Chiari Online Support Group

Having the surgery, wondering about my hair


Hello! I am having the decompression surgery in September. I was wondering if it’s easier to cut my hair really short and have it shaved in the back. I was wondering about the staples and hair getting caught and the pain it will cause.

Thank you for your help!!


Hey Jessica,
From the neurosurgeries I have had, they shaved a large area around the surgical area, I do know of other patients who have had an undercut, so they could sweep their hair over the area making it less noticeable. After my last op I had to have all of my hair cut off as they had shaved the whole right side of my scalp, so no ‘comb over’ was going to hide it.
As for my staples, they were removed long before the hair grew back. Sure I had a bit of stubble growing but nowhere near enough to be getting caught in the staples.
Hope that helps answer your question.

Merl from Moderator Support


Thank you so much. That does help. I have really long hair and I don’t want to get caught after the operation. I am guess I am going short :slight_smile:


Mine’s long too. It was before surgery aswell. Looked a bit odd having long locks on one side and shaved the other, hence I shaved the lot, then let it all grow out evenly again. I now wear a baseball cap to cover the burr holes and scars but the long hair helps. I do know of people who are lucky enough to just have a patch of hair removed or as I said have an undercut then they can sweep the remaining hair over. My initial surgery gave me a clear scar right in the centre of my hairline, like it’s parted clean down the middle permanently but my hair is receding so eventually I’ll be bald and without the hat people would see it all. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Merl from Moderator Support


As you can see in my profile pic my hair was longer than my bra strap. I had the stylist shave just the back about 2 inches wide and up to top of my head. I did this 2 days before. Then with the 5 corn rope braided after the staples were removed I let them down and you could not tell I had surgery. My length was still longer than my shoulders. The surgeon was spook happy that morning and said it saved him almost 1/2 hour of prep. And now suggests to other patients who love tbier hair. 2 years later it is still growing back nut again people can not tell anything eas done back there. Good luck.


Ok thanks. After surgery the long hair didn’t bother you?


I had long hair before and after surgery. The surgeon shaved a small strip of hair surrounding the incision. Only my hairdresser could tell while it grew out. No concerns with stitches or incision. Perhaps knowing what your neurosurgeon has planned would help with your plans


Before I had my ACM decompression, I had my hair cut to chin length. For the surgery, they shaved the back of my head. It eventually grew back in. My prayers are with you


I have short hair–pixie cut. They only shaved a small strip of hair directly around the incision. It was all pretty much back to normal by 4 months post op. Good luck to you!


I had no staples. I had self dissolving stitches. Never had them removed they just go away. My hair was already short n spiky. It’s a personal preference but it will take a while for your hair to grow back out to the length of the rest of your hair. Ask yourself how you feel about that and taking care of longer hair while you are recovering. I was thankful my hair was short.


I had my surgery almost 3 yrs ago and I was all set to just shave my head. I had very thick hair that was about shoulder length. But to my surprise when I awoke from surgery no one could even tell i had the surgery. The dr just shaved the hair underneath and left what was on top! My only regret was the fact my hair was so thick and semi long and to brush it was painful. And not being able to wash it for a couple weeks didn’t help. Hope this is helpful.


Thank you so much Andrea3. That’s the part I am worried about. My hair is way past my shoulders and thick. That’s why I am thinking of cutting it and undershave to the cut.


I have long hair as well and have had multiple surgeries with both staples and stitches. I have never had a problem with hair getting caught in either type of suture. With long hair, it is easier to hide the incision as the hair grows back and initially you can wear your hair up on top of your head in a bun until things heal a bit. Best of luck with your surgery!


My hair didn’t get caught in the stiches that I remember but when I had them removed there was some hair that got pulled with the removal of them. Also with long thick hair it was hard for me to wear it up after surgery. It was the weight of my hair that bothered me.


I had a bob haircut before surgery and only a strip on each side of the incisions were shaved (one low and one a little lower than center for the area the took tissue for patching the dura) . The hair above the incisions and to the sides of the incisions covered it well and no one noticed. My brought me a green bob wig in the hospital as a joke and fortunately I did not ever need it, lol. I had staples that were removed a few weeks post op and did not have any trouble with brushing my hair as long as I was careful around the incision area. Good luck to you with your surgery!


I had long to my waist. It is realy thick. My surgeon showed me how far in the back he need to shave off. I had my hair dresser cut off what he need, I donated that to Wigs For Kids. After surgery unless I put it in a clip or ponytail you couldn’t tell it was shaved. I kept it long let the back grow to meet the top. It took 2years 10 months for all my hair to all be the same lenght again. When the staples were in I didn’t have any problems with the hair getting caught in them.


For my first shunt surgery I had long bra strap length hair. He only shaved a patch in the back where the shunt was placed. For the emergency surgery(ventriculostomy placement and shunt removal) they shaved the whole front section of my head down to scalp and with many days of hospital bed rest, we decided to cut it down above my shoulders so it wouldn’t matt up.


I’m two days post op and I do not believe my hair was shaved at all. I will include a photo. My incision is relatively small. Many neuro surgeons do not want people to shave ahead of time as it can increase the infection risk. Having worked with neuro surgeons I would say at least half simply part the hair and make their incision. So be sure to ask before shaving anything!