When I had my procedure performed on March 18, 2002, my donor zone was closed with stainless steel surgical staples. Dr. Wong was among the only doctors in the world to use staples in hair restoration surgery but as the years went by more and more doctors made the switch. It is easier than sutures, yes, but the idea was that it was just better overall. There are a few reasons for this. First, there was no chance of bunching up of the tissue where the top and bottom edges of the wound meet during closure. With sutures, it is literally just like tying your shoe. Sometimes it may be too loose, sometimes it may be too tight. With staples you don’t have this issue and all of the tissue in between either side of the staple is tension free so it can heal without interference. Second, staples don’t flex or loosen under tension which can also lead to inconsistency with scars. Lastly, with sutures, you routinely get what I refer to as, and I coined this term by the way, “train track” scarring. This is where the entry and exit points of the sutures cause additional scarring above and below the incision line of the donor wound. It is usually caused only when the sutures are too tight as the scarring is formed from the additional tension. I have seen this from staples but it was only one time and it was from a patient of another clinic. Of note was that the scarring looked somewhat reactive to the procedure overall as it almost looked like keloid scarring.
Since I’ve had staples throughout all of my repair procedures I can’t really comment on the actual differences. I do remember having sutures from my first two surgeries in the early 90’s and I remember one of the sutures was left behind by mistake and I had to pull it out myself, which was no big deal really. Many of the strip surgeons out there still use sutures and they have great success. I don’t think there is a big difference between the two overall because if you are going to have strip you most likely aren’t going to shave your head thus your scalp won’t reveal any signs of the surgery you had so in the end, it doesn’t really matter.
Below you will see a series of photos that were taken while the Seattle consultant for Hasson & Wong, Mike Ferko, performed my hair transplant staple removal ten days after surgery. Honestly, this is worse than the surgery ( for me anyway ) but it is always over in just a few minutes and once it is done it’s like a weight is lifted off of your shoulders. Living with these in my scalp has always has always followed the same pattern. You don’t feel them for the first few days. Then they start to ache and then, before you can have them removed, they start to itch like crazy!!! Getting them out is sweet relief!