Many people are understandably anxious about preparing for a hair transplant procedure. Hair loss can be challenging enough, but the thought of having to shave it all off in preparation for transplantation, can be a cause for concern.
Whether or not your hair needs to be shaved, or how much of your hair must be shaved prior to an FUE (follicular unit extraction) procedure, depends on the extent or specific type of transplantation that is taking place. It is important to consult with your hair specialist in order to form a decision about your particular case.
The area at the front or the crown of your scalp, which is generally the recipient site, will not need to be shaved. The donor area – usually at the back and sides of your scalp – may need to be fully shaved, or cut very close to the scalp.
Depending on the number of grafts that will be extracted from the donor site, your doctor might sometimes recommend that you allow your hair to grow slightly longer. In doing so, it will provide coverage for a strip that will be shaved underneath in preparation for the FUE procedure.
The extent of the recipient site will provide an indication of how many follicular units will have to be extracted from the donor site. 2000 to 2500 follicular units will provide coverage for hair loss on the crown, while as few as 1500 follicular units will be enough to create an attractive hairline and frontal area of the scalp.
In order to collect 2000 to 2500 follicular units, the doctor will have to shave the entire back and sides of the scalp. Only a strip of hair at the back will be shaved to extract a smaller number of follicular units.
Rest assured that recovery from the hair transplant procedure can be as little as 24 hours – after that point you can shower, resume normal activities, and even get back to the workplace. The healing process will take a little longer – perhaps ten days before the scabs fall off, leaving a fully healed scalp. After that, it is a matter of waiting for the newly transplanted hair to go through the natural phases of the growth cycle, when you will begin to develop a fuller head of hair.