Can you spot a hair transplant from natural hair? Modern techniques in hair transplantation should dictate you cannot. Compared to previous hair transplantation methods the modern techniques use follicular unit grafting. This technique mimics nature. Using the naturally growing groups of hairs.
Modern hair transplantation has evolved a long way from the older more evasive methods. They could not only cause excessive scarring. The hair growth was unnatural. With large groups of hairs and incorrect patterns of hair growth. As the demand for natural results grew the techniques became more refined. Follicular unit grafting should mimic nature. Creating natural hairlines and density to cover even advanced hair loss stages.
Outdated surgical hair restoration methods
Scalp Reduction – An aggressive surgical procedure. Removing the bald skin from the top of the scalp and pulling the sides and back up. As a result, removing the bald area of skin. Scalp reductions used in the 1990s but never a popular form of hair replacement. With potential complications in performing a scalp reduction. There is the potential for the skin to stretch back leaving a visible large scar and an unnatural pattern of hair loss.
Flap Surgery – The cutting out of a bald area of skin along the hairline normally. Followed by the same cut but of a hair-bearing area from the sides. This “flap” remains attached to the skin and is twisted to sit in the area removed. Once positioned is then sutured. The flap procedure is aggressive. There is a high potential for the hair not to grow. Flap procedures invariably will leave severe scarring.
Minigrafting Hair Transplants – This technique evolved from the first “plug grafting” techniques. Was being performed in the 1990s. Involved the use of small groups of hair. Although an improvement it did leave larger spacing between each group of hairs. But was the first real step to the techniques of today with refined follicular unit grafting.
The standards of hair transplanting techniques today
The entire point of a hair transplant is to create a natural looking head of hair. Something that had not to be achieved so far. Another consideration was to improve donor hair management. The two combined can give more hair follicles that before. As well as the minimum of change to the hair and skin characteristics of the donor area.
Follicular Unit Grafting
The first improvement was to mimic nature. With the removal of intact hair units, known as Follicular Units or “FU´s. They contain one to four hairs per group. There is a higher concentration of single and two hair units found around the sides of the head. With a greater percentage of three and four hair units found at the back. A hair transplant requires a mix of the hair groupings to work.
The doctor must master the intrinsic art of hairline creation. Reconstructing the natural irregularities we have rather than a sharp obtuse line. Using the single hair units along the frontal line. Building gradually to the larger hair units to increase the hair density.
The follicle units need to be placed strategically. To create a natural appearance. Following the natural direction of the native hair. I place them to ensure they do not overlap. Also, in an asymmetrical pattern. This helps to maximise the hair coverage and fullness I can achieve. This allows me to give the maximum result with a small number of hair follicles. Especially considering the limitations of the finite donor resource.
The follicle units placed strategically to create a natural appearance. Following the natural direction of the native hair and placing them to ensure they do not overlap. In an asymmetrical manner to maximise hair coverage and fullness. Achieved from a relatively small amount of hair. Especially compared to the surface area to be covered. Also, considering the limitations of the finite donor resource.
Advanced Skills from Surgeons
With the older techniques, the focus appeared to be on hair removal. Not donor preservation. As a result, there were negative changes in the donor area. The knowledge and understanding at the time hindered the best hair transplant results. Now, with a greater understanding of the anatomy donor hair management and harvesting techniques improved.
Follicular unit grafting changed the harvesting techniques. Today there are two refined methods of donor hair management. STRIP Surgery/”FUT” and Follicular Unit Extraction or “FUE”. Some doctors have coined their own name for basically the same techniques.
FUT hair transplant surgery the doctor harvests the hair from a thin strip of the hair-bearing tissue. Removed from around the back and sides of the head. As a result of the latest closure methods, donor healing has improved. Allowing for a linear scar with hair growth through the area. This helps to camouflage the area. As a result, short hairstyles are possible. Follicular Unit Extraction/FUE, on the other hand, uses a micro-punch to extract each FU. One by one from around the donor area. The number of punch extractions is directly related to the number of grafts required. FUE also opened Body Hair is a viable donor resource.
It´s medically proven both follicular unit techniques will safely harvest genetically healthy hair from a safe donor. Each technique, when performed to a high standard, will leave minimal alteration to the donor zone. Donor management is refined being able to perform multiple procedures. The techniques can be combined to maximise the hair potential in one procedure.
A key to a successful hair transplant is the donor hair management and choosing the correct technique for your hair characteristics. Age, hair loss pattern and potential loss in the future. A consultation should cover all these and more points for your short and long term hair restoration needs.