What is it?

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It’s a type of surgery that moves hair you already have to fill an area with thin or no hair. Doctors have been doing these transplants in the U.S. since the 1950s, but techniques have changed a lot in recent years.

You usually have the procedure in the doctor’s office. First, the surgeon cleans your scalp and injects medicine to numb the back of your head.

There are two primary methods of doing FUT surgery today:

1. The traditional “Strip” Follicular Unit Transplant (“Strip” FUT) method where donor hair is removed from the donor area in a single strip and later subdivided into grafts under a microscope.

2. The Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method where each graft is extracted individually from the donor area by a micro punch.

The major difference between these techniques is the method of donor harvesting with the rest of the procedure being primarily the same.

Follicular Unit Transplantation

The FUT process involves removing a small strip of tissue from the back of the head, from which the donor hair follicles will be extracted. The hair follicles are harvested from the strip by a skilled clinical team before being individually transplanted to the recipient areas. In most cases, and especially cases of advanced hair loss, FUT is the preferred method because it allows the physician to fully utilize the scalp area to deliver results consistent with patient expectations. FUT typically allows for the greatest number of grafts to be transplanted in a single session.
Some patients report higher levels of discomfort with FUT procedures compared to FUE due the potential swelling in the area where the strip of tissue was removed, but both methods have a very manageable recovery period and pain medication can be prescribed by your physician if needed. Both techniques of hair transplantation are relatively simple. Hair transplantation procedures are outpatient surgeries with some patients going back to work as soon as the very next day.
The FUT strip extraction method typically results in a very narrow linear scar in the back of the head (typically 1mm in diameter or less in size). Since the scar is very thin, it’s easily concealed by all but the shortest of haircut styles. A short to moderate crop setting on most clippers is sufficient to conceal the scar for the majority of patients, and over time the scar will become less noticeable as it fades.
The industry norm for pricing is on a per-graft basis. This allows each individual to pay for only what they need and receive in number of grafts, and not a flat rate that in the end may cost you more. The per-graft cost of a FUT procedure is generally lower than that of a FUE procedure. Lately however, in response to the rising popularity of the FUE technique, many hair transplantation clinics have started lowering the per graft cost on FUE procedures, so that the cost difference between the two types of procedure are not as much as most people think. The costs of medical procedures always vary by patients’ conditions, needs and objectives. For the most accurate assessment of your hair loss and the associated cost of your hair restoration, you will need to speak to a physician.

Follicular Unit Transplantation

In an FUE hair transplantation, each follicular unit is individually taken directly from the scalp with no strip of tissue being removed. Hair follicles are removed in a random fashion and the result is less density in the donor area that many say is not even noticeable. This is the main difference between FUE & FUT. Since follicles are removed one at a time, fewer follicles can be harvested during a typical session, making FUE a better option to restore hair in smaller cases (number of grafts) compared to the traditional FUT method. FUE is constantly evolving and what was once utilized for only smaller cases is now being utilized for larger and larger cases. Some people that prefer the FUE method may have the option of splitting their procedure into two days in order to complete their recommended transplantation goals.
With no stitches required and no linear scar left to heal, FUE procedures do have a faster healing time and less post-procedure discomfort compared to the traditional FUT procedure.
Since FUE procedures involve removing hairs individually from the scalp, there is no linear scar left behind. However, there will be tiny 1mm in diameter or less puncture marks that tend to heal by themselves after scabbing-over in the days following the procedure. These tiny wounds typically heal within three to seven days.
Since the physician must remove each hair follicle individually, the time-sensitive nature of an FUE procedure typically makes it more expensive than an FUT procedure. As stated earlier, FUE technology is improving as well as gaining popularity and many hair restoration practices (including Bosley) have started to lower the cost per graft price for FUE procedures. Nowadays, the cost difference between a FUE and a FUT procedures is less disparate.

Does it Work?

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Hair transplants may not always be as effective as they are made out to be. Men or women with advanced hair loss whose follicles have been dormant for 2-7 years will have poorer results. According to hair transplant recipients, you will generally get back about 25% of your existing hair density. If your hair is very thin and has been for many years, that does not equal a lot of hair.

However, not waiting long enough before doing the procedure isn’t a good idea either. Doctors recommend waiting until your receding hairline has nearly finished receding. That is, wait until most of your hair loss has occurred so that you do not continue to lose after doing the expensive surgery.

Worst of all, hair transplants ultimately are not permanent cures for hair loss. The transplanted hairs themselves will thin and age over time. Plus, the spot on your head that donated the hairs will thin as well making it look much worse.

Side Effects

Side effects from a hair transplant are usually minor and clear up within a few weeks. They can include:

– bleeding
– infection
– swelling of the scalp
– bruising around the eyes
– A crust that forms on the areas of the scalp where hair was removed or implanted
– Numbness or lack of sensation on the treated areas of the scalp
– Itching
– Inflammation or infection of the hair follicles (folliculitis)
– sudden but typically temporary loss of the transplanted hair (called shock loss)

We recommend that you consult with your doctor as soon as possible if any of these side effects persist or become particularly bothersome.

FAQ’s

For the vast majority of patients, virtually all transplanted hair lasts a lifetime. In some cases, a small percentage of transplanted hair may be lost as the patient ages.
Although patients are administered local anesthetics and other medications, the degree of pain or discomfort experienced during or after the procedure varies according to the patient. Doctors may supply patients with medication to use after the procedure, if needed. Many patients find that they do not need to take any medication at all after their hair transplant procedure.
Whenever human skin is cut, it always heals by the process called “fibrosis.” This fibrosis (commonly known as scarring) is the skin’s way of healing. Thanks to the skill of our experienced hair transplant physicians, the healing sites in the transplanted areas are usually so small that the fibrosis is virtually undetectable. The scar in the donor area is covered by your existing hair. The Bosley hair transplantation procedure is designed to produce a very natural look.
Infection occurrences after a hair transplant procedure are rare. In the few cases where infection does occur, it is often due to the patient’s failure to fully follow post-operative instructions. Even when infection occurs, it generally is easily treatable with antibiotics, which can be prescribed by the physician.