Chiari Malformation Community
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Avatar universal

How much of my hair is going to be shaved before surgery?

I hate to ask such an insignificant question about something so vain. I was curious how much of my hair will be shaved before surgery, and how large are most incisions? I really am not vain or concerned with appearance, I think it's more of a curiosity question. Also, with those who have large scars, did your hair grow back, or is there no hair growth on the actual scar? Sorry for the shallow questions, I just wanted to know what I am in for. I'm wondering if a short hair cut is the way to go. I have had long hair my entire life, so it's a big decision for me. Maybe it's best to keep it long enough to put it up in a ponytail? Anyone's opinion would be greatly appreciated!
6 Responses
Avatar universal
I think how much of your head is shaved depends on the surgeon. When I had my surgery, I only had an area about 1.5 inches wide and about 4 inches into my hair line. But I've also seen pictures where people had the entire bottom half shaved. As for regrowth, anywhere there is scar tissue, you won't have any hair growth. I think scar length also depends on the surgeon. Mine goes from the bottom of my neck to about 3.5 inches into my hair line. With cutting, I, like you, had long hair my entire life. I cut off about 11-12 inches before my surgery because I had no idea how much would be shaved. I wish I had kept it long enough to put up in a pony tail. Cutting it short made for some really awkward haircuts as I was trying to hide the scar and hair regrowth. Hope this helps!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your help. I think it will work best for me if I just keep it long, and put it in a ponytail. Seems easier to me. How are you feeling /doing since your surgery? Did you go to one of the larger Chiari centers? Have you had any complications? I am seeing Dr. Haffez from the Chiari center of Wisconsin on August 20th for my pre-op visit. I have heard good and bad things about him, but people who don't have complaints don't post comments about things typically. It's human nature to write about bad experiences rather than good or great. I wish I was already past all of this, but I will get through this like everything else. Thanks again for sharing your experience.
God bless,
620923 tn?1452919248

  Hi as ivykat mentioned it depends on the Dr, what type of surgery he will be doing...ie: I had tissue harvested as well as decompression so the area to be shaved was larger then what most seem to have, but my Dr told me not to cut my hair, it was to my shoulders....he said it is easier for him if I just put it in a pony tail for the day of surgery...I woke up with a water fountain....(pony tail on top of the head)...lol....I had much of the back of my head shaved, but it grew in great and once the incision was healed I could make a low pony tail and it covered the incision....so wait and see what the Dr prefers.

You can see pics of my head on my profile page.
Avatar universal
Hi sarah,  i would leave it long....i did.  I did straighten mine the day before surgery to make it more manageable for the doc...and it was a success.  Ahe put my hair it two buns on either side of my head (looked like princess laya sp? From star wars) my doc shaved one razor blade width about 4 inches up and that was it.  Now starting. 4 weeks post op and you cant see it with pony tail.  Good luck....when is surgery
Avatar universal
Hi Sarah,

Mine most recent surgery was similar to Selma's.  It was about 1.5 inches wide and went from my neck to the top of my head.  I had two pony tails when I woke up and looked like pippy longstocking.  It really wasn't bad.  My hair was just below the shoulder and I recommend keeping it long.  Once the staples were out I was able to put it up and people didn't even notice.  I am 9 months out now and have 3-4 inches of growth with no bald spots.
Avatar universal
My daughter's first NS shaved an area around 2" wide up the back of the head.  One of the reasons we love her new NS is that it looks like there was nothing shaved, almost like he parted the hair.  She also had tissue harvested to make the patch.  It was a separate incision further up the head but also no shaving.  It depends on the physician.  Her hair grew back fine after the first surgery and wearing a ponytail was the easiest way to go.  I hope you have a successful surgery and a smooth recovery.
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