Not long ago hair transplant surgery was introduced and it showed astounding results as compared to other conventional techniques used to address the same issue. This technique involves replacement of the balding recipient sites with the hair follicles from donor sites. This technique is used to replant hair in thinning areas like head etc. and also for the areas which have undergone hair loss due to some disease or accident etc.
Follicular hair transplant is the more advanced form of the conventional hair transplant which essentially addresses the issue of natural look of the hair transplant procedure. The natural hair growth is not a single follicle growth rather it follows the pattern of 2 to 4 hairs which are together termed as follicular units (FU). Follicular hair transplant closely follows nature as it employs the transplantation of hair in their natural follicular groupings rather than the single follicle transplants.
FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) thus is most successful in achieving their established goals i.e. giving a more natural and non-artificial look to the hair transplant. There are two means of harvesting hair namely strip harvesting and follicular unit extraction (FUE). In both the methods the basic rule of the follicle growth i.e. maintenance of the equivalent hair growth as it would have had in its original (donor) site remains the same.
The rule of thumb for FUT remains that the finer the graft placement, the better it is. In this regards the positioning and alignment of the follicles also plays a crucial role. Not long ago the surgeons came up with a lateral slit technique which enabled them to cover more bald area with minimal hair grafts by using the lateral orientation of the follicles to cover the bald regions however on the downside it disrupted the vascularity of the scalp.
The procedure for FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) is not too complicated. It involves application of the local anesthesia to the donor sites before the removal of hair follicles. The donor follicle removal is very fine with each removal being a tiny graft of a size of upto 1mm. The recipient sites are then surgically treated to micro level incisions in order to implant the donor grafts. While implanting the grafts to the recipient site, it is especially taken into consideration that the implants should be so placed that they give a very natural and realistic hairline once the hair growth is complete.
Another novelty recently added to the FUE technique is the use of robotic hair restoration which involves the use of a robot to discover the FU regions as well as their structure with the aid of several cameras which relay back the site, alignment and orientation of the follicles. The addition of this technique has been particularly significant in the reduction of the operating time by decreasing the time required to obtain the grafts and hence lessening the toll of work on the surgeon. However this technique needs some further improvements in order to further reduce the cost and also to make it more precise as far the size of incisions is concerned.
Since FUE is a very fine operating procedure it requires special attention and care. Therefore, it needs not to be performed in a single exhaustive session; rather the patient has the choice of breaking up the entire procedure into several short sittings with the surgeon. Actually the total operating time for FUE is more a question of the operator’s skill rather than the patient’s situation.
However FUE has many advantages over other contemporary methods the major being its very realistic effects. Also unlike strip harvesting, FUE operates on the principle of micro grafts ad incisions rather than the strip ones and resultantly there is no strange tell-tale straight scar at the posterior of your head. The usual micro scars are too small to be discernable. In addition the micro sized incisions ensure rapid recovery with minimal ache and discomfort.
However on the downside the fineness of the procedure demands special care and treatment, thus the patient has to bear the cost of prolonged operating sessions as well as the financial costs. Some surgeons are of the view that the success rate of the FUE might not be as much as that of the strip transplant. Still others argue that it is nearly impossible to undergo a strip transplant as a sequel to FUE in case the need arises.