When hair loss is treated surgically we want no one to know. We want people to think our hair looks great and there no sign that we actually had a hair transplant done. Hair restoration began in the 1950’s as a plug procedure where 5-10 millimeter plugs were extracted from the back of the head (the donor area) this left an unsightly hair line and also horrible scarring in the donor area. The technique of removing a donor strip was developed in the late 1980’s which then allowed for dissection of donor hairs into naturally occurring follicular units. Hairs grow in groupings of 1-4 hairs called follicular units. The phrase “scarless hair transplant” is an unfortunate marketing term promulgated by unscrupulous hair transplant clinics. There is no such thing as a scarless hair transplant. The American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons specifically forbids Board Certified Hair Transplant Surgeons from using the word “scarless” in relation to hair transplant surgery.
The Scarless Hair Transplant or No Scar Hair Transplant does not exist. It is a marketing term, not an actual procedure. FUE does leave small scars.
The physicians who developed follicular unit extraction simply decided to remove smaller plugs of tissue containing a follicular unit (grouping of follicles) by extracting them individually. This is done by removing a hair bearing plug of tissue from the donor area with a 1 millimeter punch. So FUE is simply a 1 mm plug procedure. It also involves shaving of the donor area and the result is multiple 1 millimeter scars. It is not a scarless procedure as advocated on many internet sites. FUE or follicular unit extraction leaves 1,000 to 3,000 small scars. Many hair transplant candidates think that after FUE they will be able to shave their heads and not show scarring. That is incorrect, hair transplant donor area will always show scarring but the amount of scar is both dependent on technique and skill of the hair transplant surgeon performing the hair transplant procedure.
Many hair transplant procedures are performed by unskilled hair transplant doctors or lay people, who do not have the skill to properly excise donor material whether by FUE or FUT (commonly known as the strip method of donor hair excision). There is no such thing as a scarless hair transplant but if done correctly with either FUE or FUT an individual should be able to wear their hair at a number 5 or number 6 length in the donor area.
The FUE procedure yields lesser coverage compared to FUT as done in expert hands FUT graft survival is still greater than with FUE. If someone guarantees 100% FUE survival they are not being honest with you. There is more trauma with FUE to the follicles than FUT and that is why FUT has greater survival than FUE.
Remember why you want a hair transplant and that is to cover your balding area and look better. There is no such thing as a scarless hair transplant. The difference is minimizing the donor scar by choosing a well-qualified full-time hair restoration surgeon. Please review the material here on “How to Avoid a Bad Hair Transplant”.