Can you have a hair transplant without shaving your head?
26th July 2020
It’s normal to feel conscious about your appearance when undergoing hair restoration surgery. For some patients the prospect of having to shave their head before an FUE hair transplant can be particularly daunting. A common question we are asked at The Maitland Clinic is “can I have an FUE hair transplant without shaving my head?” Here we consider this question in more detail…
Can you have an FUE hair transplant without shaving your head? While it is possible to carry out non-shaven FUE hair transplants, the answer really depends on the individual patient. If only a small area is being treated, the surgical team may be able to avoid shaving the donor and/or recipient area. However, this can make the process more challenging so it’s generally preferable to shave both areas if possible.
What happens during an FUE hair transplant?
FUE (Follicular Unit Excision) involves transferring hair grafts from an area of the scalp where hairs are genetically programmed to continue growing for life (the ‘donor area’) to areas affected by hair loss (the ‘recipient area’).
The Maitland Clinic’s surgeon, Dr Edward Ball, usually recommends that the areas to be treated are shaved before the procedure begins to allow clear access to the hair and skin. It is best if shaving of the hair takes place within the clinic the day before or on the morning of surgery. Shaved and recipient and donor areas aid the process in which Dr Ball individually extracts the follicular unit grafts using a 0.8mm to 1mm hand-held mechanical ‘punch’ device.
Dr Ball makes tiny slits in the recipient area of the patient’s scalp (measuring 0.6-1.0mm in length) and the individual grafts are placed into these recipient sites by our highly skilled team of surgical assistants. Dr Ball pays extreme care and attention to the positioning of the grafts to achieve a natural look that blends seamlessly with the surrounding hair.
The donor extraction process leaves a series of tiny dots scars that can be barely visible to the naked eye, meaning patients can wear their very short if they choose, for example, a number 1 or 2 grade cut.
The procedure leaves a series of tiny dots scars that are barely visible to the naked eye, meaning patients can wear their very short if they choose, for example, a number 1 or 2 grade cut. You can read more about the FUE procedure on our website.
Can you have an FUE hair transplant without shaving your head?
You may have heard of the term non-shaven FUE but there is still a lot of confusion over what it actually means. At some clinics, it implies that the donor area is shaved completely but the recipient area isn’t. In other cases, the term suggests that the areas of the donor scalp being harvested are shaved and then covered with the surrounding long hair. It can also imply that neither the donor nor recipient areas of the scalp are shaved.
Although it is technically possible to perform an FUE hair transplant without shaving the patient’s head, this method won’t be suitable for everyone. Non-shaven FUE is a more complicated and time-consuming procedure, so it’s normally only carried out in cases where a small area of hair loss is being treated. Even then, it’s usually preferable to shave both the recipient and donor area if possible.
At The Maitland Clinic we do perform FUE with a non-shaven donor and/or non-shaven recipient area in certain appropriate cases. However, we usually restrict the use of the technique to smaller cases due to the increased technical challenges associated with the procedure.
What are the benefits of shaving your head before an FUE hair transplant?
While it is possible to have an FUE hair transplant without shaving your head, there are some advantages to shaving the donor and recipient areas:
- Increased visibility – shaving the patient’s head gives the surgical team a much clearer view of the donor and recipient areas.
- Simpler and faster – with an unobstructed view it becomes easier, simpler and faster for the surgeon to extract and implant the grafts, resulting in less time in surgery.
- No risk of the grafts becoming tangled and excessively handled – shaving the donor and/or recipient areas prevents the grafts being excessively handled due to becoming entangled in the existing hair.
- Easier to clean – a shaved head is easier keep clean once the surgery is over and during the recovery period.
- Easier to apply aftercare ATP spray – a shaved head makes it easier to apply the aftercare spray during the first few days of recovery.
- Reduced risk of dislodging a graft – without the risk of long surrounding hairs laying over and sticking to the grafts, the risk of dislodging a graft in the early post-operative period is reduced.
There are obvious benefits to shaving your head before undergoing an FUE hair transplant and many surgeons prefer to work this way.
If you are undergoing an FUE hair transplant at The Maitland Clinic, you will normally be advised to keep your hair at its usual length for the day of surgery. This helps Dr Ball to properly assess your scalp and plan your hair restoration. If required, he will then shave your head during your pre-operative consultation on the afternoon before or the morning of your proced
Won’t everyone notice my shaved head?
It’s understandable that you may be nervous about shaving your head when undergoing an FUE hair transplant, particularly if you normally like to keep your hair long. If this is the case, you might want to gradually transition to a shorter hairstyle in the months leading up to your surgery. This will give you and your family and friends time to get used to a shorter cut, making your shaved head less of a talking point following your FUE hair transplant.
You may also wish to wear a light hood or very loose-fitting hat in the days following your surgery. However, it’s important to make sure that any head covering doesn’t come into contact with the fragile grafts during the first five days. You can read more about the dos and don’ts of wearing a hat after a hair transplant in our blog post – Can you wear a hat after a hair transplant and how long after the procedure?
FUE hair transplants at The Maitland Clinic
The Maitland Clinic offers a full range of hair restoration procedures, and our surgical team, led by Dr Edward Ball are amongst the world’s leading exponents of FUE techniques.Dr Ball takes the time to get to know all of his patients before their surgery to ensure he provides a procedure that will give each one a natural look that will last them through their lifetime.We will always be realistic about the results you can expect to achieve. You can view some of our results in our online gallery here.
If you are considering hair restoration treatment our friendly team of experts can offer a wealth of information and advice tailored to you. We can also talk through any concerns or worries you may have, such as shaving your head before an FUE hair transplant.