Hair Transplant into Scar - Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration

Hair Transplant into Scar

Dr. Robert M. Bernstein of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration answers common questions about performing a hair transplant into scar tissue.

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Q: What’s the best way to camouflage a scar left behind from a scalp reduction that I had in 2001? I am currently wearing DermMatch to cover the area, but the hair parts like the “Red Sea” on top around the scar so the makeup does not look so good. I would like to fill in the area with hair but I am not sure if a hair transplant will grow into scar tissue.

A: Hair will grow in the scar but, as you allude to, the problem is often the abnormal hair direction rather than the scar itself.

Besides adding hair to the scar, if one transplants hair adjacent to the scar in a direction that causes it to lie over the scarred area, the visual affect of the “Red Sea” effect can be lessened.

How much improvement you achieve with the hair restoration will, in part, depend upon the amount of hair available to be transplanted (and the skill of the surgeon).

Q: I have had a minor facelift operation and have lost a bit of hair. Have you heard of this before? The areas around the scars are the most effected. What treatments are best for this? — N.D., Westport, C.T.

A: Hair loss after a brow, or face lift, is quite common. If it is cosmetically bothersome, a localized hair transplant can correct the problem.

The hair can be transplanted directly into the scar (if the scar is flat) and into any surrounding areas of thinning. The complete correction may take more than one hair restoration session.

Q: Can hair transplants grow in scars? P.N. – Westbury, N.Y.

A: Grafts will grow in scar tissue as long as the scar is not thickened. However, they cannot be placed as close together as in normal scalp because of decreased blood flow. When performing a hair transplant into scar tissue, it is often necessary to perform the hair restoration in multiple sessions to allow the area to gradually re-vascularize (allow the blood supply to return).

Q: I have had some surgical procedures on my head that left a fair amount of scar tissue. Can hair grow there? Is it a more difficult procedure? Are there any complications? – Darien, C.T.

A: Transplanted hair will grow in scar tissue as long as the tissue is not thickened. Thickened scar tissue can be flattened with local injections of cortisone.

Once the scar is smooth, the hair transplant procedure is relatively straightforward, however a few things must still be kept in mind.

  1. Since the blood supply of the scar tissue is less than in normal tissue, the grafts should not be placed as close.
  2. As the grafts from the hair transplant grow, new blood vessels are formed in the area.
  3. Additional density can then be achieved in a subsequent session by adding more grafts.
  4. After the hair restoration procedure, care must be taken with grafts transplanted into scar tissue, as the scarred scalp doesn’t hold onto grafts as well as normal tissue and they are more easily dislodged.

If grafts are packed too closely into scar tissue, poor growth can result. If sites are placed properly and the post-op care is diligent, good growth should be expected.

Q: I have a scar on the top of my head the size of a quarter from an old injury. I would like hair to grow back on the bald spot. Can a hair transplant re-grow hair on the spot and not have any scar on my head at all? – E.D., Oceanside, N.Y.

A: Traumatic scars are readily treated with follicular unit hair transplantation. The hair generally grows quite well in scar tissue as long as the scar is not thickened (hypertrophic). Several sessions are usually required. Although the hair restoration can make the bald area undetectable, the underlying scar tissue will still be there.

Q: Can you perform a hair transplant into scar tissue? — A.H., Rockland County, New York

A: Yes, hair grows in scar tissue, but not quite as well as in normal tissue. The scar is not as elastic as normal tissue so the grafts are at slightly higher risk of being dislodged; therefore, more care must be taken to protect the grafted area after the hair transplant.

In addition, the blood supply in scar tissue is less than in normal tissue, so that area should not be transplanted as densely and the hair replacement should be performed over multiple sessions.

Finally, grafts do not grow well in thickened scars. If a scar can be thinned using injections of cortisone, it may improve the chance that the transplanted hair will grow.

Read about using hair transplant techniques to fix scar tissue
Read answers to other questions on hair transplants into scar tissue




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