Principles of Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair is taken from the permanent zone on the back of one's head, and transplanted where it is needed. Surgery has evolved from flaps to plugs to small grafts to the latest techniques. Currently, there are only two ways of transplanting hair, which are FUT and FUE.
There are advantages and disadvantages of both techniques, and you must make an informed decision based on the facts. Choosing the right technique should have to do with the severity of hair loss, speed of hair loss, hair styles, expectations. It should have nothing to do with what someone else has had done, offers and cost. Transplant surgery technique should be chosen on its own merit. At Harris Surgical, we shall give you the right and honest advice, in consultation with you.
In this technique, a strip of skin is taken from the back of head (permenant area). The donor area is closed with dissolving stitches, leaving a fine linear wound (later a scar) on the back of scalp. Hair follicles are then carefully removed from the strip, under microscope. These follicles are separated into single, double and multi-hair follicles. This is necessary, as requirements for different types of hair loss is different. Whilst these follicles are being removed by our experienced technicians, surgeon makes tiny incisions at the previously agreed and marked area in the scalp. Once these incisions are made, the extracted follicles are put in these incisions. See pictures below of different stages. All this is done under local anaesthetic cover. After infiltrating local anaesthetic, the patient does not feel any pain. Depending upon the size of transplant and patient's anxiety levels, sometimes pre-op sedation is given. Generally, this is a painless and pleasant experience. Some patients do become very emotional when they see hair in the scalp, after being bald for so many years! Every step of the way, we'll be there for you. During the procedure we take breaks to mobilise and feed our patients. We'll make sure that you are happy and that it is safe for you before you are discharged home.
Follicular Unit Transplantation
Follicular Unit Excision
In this technique hair is taken from the permanent zone in the back of head, and transplanted to where it is needed. The difference from FUT is that instead of taking a strip, individual hair follicles are plucked out using special tiny punches (or even robots). So, instead of having a linear scar on the back of head, you have tiny dot like scars in the donor area. Advantage is that one can cut the hair extremely short (but not shave), which may not be possible with the strip surgery. So both surgeries leave scars (neither is scarless surgery), therefore, claiming that FUE is scarless is incorrect. FUE procedure is slightly more time consuming than FUT, as individual hair follicles are plucked, but every step of the way, we'll be there for you. During the procedure we take breaks to mobilise and feed our patients. We'll make sure that you are happy and that it is safe for you before you are discharged home.
FUT or FUE
Patients often ask as to which technique that should have. Following are the facts that one must know before choosing either surgery.
- FUE takes longer than FUT
- FUE is more in price than FUT
- FUT leaves a linear scar on the back of scalp
- FUE leaves dot like scars in the donor area, which are hardly noticeable with short hair.
- There is lots of handling of FUE grafts, and therefore, more risk to the damage.
- FUE procedure if not chosen judiciously, can jeopardize future transplant procedures.
- With frequent FUE procedures, the donor area can start looking thin.
- For FUE, depending upon the number of grafts needed, we may have to shave the donor fully or in strips
- For FUT, it is rare to shave to head. Most of the times you can keep the existing hair style, making the procedure discreet.
- In my experience, FUE is more suited to people who after a certain age have lost little hair, and want to keep hair short. Also their hair loss is stable.