might even come up to you and ask about it. However, a lot of the discomfort around hair transplant stems from a feeling of certain shame and stigma associated with it.
Losing your hair is a devastating experience. If nothing’s working, then a hair transplant offers a permanent, natural-looking solution. It is a kind of hair redistribution. There’s nothing artificial or fake about it. Therefore, you don’t have to feel like you have to hide it.
You’ve invested in yourself, and it’s your body that you’ve made the decision for. Still, it is absolutely understandable if you feel more comfortable with a hair transplant without shaved hair since it will make things more discrete.
Only it’s not always possible to have it. And there are many upsides to shaving for a hair transplant in terms of the overall surgical results. It’s not possible to perform the extraction if your hair is long in the donor area. Moreover, poor visibility can impact the angling of the inserted hair follicles. Therefore, they might grow in a different direction than your natural hair, which will result in an uneven appearance.
This is why it’s better to have shaved hair for a hair transplant. Many patients start experiencing normal hair growth after a year or a year and a half. After that, no one would even know that you had surgery, and you would end up being happy and satisfied with your results.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.