Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) to Conceal Hair Transplant Donor Scar: Is It Permanent and Undetectable?
I am considering having scalp micropigmentation (SMP) to my donor scar. Has anyone had this procedure done and are you happy with the results? My question is, when they tattoo the scar with these dots is it going to blend in with my hair when it is cut down to a 1 grade clipper or shaving my head? How long is the ink going to last before it discolors to a blue or different color? I basically want to cut my hair shorter on the sides without having a scar revision. I had 3 hair transplants and don’t want it tampered with again unless I experience further hair loss.
I have been following the results of SMP for the last 2 to 3 years and I think it is a good tool. It is still in its infancy and we are learning more and more about it as time goes on. Having said that, I’ve seen a number of people who have had SMP done to conceal their scars and the majority were very happy. The degree of camouflage varied slightly but in all cases the scar was much harder to detect even with the hair short.
One pearl when doing SMP in the donor area is “do not just do the scar” but to blend it through the entire donor area fading away as one gets near upper and lower borders of the donor area. I have seen SMP scar repairs done by Dr. William Rassman’s Clinic, Good Look Inc. and Bella Medical. The patients in all three clinics were happy they have had it done.
Last month when I lectured at the Italian Society of Hair Restoration annual conference in Rome, Bella Medical was there. They gave a one half day seminar and demonstration on their technique using temporary ink and I was quite impressed. I am even considering going over to Milan for a course they are offering to learn how to do it and bring it back to the states.
There are advantages and disadvantages to the fact that the pigment will slowly fade over time. The main advantage is, in the remote chance that the patient does not like the results, he knows he will not be stuck with it forever. Also you don’t have to worry about the issue of the ink changing color. The negative is that it probably has to be repeated every couple of years.
If I start to offer SMP I would probably use the temporary ink on patients that are very nervous about the permanency. On patients where this was less of a problem I would consider using more permanent ink. However this is all theoretical as most of the companies except for Bella Medical and very secretive about their techniques and it’s been hard for me to learn as much as I would like to so I can relay the information to patients.
Dr. Ron Shapiro M.D.
Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.
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