How to conceal hair transplant scars - Introduction to SMP

Hair transplants are a common way we can adjust our hairlines and create coverage in our thinning areas. There are many different techniques used in hair transplants. Strip excision, follicular unit extraction (FUE) and partial longitudinal-follicular unit transplantation are examples of some techniques used today. Although all of these can leave scars, some are significantly more noticeable than others.

During strip excision, a strip of tissue is removed from the donor area, and hair follicles are harvested under the microscope1.  These hair follicles are then inserted into desired locations in the recipient areas of the scalp. A long and possibly wide linear scar is created with this technique, which can be noticeable for those who prefer shorter hairstyles2. Fortunately, if you have a linear scar from a past hair transplant there are a few options you can use to conceal your scar.

FUE can help hide scars from previous hair transplants. The FUE technique removes the hair follicle directly from the scalp using sharp instruments such as punches and forceps3. These hair follicles are then placed on to or near previous scars to help hide their appearance. Robots can also be used to assist this procedure, helping to obtain large amounts of hair follicles if required4.   FUE does not produce any additional linear scars. It can also be performed so that growth of hair follicles are preserved in the donor region5,6. This will help to maintain good coverage in the donor area as you wait for your hair to grow back. To get more information on FUE procedures currently available, ensure to speak to your hair consultant.

Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is another technique that can be used to cover scars. SMP is essentially a stippling patterned tattoo created with different sized and shaped needles7. This tattoo can give the impression of hair8. It can be useful to conceal and improve scars created by both strip and FUE harvesting8. This technique has been quite successful with high patient satisfaction7.

These are just a few techniques that can be helpful to hide scars. With technology and methods always advancing there might not be linear scars to hide in the future.

Article by: Sarah Versteeg MSc, Mediprobe Research Inc. 

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  5. Avram MR, Rogers N, Watkins S. Side-effects from follicular unit extraction in hair transplantation. J Cutan Aesthetic Surg. 2014 Jul;7(3):177–9.
  6. Gho CG, Martino Neumann HA. Donor hair follicle preservation by partial follicular unit extraction. A method to optimize hair transplantation. J Dermatol Treat. 2010 Nov;21(6):337–49.
  7. Rassman WR, Pak JP, Kim J, Estrin NF. Scalp micropigmentation: a concealer for hair and scalp deformities. J Clin Aesthetic Dermatol. 2015 Mar;8(3):35–42.
  8. Rose PT. Hair restoration surgery: challenges and solutions. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015;8:361–70.

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