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Hair Transplant Strip Scar – Can It Be Repaired?

I was left with a ear to ear, 1/2 in wide scar after having a mega session in 1996. It is impossible for me to hide the scar and the company who performed my hair transplant insists that they did nothing wrong. This has been a nightmare for more than a decade. I currently wear my wife’s eyeliner makeup to camouflage the scar which works O.K. but I would really like to fix the scar now that I have a little extra money. Is this possible and how much does it cost?

Strip scars are typically two to five millimeters wide unless something unusual occurs. One inch is 2.54 centimeters or 25.4 millimeters. Scars ? inch or in excess of 12 millimeters are not common.

Scars can be treated in many ways. One is to excise the scar and then close it again with little or no tension. Interupted sutures help to minimize the width of stretch back following scar revision. In addition, it is possible to perform a newer closure method that helps improve the probability that hair will grow through the scar. This is called a trichophytic closure. Another method to treat scars is to take out individual clusters of hairs called follicular units by some through a new method called FUE or FIT. This will heal with no linear scar and the hair follicles can be added to the scar.

You might begin with a scar revision and then wait 6 to 12 months to see what the scar will look like. Strip scars will generally be quite thin for the first 3 months and then begin to widen at the 3rd month. They continue to widen for up to 6 months though most of the widening will conclude by the third month. After you see how thin the scar is, you can then determine whether you want to add a few more grafts via FUE or FIT to help to further conceal the scar. I suspect that you can at least expect to reduce the scar width to below 5 millimeters with the scar revision alone. It generally will take about 200 to 300 grafts to treat a scar that is about 5 millimeters wide and ear to ear. Perhaps you will wind up with a fine scar after a single scar revision, however. Scars of one millimeter are not as common, but do occur.

The cost for a scar revision will be about $1000.00 I suspect. You can also color a scar with Couvre or an indelible marker. Best of luck with your situation. Today I do no recommend strip surgeries because of the risk of a strip scar. You can never predict how they will turn out. Scars taken from lower in the donor area tend to be wider, however.

John P. Cole, MD
Member, International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons

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The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.