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Bad Strip Scar - UK Clinic

C

CuBlu9

member
Hi, I just wanted to share my experience and hopefully gain some advice from some more knowledgable people on here..

Two and a half years ago I decided to go for a hair transplant, I was 25 at the time. I had had a receding hairline for as long as I could remember. I wasn't actually sure wether I had receded at all or if it was just my natural hairline, I didn't recall any hair ever falling out and it didn't seem to be getting any worse, plus my hair was not thinning, it just started further back than I would have liked. I tried Propecia for a year, I knew it didn't really work on temples but I was desperate, suffering from anxiety, didn't want to leave the house, felt like a freak. I've always had poor mental health so it was just something else my anxiety could latch on to. I am still on Propecia but now taking the generic finasteride.

I finally decided that enough was enough, I wanted a hair transplant. I did some research (no where near enough) and found out about the different types, FUE and FUT. I decided I wanted FUE as it seemed the better method, with fewer complications. I googled FUE UK and made an appointment with a clinic. When I went for the consultation I was told that yes my hair had receded, my forehead was much larger than a "normal" mans forehead. I was also recommended FUT as opposed to FUE because I was told I would get a better result and that I would need more hairs to cover the bald patches as I had "thin hair". It is true that I have fine hair but it still struck me as odd as apart from the temples, I had a full head of hair so was expecting to be recommended FUE but I put my trust in their advice. I was told that I would be left with a linear scar approximately 2-5mm wide and that I would be able to wear my hair at a number 2 and above. I never went above a number 2 so wasn't too concerned, in fact the scar was the last thing on my mind, I just wanted good results at the front and never considered that the scar would even be a problem. I should add that the person doing the consultation was not the surgeon, at this stage I didn't even know who was going to do the surgery.

A few months passed and I decided to go for the operation. The actual operation went well I thought, the staff were all very nice, wasn't too painful. The worst part was keeping still for over 8 hours. When the operation was complete I immediately noticed that one side appeared to be higher than the other, not by much but i'm a bit of a perfectionist so it still bothered me. I told myself that it just looked worse because it was red and it would look better once the hair grew in (it does, but it still bothers me). Again, didn't really think about the scar, just assumed it would all be fine. About a month later I went for my first hair cut post operation and had the back shaved as I usually do. Afterwards I realised that the scar had gotten much bigger, it was very obvious. I contacted the clinic who told me that I had cut my hair too soon and that it would improve over time.

About a year later, the scar was still quite large. I contacted the clinic again and agreed to another consultation. At the consultation (again not with a surgeon) they agreed that it was much larger than what they would expect and agreed to remove the scar as well as putting some more hair in the front. They also asked if I had bumped the scar or done anything that could have made it worse. To my knowledge I had not. I knew that there was a chance that it would be just as bad (or worse) but I didn't want to spend any more money and they were offering to correct it for free so I went ahead with the second operation. During the second operation I pointed out the asymmetry and they told me that I didn't want it too symmetrical as it would look fake. To be honest I wasn't sure if I was just being too much of a perfectionist but after the second surgery it still looks wonky to me and still bothers me.

After the second surgery I paid much closer attention to the scar. Initially it looked very thin with hair above and below it but after the stitches came out after about 10 days (they were dissolvable) I could already see that it was beginning to widen again. Over a year after the surgery the scar is as bad as it ever was, it could even be worse but couldn't say for sure. It's around and over 1cm wide in places. I can't shave my hair at all, and even with a scissor cut I have a very obvious line in my hair as though the hairdresser hasn't cut it properly, you can also see the scar through the hair at the sides and I've began to get very self conscious about it. I also have very straight hair so not sure if this makes it appear worse. I have attached a picture of the back one-two days after I had my hair cut. To be fair I don't think the front looks too bad besides the slight asymmetry I think it looks quite natural and everyone i've told had no idea I had a transplant.

This is what I want some advice around...

- Is the initial clinic to blame? I'm very upset about the state of it but not sure if this is just the way my body heals and therefore would have been just as bad at any clinic (with FUT)
- Was I given bad advice? I'm mad at myself for not going for the FUE or even just not having the transplant at all. I'm also mad at myself for not doing more research around reputable clinics but again not really sure if this is their fault
- What are my options? I've already had it removed once (all be it at the same clinic) and it is no better. I really think it needs removing again but worried about my scalp being too tight and further complications from invasive surgery.
- I know that FUE into the scar is an option but as it's so large i'm worried that it will use too much precious donor hair to cover it and I have no idea what my hair is going to be like in the future, i'm also worried about the cost. If I had a guarantee that it was going to better with more surgery I maybe wouldn't mind but i'm scared about sinking more money into something that's going to make me look worse or no better.
- Should I just live with it?
- Now that I'm focusing on the scar I can feel it in the back of my head, almost a burning sensation and I don't know if it's just in my head (because im thinking about it) or if there is something wrong with the scar.
- I read recently that smoking/nicotine can affect scar healing. I don't smoke but I do vape with nicotine and i'm worried that this is my fault

Sorry for the very long post, I just have a lot of questions around this and didn't know where to turn. I have an appointment booked with Dr Ball at Maitland Clinic so i'm going to see what he says but wondered if anyone else had experience with a similar thing and managed to improve it?

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Bigmac

Bigmac

Administrator
Staff member
The scar has stretched a lot on both sides. Having it excised out all depends on your scalp laxity which a doctor will decide. Failing that, FUE into the scar is a good option.
The burning sensation could possibly be nerve damage.
How many grafts did you actually get?
I think I know the clinic you went to. They offer FUE but then switch you to strip. They pretend they are an FUE with locations all over the UK.
I see you`re going to see Dr Ball. I have met quite a few of his patients in person. His strip scars are pretty amazing, some are near impossible to see.
Good luck with it.
 
C

CuBlu9

member
Hi Bigmac. Thanks for your reply.

On graft numbers I’m not actually sure, I think 2800 might have been mentioned the first time, the second time I’m not sure but it was less.

Yes that certainly sounds like them. Do you know why they do this? Do they just not do fue?
 
Bigmac

Bigmac

Administrator
Staff member
It all comes down to the skill level of the doctors. Bait and switch was the term used when many FUT clinics dabbled in FUE but were not that good at it so they would sell you FUE, then switch you to FUT when you`re at the clinic saying you`re not suitable for FUE. By then, you have built all your hopes up, you believe what these people tell you and you go with what they say as they`ve gained your trust.
This clinic seems to be modelled from his previous employer Norton Clinic.
Unfortunately for you, it has to be put down to a bad decision.
 
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