What to do with my hair!

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days now, an I’ve also talked to my mom about it. I was diagnosed with chiari not too long ago and the doctors are already talking about surgeries. I have read others posts on here and other sites about how they dealt with their hair post-surgery and how much was shaved. Yet, I’ve began to wonder if shaving all of my hair would make it easier for me? My hair is long, a little shorter than mid back, and gets tangled so so easily and it’s super dead and thin at the ends, no matter how many times I’ve gotten an inch or so cut off (my doctor says its do to the chiari). Do you suppose starting fresh after surgery would help it grow back healthier? Also, I have to wash it almost everyday because it get gross fast, and when I don’t, and it’s slightly oily, it makes me sick! Can’t stand it! If I did shave, I wouldn’t mind using the head scarves and such.

Side question: to those of you who didn’t completely shave, did you still use head scarves? Did it help?


When I left the hospital it was cold and I had wanted to put something over the back of my head. When I tried a hat or scarf, it stuck to the stitches and irritated them. Just a fyi. You might want to make sure whatever you use to wrap your head with won't stick to them. I didn't shave my head. I have a short bob that is longer in the front and shorter in the back. Before surgery, I had the back cut boy short and the rest blended in so that the front remained to my chin. It grew out nicely. I don't think there is a need to shave your head completely.

I too, left my incision show! I didn't like the feel of anything on it unless I was outside and then used a scarf (after the stitches were removed). I was proud of my scar!!! It also gave me an opportunity to tell me what it was from and raise awareness.

My NS only took the tiniest strip of hair. I have pretty thin hair and it's still covered up with out much issue. I can wear it down, in a ponytail, or even a french braid without notice!

My doctor said I could wash my hair the next day so I didn't have to worry about it getting too greasy. I just washed it daily. Then I would put it in two low ponytails so the incision would be open to the air.

Like Beeba said, it will itch when it starts to grow back and I might have gone insane if I had to deal with that on my whole head!

I would seriously reconsider making such a drastic change (long hair to shaved head) before surgery. Trust me on this, it will not feel like a "fresh start" it will be yet another thing that makes this process hard. I would suggest getting a shorter cut to remove the damaged ends. You will be surprised how much your other hair will cover he incision area and you will be able to wash your hair sooner than you think. (right after coming home from the hospital-I've heard of some people showering while still in the hospital)

Growing your entire head of hair back will take a good year. It's much easier to deal with a section being missing. Scarves will get old very quickly and like others said, in the beginning they would be uncomfortable.

Another thing that no one has mentioned, but is an issue for me is that due to the skull they removed in the back of my head, I can no longer wear head bands and scarves without constantly having to pull them down in the back because that part of my skull isn't there to hold the bottom down. (probably doesn't make any sense, the way I described it)

Also, head bands and anything tied around my head bothered me for months because of the nerve endings that are in the healing process after the surgery, due to the fact that they are cut along with the muscle.

This is obviously only my opinion, but my advice would be to talk to your surgeon and ask for the most conservative amount of hair shaved as possible and also get a shorter cut that will make your hair more manageable. Good luck with your surgery!

I understand your concern. Everyone gave you great advice. I went out and bought many hats and scarves. I had short hair & just got it cut real shorter than usual. They did shave my head but had an odd situation.

If you feel like it will be good for you then by all means cut it off. You might even just want to have it cut short if you want to have it grow healthy and make it easier to deal with. I still wear a lot of scarves. The hats never feel right on my head. Maybe you should ask your NS how much he plans on shaving and then ask your hair stylist for advice on what would be best for your hair type.

Tracy z.


I have had experience of being bald . . . breast cancer 4 years ago. My biggest concern with the decompression surgery was the loss of my hair after finally regaining it. My hair is just below my shoulders and I have about a 3 inch by 1 inch shaved area in the back. The hair on my "crown" covers this and I feel much better than completely shaving my head.

That being said, I believe this is a personal decision. Just know, it takes a while to grow back.

I also have very oily hair and need to shampoo almost daily. I actually felt better once I was able to shampoo my hair. Of course, the first few days were tough and the nurses had to help me the first time in the hospital.

I have pictures on my page of post-op hair and incision. Please feel free to check it out.


All of these replies have been very helpful! I did talk to my hair stylist (who has also been a good friend for years) and she suggested maybe getting it cut shorter after surgery

I had 8 inches by about 1 inch shaved on my head. My hair is shoulder length and it covers beautifully I would recommend cutting your hair at least to shoulder length before surgery. After surgery it was painful to brush my hair out because of the nerves that were cut. I would also invest in very very very good detangling spray or oil to help your hair have no nots after your shower. I took a shower in the hospital 2 days after surgery. It’s your personal decision on what you want to do with your hair but I think shaving it completely would be not the best idea. You want your hair as manageable as possible before surgery. I wore my hair in pigtails a month after surgery things on the incision just hurt. Good luck!

Hi Taylor,
I just had my surgery a month ago. Like you I have VERY oily hair, I wash it everyday, it makes me crazy! I am a licensed cosmetologist and decided to cut my hair to a manageable length, about shoulder length, my NS cut about 1 1/2 inch line where he had to cut. What was left I put up in a clip until my staples came out and it has been great. To be honest, the first couple of days I didn’t feel well enough to care that my hair was oily. I would get all your dead ends cut and that will help a lot with the tangling. Good luck with your surgery!