Hair Transplantation Procedure
All techniques of hair restoration use the existing hair from the donor sites and then transplanting them on the recipient sites. The procedure is completed in the doctor’s clinic on an outpatient basis. Depending on the size of the transplanted area, the procedure takes 4 to 8 hours.
The scalp is first shampooed and cleaned and treated with an antibacterial agent prior to the procedure. Local anesthesia is injected which numbs the back of the head. Regardless of the technique which is being used, the proper extraction of the hair follicles is what matters the most as this ensures the viability of the hair which is being transplanted and avoids transection – the accidental cutting and damaging of the graft when it is being extracted from the donor area. Hair transplant surgery is of a single type only. The main differentiation comes from the way the harvesting graftsare prepared. Surgeons choose either of two methods which can be followed for hair transplant.
- Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS)
Also referred to as Strip Surgery or Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), this technique involves the surgical removal of a strip of tissue from the donor site which is a non-balding area and then individually transplanted to incisions which are prepared in the balding areas or the recipient sites.
A 6 inch to a 10-inch strip of skin is removed from the back of the head. The scalp is then sewn. This area is hidden with the hair around it. The strip which was set aside is then divided into 500 to 2000 tiny grafts by the surgeon’s team with hair or just a few hairs on each. The type of graft and the number depends on factors such as the hair type, color, quality and, on the size of the area where the transplant is required.
After preparation of the grafts, the area where the hair is to be transplanted is cleaned. It is then made numb and holes are created, or slits are made with a needle or a scalpel. The grafts are delicately placed one in each hole by the surgeon and his team.
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
This is a highly popular and evolving technique where hairs are extracted one follicle at-a-time. Due to the less invasive nature of FUE as well as less recovery time, follicular unit extraction has gained popularity. In this procedure, the back of the scalp is shaved, and the surgeon administers anesthesia to numb the scalp. The surgeon then removes individual follicular units, 1 – 4 hairs at-a-time, from the scalp using precision instruments. He isolates the graft by making a circular incision around the follicular unit. A tweezer-like tool is used to extract the graft. Specially trained technicians prepare and take care of the grafts with a high-powered stereo microscope.
The surgeon then creates recipient sites which need precision and expertise. The follicular units are carefully placed on the prepared sites. The one / two hair follicular units are put in the frontal area of the hairline while the three / four hair follicular units are placed on top of the head but behind them where more density is required. The small holes created due to extraction heal with little dots which get covered by the existing hair. They soon heal and become undetectable over time.
In case, hair loss continues, or there is a need for thicker hair, the procedure can be repeated.