This following article was written by Coalition hair restoration physician Dr. William Lindsey and posted on our Hair Restoration Social Community and Discussion Forums.
I am always curious as to why exactly the the head has to be shaved for a hair transplant? Why do some hair restoration physicians do it this way vs. not shaving the area? Obviously I am sure there are medical reasons but, from a cosmetic stand point, it is horrible to have to shave half your head. How can patients cover this? Thanks in advance.
Four reasons we shave are:
1. Visibility and placement without getting tangled in nearby hair. I tell patients that if I asked them to fill out our registration form and then I covered it with hair and blood, or spaghetti and sauce, they’d not be able to see what they were doing and they’d likely fill out the form sloppily.
2. Dense packing. In my opinion, our office can pack tighter without other hairs around. We want to pack a balding area, not fill in around hair that is likely to “go” in a few years, so that A: the patient only has one procedure in a given recipient area and B: so that they don’t think the transplant failed when the “stragglers” eventually go away, leaving a very thin result if not packed.
3. We don’t do prophylactic fill in cases and generally only work on an area that is pretty thin or bald. See paragraph above.
4. Even if we don’t shave hair or on the plug repairs we do when we go right up to the existing plugs without shaving them; there is a good deal of shock loss and often the patient looks pretty similar at 1 month whether shaved or simply shocked.
Recently, I had a guy come from a national chain hair loss center who’d had a “fill in” in his thinning hair. He then lost the native hair and didn’t really look any better than before he paid them 12k. He said that while he wasn’t shaved, as I propose, that he lost most of his hair in the recipient area for a few months anyway.
There are many ways to skin a cat, and to do hair transplants. Shaving works for our office and a few others but there are many excellent doctors who don’t.
Dr. Lindsey – McLean, VA