Hair transplant is fast becoming a procedure to reckon with nowadays, and it involves various processes such as the FUE (Follicular unit extraction). Although baldness is one reason a person may resort to a hair transplant, it is not the only reason. In most cases, hair is shaven from the head. However, one of the most frequently asked questions is the possibility of having hair grafting without shaving.
The answer is relative, depending on the condition of each patient. If the affected area for treatment covers a small circumference, there might be no need to shave the entire head. The most effective procedure usually involves shaving of both donor and recipient areas.
Follicular Unit Extraction or Excision involves moving hair grafts from a donor area (where hair is present such as the chin or the back head) to a recipient area (also known as the affected areas). Before the surgical operation or transplant is carried out, the doctor usually advises that they shave the affected area for clear access by a prospective dermatological or plastic surgeon. Usually, the shaving of the hair happens a day before the surgical operation or on the transplant day.
During the transplant, the doctor makes a slit, usually about 0.6 to 1mm in length, on the affected scalp area of the patient. An individual graft then gets placed into the slits carefully to reveal a natural-looking follicular unit. The graft must be on the same level as the hair surrounding the affected part.
With or without shaving the hair, various side effects occur in a patient after undergoing a hair transplant, including scabbing, swollen scalp, infection, bleeding, itching, shock loss, or shedding of transplanted hair numbness treated areas, inflammation, bruises, etc.
Non-Shaven Hair Transplant
It is possible to have a hair transplant without the pre-condition that the affected area is shaven. However, the field is unclear, and the process differs based on clinics. In some medical centers, non-shaven FUE means that the donor area is completely shaven while leaving the affected areas (recipient) unshaven.
On the other hand, some clinics would define non-shaven FUE as when the donor scalp area is shaved and covered by the surrounding donor area. In some cases, it means no part of the head is shaved. That is, the donor hair and the recipient area are left untouched.
All three procedures are feasible but not particularly suitable for everyone. First, it takes more time. Second, the period of surgery is prolonged. Also, it may involve some complications and require special skills. Hence, the doctors discourage patients from going through these procedures, especially when their conditions forbid it. If the surgeon must perform a non-shaven FUE, he should do in cases where the affected area is relatively small.
Why Shaving of the Head is a Pre-Condition?
The advantages of shaving the donor or recipient scalp areas before any hair transplant are numerous and include:
The areas are required to be shaven to create a clear path for the surgeon to work on. As a result, the surgeon can see the donor and recipient areas more clearly.
It Makes the Job Easier and Faster
The job is made easier when the path is clear because all obstructions have been eliminated. The surgeons can quickly excise and implant the graft within a limited period. The time spent on an unshaven head is far more than that spent on a shaven one.
Elimination of All Risks
These risks include that the grafts may be tangled or excessively handled. If the donor or recipient’s scalp area is shaven, there are fewer chances that the grafts can be excessively handled up to a point where they can become tangled in the surrounding or existing hair.
Easy Post-Surgical Procedure
Cleaning is much easier if the head is shaven. On the other hand, much attention is needed to thoroughly clean and unshaven lead because of the obstruction created by the hair and accumulated dirt on the surrounding hair.
Easy Aftercare Procedure
For swollen scalp areas or other side effects such as itching or scabbing, the doctors often recommend medications, one of which is the ATP spray. It is recommended during the early days of post-surgical recovery and is better applied when the hair is shaved.
Reduced Risk of Getting a Graft Dislodged
Whenever tangled grafts in surrounding hair or surrounding hair stick to or lie over the graft, a significant risk is that a particular graft is dislodged. Therefore, except the treated area is minimal, doctors advise that the surrounding hair be shaven to avoid dislodging implanting grafts.
As you can now tell, shaving your head is a pre-condition because it ensures quick recovery following a hair transplant procedure.
Won’t everyone see my shaved hair?
This question points out the fear of most people and is one of the main reasons they may opt for unshaven FUE. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid this. However, you may keep a low hairstyle a few months before your hair transplant. By the time of surgery, everyone around you must have gotten used to your look.
Alternatively, you may indulge in hats and caps as well as wigs after the surgical operation has been performed. However, wearing hats or other head-covering material may not be possible in the first five days of the procedure to avoid tampering with certain treated areas.
Can I have a hair transplant without my hair shaved?
You probably like it when your hair is long or worry that low cut hairstyle is not your type of hairstyle. Unshaven hair transplant is possible but involves specific considerations, including the money factor. Also, your hair condition will go a long way to determine whether or not you are fit for an unshaved hair transplant. If the affected area to be treated is small, the procedure is safe for you.
What is the difference between shaved and unshaved hair transplants?
Hair transplant includes follicular unit extraction, which often involves clearing a part of the head. Like the name implies, shaved FUE requires shaving of the donor or recipient areas to create a clear view of the follicular unit for effective operation. On the other hand, the hair is left unshaved but may expose the head to various risks during and after the surgical procedure.