In the old days (think 1980s), there was no mistaking who had a hair transplant. The telltale corn row, doll hair, pluggy-looking hair transplants of yesteryear were -- believe it or not -- once considered state-of-the-art. But that was well before the evolution of hair transplantation. Over the last 20 years, hair restoration techniques have evolved considerably. These techniques have become so refined and results so natural-looking that most people cannot tell if someone has even had a hair transplant.
Hair transplant procedures guide: find out all you need to know about any surgical hair transplant procedure
Follicular unit transplantation involves moving the small naturally occurring hair bundles (aka follicular units) usually from the scalp's permanent donor area to the area of hair loss. This procedure can be performed to treat a variety of hair loss conditions in appropriately selected and diagnosed men and women. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), is one of two donor harvesting methods used to harvest the small follicular units. With the FUE technique follicular units are individually extracted from the patient's donor area using a small round micro punch. It has gained popularity in recent years, and is often described as a “minimally invasive” procedure because it does not involve stitches, and the tiny round excisions are left open to heal without sutures. However, it must be noted that when thousands of small cuts are made in the skin, it is an invasive procedure and does constitute surgery. The actual transplantation occurs the same for both donor harvesting techniques, as the grafts are inserted using various tools and needles or micro blades into recipient sites( small incisions) in the areas where the patient has experienced hair loss.
The other method of donor harvesting involves taking a full thickness ellipse of skin and hair, and is referred to as a linear excision, or linear ellipse strip harvesting, and the small grafts are individually dissected using a microscope. The wound is closed usually with stitches, and this leaves a linear scar, confined to one area rather then diffusely distributed like the FUE. This technique has been successfully used by hair transplant surgeons for decades.
While the FUE harvesting technique has gained popularity in recent years because it does not produce a linear scar, patients must be knowledgeable about potential risks too. Despite false advertising claims of 'a no scar technique', FUE almost always leaves small round scars which, when performed correctly, can be hidden with short hairstyles. When performed improperly, FUE can result in diffuse donor thinning and leave visible scarring.
The ISHRS urges consumers to do their research before choosing a hair restoration surgeon—and be sure your doctor is actually going to be performing your surgery, and not delegating it to an unlicensed technician.
Improvements in instrument technology and technique have now made follicular unit extraction (FUE) a procedure competitive with strip harvesting for obtaining donor hair for transplantation.
New findings from research help explain why hair loss happens (ie. specific gene/hormone carried by individual).
Although hair transplantation alone is by far the most common method of hair restoration utilized in modern times, excision of bald scalp after either tissue expansion or scalp extension can play a very useful and important role in hair restoration as well.
Skin flap surgery is a method of moving a "flap" of skin from one area of the body to another. Scalp flap surgery has an important but limited role in hair restoration.
FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction is a method of harvesting hair follicles from the donor area (the back and side of scalp where hairs won't fall out during the patient's lifetime).
The hair restoration surgeon will determine risk factors based on the information given by the patient prior to any surgical procedure.
Alopecia reduction-also called scalp reduction-is a surgical hair restoration procedure that (1) surgically removes bald scalp, and (2) stretches hair-bearing scalp upward to replace bald scalp that has been removed.
Postoperative discomfort is experienced at different intensity and duration by individual patients. Most patients report no more than mild discomfort after surgical hair restoration.
Hair restoration surgery restores hair to areas of hair loss. It's a successful procedure but one that cannot be undone after it has been accomplished. It can be revised over time with additional surgery, but it cannot be undone.