Hair removal for surgery is done to reduce the change of infection. It's thought that hair may contain bacteria, dust and dirt that can cause post-surgical infection near the incision. Even though there are no clinical statistics to support this, the practice is done in the best interest for the patient's recovery.
For most routine surgeries, the hair is usually removed to the skin surface. Shaving with a razor was the most popular method but this increased the chance of nicks and cuts and the inflamed skin interfered with adhesive dressings.
Clippers and hair removal creams are now widely used instead, to ensure that integrity of the surrounding skin, even when sore and swollen after the operation.
Hair loss is the side-effect of some surgical procedures, especially chemotherapy treatment. To avoid the often upsetting loss of hair, some patients choose to shave their heads before starting treatment.
Best practice is to follow the advice of the medical professionals. They are knowledgeable with the surgery and the healing process and know how soon self-removal of hair can be done at home prior to surgery.
Avoid any hair removal method that extracts the entire hair follicle. Stay away from epilators, plucking or waxing which will leave the skin sensitive and raw and more prone to infection in the surgical area.
Males who undergoing a sex-change operation often remove their facial hair by electrolysis or laser hair removal to achieve a more natural, smoother appearance. These methods have longer lasting results but may required additional touch-up treatments every few months.
It's also important to note that the new vagina is created by inverting the skin of the penis and scrotum, which usually have active follicles. Hair is usually removed prior to surgery so that hair growth does not take place inside of the new vagina. In some cases, the underside of the skin is scraped of the follicles so hair removal after surgery can be permanently eliminated.