Before the mid-1990s, hair transplant surgeries performed in the previous decades were rife with problems, and this left a stigma and reputation from which the hair restoration industry is only now breaking free from. And indeed, today’s hair transplants far exceed those of pioneering attempts, and, with a certified and experienced doctor, leave the patient with a natural looking head of hair. These state-of-the-art surgeries are now becoming extremely popular.
To understand modern techniques, the concept of a “follicular unit” (fu) is important. A follicular unit is a basic unit of hair containing between one-to-four hairs as well as associated blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The extraction of an fu from a section of the head that contains permanent donor hair is the first step in modern transplantation procedures.
Since most women lose hair in a diffuse manner, if the balding has advanced too far, permanent donor hairs may be unavailable in some cases. with men, however, typical male pattern balding leaves a ring of hair around the bottom of the head providing an ample supply of donor hair follicle units.
Patients with high density donor hair usually attain the best results. Of course, electing for surgery sooner rather than later is very beneficial as this is a question of mathematics, the bigger the bald area the more hair has to be transplanted from the donor area to cover it, this then again is also open to discussion in regards to when is the right time to operate. taking finasteride or minoxidil following surgery is recommended to prevent the need for future surgeries if the patients still has left some of his “original” hair on top of the scalp (surgery won’t stop weak hairs from dying). People with curly or wavy hair as well as people with strong hair shaft thickness can usually expect goodresults.
To understand the process in greater detail, we’ll review the two types of modern hair transplantation:
1) Fut (follicular unit transplant, also known as strip harvesting)
2) Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Of the two very modern methods described here, strip harvesting is considered the older of the two even though this is open to debate as fue is related to the old plug method.
While FUE has been slowly seen more and more on the hair transplant market over the past ten years, strip harvesting is still by far the most practiced and reliable technique regardless of the hype surrounding fue. While not as effective in its early days, advanced new equipment has made the FUE technique increasingly compelling. We’ll discuss both techniques below.