After shaving one’s head, a person might learn that he or she just doesn’t have the head shape to carry off a buzzed cut. Since hair can be a substantial part of someone’s identity, shaving it off can be traumatizing.
So if you are thinking of having a hair transplant and the main thing that is stopping you is the idea that you might have to shave your head, don’t worry. In many cases, the surgery is performed without shaving a patient’s head completely bald.
Who Doesn’t Want Their Head Shaved
Plenty of patients want to restore their hair without shaving their heads to do it. One example includes women who wear their hair long. If you usually have chin or shoulder-length (or even longer) hair, the idea of having to shave it all before your surgery can be a huge disincentive. While you can wear a wig as it grows back, the growth can take a year or longer.
Some men also don’t relish the idea of shaving their heads before a hair transplant. Even if a man keeps his hair on the short side, shaving one’s head is a big step that won’t go without comment from friends and acquaintances. If you’re looking to keep your hair restoration under wraps, there are a few ways to avoid shaving or to cover up any shaved areas.
Follicular Unit Extraction
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is often the option of choice for those who want only a small number of hairs to be transplanted and who are interested in wearing their hair very short, in a buzz cut, or even shaved, in the future. Whether the surgeon shaves a wide area of the scalp or just a small section during FUE depends on the amount of hair being transplanted. In some cases, he or she might shave a long section on the back of the head or on the sides, but leave the hair on top. If a only a small area needs to be harvested, the surgeon may shave that section, but position it so that the shaved spot can be easily covered up with the hair around it.
Some patients might be concerned that the area into which the hair is being transplanted will be shaved so the surgeon can better see where he or she is working. You can rest easy, though. Most surgeons won’t shave the recipient site, for a few reasons. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that shaving it will make it look somewhat strange. Usually, recipient sites are on the top of the head, which in many cases is already pretty bald. The area can’t be covered up easily with the surrounding hairs.
The surgeon also has to have a good idea of how the hair that’s left in the recipient area grows, so that he or she can transplant the donor hairs in a way that matches the growth pattern of the existing hairs. If that hair is shaved, he or she can’t see as well and the transplant might look unnatural. Not shaving the area also makes the healing process and waiting period go a bit more smoothly, since a patient is only waiting for the new hair to grow in, not the hair all over the scalp.
While it takes more time to plant grafts into an area where the hair has not been shaved, doctors like Dr. Epstein feels it is worth the extra work to allow a patient to look as good possible early after having had a procedure.
What About Follicular Unit Grafting?
Another hair transplant option for some patients is follicular unit grafting (FUG). During a FUG procedure, the surgeon doesn’t remove the donor hairs individually, but instead, cuts them out in one long strip. Since cutting away the strip leaves a fine line incision, this procedure is usually recommended for patients who wear their hair long and have enough of it to cover up the scar, such as women. While you can have the back or sides of the head shaved during FUG, doing so will leave the healing incision exposed, which can give away the fact that you’ve had a hair transplant.
Hair restoration specialist Dr. Jeffrey Epstein works with patients not only to give them the results they want, but also to make sure the surgery goes as the patient hoped. Whether you want FUE or FUG, Dr. Epstein can help you decide on the best course of action and can recommend ways to have the surgery without shaving larges areas of scalp.
Dr. Epstein’s practice has the location of Miami. To schedule a consultation in Miami, call (305) 666-1774.