The better your hair characteristics the greater help in creating a natural looking density and maximum coverage when rebuilding a new head of hair, especially in Norwood 5 cases and above. Planning for further hair loss also becomes easier, as the hair calibre allows for wider coverage whilst maintaining a good density.
Hair characteristics can range from hair colour, calibre or diameter of the hair, fine or thick, if the hair is curly or straight to the contrast of the hair against the skin complexion.
Ideal hair characteristics include a thick hair shaft, curly or wavy hair, a lax scalp and a low contrast between your skin colour and your hair colour. That is why a hair transplant works and can give a man even in Class 5 and 6 the appearance of coverage and density (donor permitting) without matching hair for hair on the head.
A slightly different characteristic but a very important one is the number of hairs. When talking about a hair transplant it is often the result required is referred to by different terms. They refer to “grafts”, sometimes hairs or follicular units (FU´s).
All these aspects carry an important role for the doctor when planning your hair transplant procedure, and will be an important aspect in determining the density the doctor feels he needs to place to create a natural looking result and blend with your native hair.
Average number of hairs per Follicular Unit
A follicular unit can be made up of 1-4 hairs normally and they grow in little bunches and normally this is considered a “graft” when removed from the scalp.
The number of hairs per FU is important in determining whether a person is a good or bad hair transplant candidate. If the average number of hairs per unit is low then there may not be enough hairs to treat higher thinning patterns, even smaller patterns of loss may suffer as the natural groupings cannot be placed in a design pattern as to give enough density to appear natural.
Ideal hair characteristics include:
At your consultation, the following aspects will be measured to ascertain whether you have good, bad or average hair characteristics.
High FU density hair count,
Thick hair shaft,
Curly or wavy hair
Low contrast between your skin colour and your hair colour
Good Quality Donor Area
Starting At Your Hairline And Working Back
The hairline has the highest density of placement per cm2 of FU due to the single hairs and the need to give definition to the hairline without it being too see-through. Behind the single hairs the larger groupings are placed; in smaller procedures maybe only 1, 2 and sometimes 3 hair units are required whereas larger hair loss stages all hair groupings will be needed in the restoration. Two-hair units are placed directly behind the single hairs, followed by the three and four-hair follicles while ensuring correct angulation, direction and orientation are maintained.
As the larger units are placed the density of placement can decrease as the number of hairs increases although the number of hairs increases per cm². With this increase in hair density coupled with correct angulation, direction and orientation it is possible to mimic nature and give the impression of a natural head of hair.
Some Hair Characteristics Are Better Than Others
Enough importance cannot be given to the placement of the grafts, it is a time-consuming aspect of the hair transplant, painfully slow but the patience and care will show in the result.
The hairline is the first area to be placed; a “jagged” or irregular edge approximately three rows and just 2-3mm in depth are made with a thin surgical instrument able to make a small angled incision for the graft to be placed in.
The size and depth of this slit are dependent on the size and hair characteristics of the FU that will be placed within, the orientation, angle and direction are down to the skill of the doctor making the incision.
The doctor´s tech team normally place the grafts, sometimes two or even three working on the same head at one given time. The graft has to be held in such a way as to not damage or kill the graft, placing into the minute slit one at a time takes a great deal of concentration, dedication and patience.
It´s All In The Technique
Follicular Unit Hair Transplant Surgery is now the most refined form of hair transplantation. Greater skills have to be applied as well as time to excise the natural groups of FU intact. Follicular Unit transplanting separates the natural groups of hairs, from 1-4 hairs in each group, and thus enables the groups to be utilised in the optimum place in the recipient zone.
FUT hair transplant surgery the doctor harvests the hair from a thin strip of the hair-bearing tissue. The strip is divided into smaller strips and then divided again into the individual follicular units. This must be performed under magnification to ensure the grafts are cared for and not damaged whilst being divided. Taking into consideration the type of hair characteristics they can be catered for under magnification so if the follicles are wider or shorter, curly the grafts can be cared for and divided with perfect care.
Follicular Unit Extraction, is the movement of genetic groups of hair known as follicular units (FU); “bunches” of hair usually 1 to 4 hairs. A micro cylindrical surgical punch surrounds the FU and with a great deal of skill and precise measurement of skin and hair angles the FU is encompassed within the punch.
FUE requires the use of various punch sizes have, some doctors preferring a larger punch diameter whilst others prefer to refine the punch size and use around a 0.75-0.8mm diameter punch size. The smaller refined punch can remove or at least minimise skin trauma, peripheral damage to surrounding FU and reduce any scarring, whilst being able to encompass an intact follicular unit without damage or transection.
To perform FUE to the highest standard the donor area requires total shaving, this allows the doctor to precisely measure the angle the FU exits the scalp as well as give a greater comprehension to the position within the skin and hair characteristics, a very important aspect of the extraction. If the concept of FU angulations, skin variations and healing is not understood by the doctor the FU will not be removed intact or will result in a high transection rate or low yield, either way this is detrimental to the patient.
With both techniques it has been medically recognised that hair from the donor can be moved to an area of hair loss and this hair will continue to grow after being moved to the new area, displaying the same traits and characteristics as it had prior to being moved.
Advances in hair transplant surgical hair restoration techniques are well suited to treat both men and women; today´s technology enables high density and natural hairline designs. For those that are suitable candidates, the latest follicular unit grafting hair transplant methods present an ideal solution.