Thanks to the many possibilities available with cosmetic surgery, it is possible to thicken areas of thinning hair by transplanting individual follicular units. The most frequently-used technique is called ‘Fut’ which safely transplants a high number of follicles but there is also another technique called ‘Fue’.
How a Hair Transplant is performed
In both cases, small groups of follicles are extracted, anatomical units that have between 1 and 4 hairs. The way in which the follicular units are extracted is very important, if they are not extracted correctly then the graft will not take and the hair will die. A patient considering hair transplantation should be aware that the hair in the translanted area may fall out after 4-6 weeks. This is normal due to the damage sustained from the transplant itself but the follicles themselves are what will then repopulate the area with undamaged hair within around three months.
Details of the two techniques:
FUT: consists of sampling a strip of scalp from the donor area which is then grafted. This will leave a tiny 1mm scar which can easily be masked by even short hair. This scar can also be reopened if further procedures are indicated. The lozenge of extracted scalp is divided into sections with the interior of each part containing capillary follicles or a follicular unit. These units are extracted and preserved in a solution. When they are ready to be grafted, they are implanted into the skin affected by baldness with small incisions. This is an extremely precise and intricate procedure with very high percentages of acceptance of the transplanted hair. Under favourable conditions, Fut enables the extraction of 4000-5000 follicular units in one surgical session. In this instance, the transplant has a 100% success rate which the patient will see after 3 months of growth.
FUE: involves collecting donor areas with very small, circular scalpels. This can penetrate deeply into the scalp and the follicular unit itself can be damaged due to the small instrument it uses. This can lead to damage of adjacent follicular units. Extracting single follicular units from the scalp is painless and there will only be micro-scarring. FUE is a good option for patients with a reduced donor area and can yield 3,000-3,500 follicular units in one session but it does not have a 100% success rate.
In both cases, sampling takes place in an operating theatre in day hospital under local anaesthetic. The patient will have the option of spending a night in the clinic or leaving after a couple of hours. Depending on the technique used by the surgeon, the patient may notice a draft on the treated area. There are no specific indications, the only recommendation being to avoid washing the head for one week after the procedure.