Table of Contents:
I. What Is a Hair Transplant Procedure?
II. Follicular Unit Transplant
A. Some Things to Consider
III. Follicular Unit Extraction
A. Added Benefits
B. Is One Better Than the Other?
IV. Hair Restoration Alternatives
V. The Bottom Line
Summary: A look at the different types of hair transplant procedures available and the differences between them.
Thinning hair can put a damper on our self confidence and have us longing for something we once took for granted. Fortunately, modern science allows for a safe and effective hair transplant procedure, and even gives candidates options to choose from. Technology has come a long way to assist in this type of procedure and help aid in the decision to move forward. It’s always best to become well-researched and discuss what’s best for your individual needs with a board-certified hair restoration specialist like Dr. Feinberg.
What Is a Hair Transplant Procedure?
In simple terms, a hair transplant procedure is a surgical procedure that takes healthy hair follicles from one part of your head, and transplants them to another. Folks who are concerned about thinning hair on the top of their head may want to look into the hair transplant process to determine if it’s right for them. Men and women can both benefit from hair restoration. Candidates for hair transplants should have at least some hair, usually on the back of the head, to be extracted, harvested, and implanted to the area of concern. There is more than one type of transplant procedure available, so it is always advised to research these options in order to make an informed decision.
Follicular Unit Transplant
The follicular unit transplant, also known as “FUT,” is a procedure that involves removing the hair follicles from a strip of donor hair from the patient's own scalp. The donor area is usually in the back of the patient's head, where healthy hair follicles are still growing. Those healthy hair follicles are then transplanted one-by-one onto the area of concern, usually under local anesthetic. The process takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours depending on the amount of follicles that need to be implanted. A few weeks after the procedure, those transplanted hair follicles begin to fall out, making room for new hair to grow.
Some Things to Consider
The follicular unit transplant FUT procedure is a very common hair restoration technique, with minimal risks involved. Since the FUT process uses a strip of hair from the back of the scalp, the strip must be closed with stitches or staples. This leaves a linear scar on the back of the scalp which in most cases is hard to notice. If you keep your hair trimmed close to the scalp in that area, the scar may be noticeable. Those who keep their hair shorter may opt for a different procedure if they don’t want to risk the scar being noticed.
Follicular Unit Extraction
The follicular unit extraction FUE procedure is not much different than the FUT as far as implantation goes. The difference is in the removal from the donor area, where each follicle is extracted one by one. This eliminates the need for a large incision, and the follicle is removed using very tiny punches to extract individual follicles. These small holes are hardly noticeable unless the head is completely shaved. Once these follicles have been extracted, they are placed in the balding area of the scalp the exact same way as the FUT procedure.
In addition to the FUE procedure having less scarring, new advances in technology give the added benefit of more accurate precision using artificial intelligence. Dr. Feinberg at the Hair Restoration Center of NY and NJ uses technology called the ARTAS robot to assist with the follicular unit extraction procedure. The ARTAS robot delivers a high quality analysis of hair angles and thickness, making it the most precise way of determining which follicles to harvest. Hair transplant procedures that use the ARTAS robot take an additional two hours to complete in the office.
Is One Better Than the Other?
In terms of outcome, both hair transplant procedures are expected to achieve the same results. Within several months of the transplanted hair falling out, the new follicles will start to grow new hair in the transplanted area. Neither procedure is expected to yield a better outcome over the other, and in some cases, regardless of which method was used, some patients may require more than one hair transplant procedure. One of the few disadvantages of the FUT is the incision on the back of the head that can leave a scar. Hair transplant candidates may go for the follicular unit transplant if they’re not worried about scarring, or will have longer hair in the back to cover it.
Hair Restoration Alternatives
If you aren’t ready to take the plunge into hair transplant surgery, there are non-surgical options as well. These options may be better suited for those who are starting to experience hair thinning, rather than total hair loss. Minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical solution that can be found in drug stores. It is applied directly to the scalp to stimulate new hair growth. Other non-surgical hair restoration methods involve medical supervision, such as the oral prescription Finasteride, which is only intended for men. Other treatments such as PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections, and low-light laser therapy, can be performed by a trained physician as well.
The Bottom Line
Choosing a hair transplant procedure is entirely up to the candidate. If finances are of concern, then the FUT procedure may be a good fit, as it still offers a high chance of fuller, natural coverage.
Consulting with a highly skilled and board-certified surgeon should be your top priority. Dr. Feinberg and his team at the Hair Restoration Center of NY and NJ offer personalized hair transplant procedure options to fit your needs.
Call their office to request a consultation at (201) 739-1885, or request one online.