Suffering from hair loss can be a daunting experience. Not only do patients have to deal with the esthetic and emotional challenges associated with hair loss, but also with the confusion related with finding the right information in order to improve their situation. At Hair Transplants of Florida, we are dedicated to helping you along the right path of getting your hair back. Whether it’s through hair transplantation or hair therapy, it is our obligation to give you accurate, scientifically proven information in order to help you make informed decisions, so we have written this review of various hair restoration options to help educate the public on hair restoration options.
The art of hair transplantation has come a long way. After many years of not very impressive outcomes, experienced and artistically skilled hair transplant surgeons are finally delivering incredibly natural, non-detectable results.
Instead of using the old plugs, which were groupings of 10-15 hairs, resulting in a doll hair look, we harvest each follicular unit as it grows on a patient’s donor area (1-2-3 and even 4 hair units) and transplant them according to where they will be placed. We only use the 1-hair grafts for the frontal hairline and then use the 2-3-4 hair grafts for the mid to crown area. This allows the patient to experience a soft, natural look in the frontal hairline, which is what everyone sees and also reach thicker density in the mid to crown area with the larger hair units.
There are two methods of hair transplantation. The first and most famous of the methods is Follicular Unit Transplantation, also known as FUT. The second method is Follicular Unit Extraction, also known as FUE, which has gained a great deal of demand from patients in the past few years. Both of these methods can be excellent options for patients. However, not all patients are good candidates for both methods.
Below we will elaborate on both options, their related Pros and Cons and which option most benefits a particular patient, depending on his/her hair loss factors.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
Presently considered the gold standard in the hair transplant industry, Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) involves taking a strip of hair from a patient’s donor area (in back of the head), suturing the patient, separating each follicle unit to its natural state of 1-2-3 or 4 hairs, making the small receptive sites in the area where they are to be placed and then transplanting each hair unit in the correct zone.
The single hair units (grafts) are used for the immediate frontal hair line while the groupings of 2-3 and 4 hair grafts are used immediately after the frontal hairline or in the mid to crown areas, where ever the patient may be thinning/balding. This results in a soft/natural look for the patient in his/her frontal hairline, which is the area most people see and allows them to achieve greater density in the mid/crown areas.
ADVANTAGES OF FUT:
- Can achieve greater harvesting, therefore help patient receive more coverage/density
- Less transection due to splitting grafts under high powered microscopes
- More efficient/less time consuming procedure
- Cleaner, less stressed grafts
- Less down time for patients to return to work
- More affordable
DISADVANTAGES OF FUT:
- Healing process in the donor area is more sensitive due to linear scar
- Limits patient from getting tight hairstyle in donor area
Therefore, for those patients who have slight or advanced hair loss and don’t mind leaving their hair long enough (1/4 inch) in the donor area, this method is the best. Greater coverage, less time consuming and more affordable!
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Patients seem to think that the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method of hair transplantation is the newest method of hair restoration. Actually, it’s a very old method that has been improved. The old “plug” look that everyone fears is actual the original FUE method of hair transplantation, however, groupings of 10-15 hairs were extracted and transplanted as such, thus leaving a very “pluggy,” unnatural result. In today’s FUE method, each hair unit is harvested with a swivel scalpel in its original state (1-2-3 and 4 hairs). This leaves a dot scar instead of a linear scar. Each unit is then transplanted in the same manner as in the FUT method, the 1 hair units in the front and the 2-3 and 4 hair units in the mid to crown areas. So, as you can see, the only difference between the FUT and FUE procedure is the harvesting of the grafts. The placement and healing of the transplanted area are the same.
ADVANTAGES OF FUE:
- Allows patients to have tighter hairstyles due to dot scars being more unnoticeable
- Healing process in the donor area is quicker and less uncomfortable
DISADVANTAGES OF FUE:
- Donor area is shaved, therefore patients need more time off to return to work and avoid looking “funny” unless patient works from home
- Smaller size procedures due to time consuming harvesting method
- Slightly higher transection rate due to blind harvest method
- More expensive due to more time consuming
Therefore, if you don’t have aggressive hair loss and don’t mind investing a little more in order to have the option of wearing your hair in any style you like, this option could be the best for you.
Important FUE Alerts:
- It is very important to mention that not all patients are good candidates for the FUE method. For example, a patient with a hair loss pattern of a Norwood 6 or 7 (very aggressive hair loss) may not be suited for this method because of the numerous procedures it may take to get them to their goal. Since the FUE method leaves dot scars scattered throughout the donor area, it can result in a diffused look in the donor area if too many dot scar are left too close together due to multiple FUE surgeries.
- Unethical and sales focused hair clinics market the FUE method as a “scar free and back to work the next day” procedure. This could not be farther from the truth! Common sense tells us that any cutting into skin (harvesting) will leave some type of scar, whether linear or dots. Furthermore, shaving the donor area in order to harvest hairs through the FUE method may not leave you looking ready to return to work the next day, unless you work from home. Hair Transplants of Florida is compelled to give our patients accurate information so they can plan accordingly without any surprises.
- Many doctors who are not hair transplant specialists have entered the industry by adding hair transplantation to their menu of services. They are purchasing equipment from companies that have aggressive marketing campaigns and contracting hair technicians or physician assistants to perform the entire FUE procedure, including the harvesting and site preparation stages of the surgery. It is unethical and against Florida state law for unlicensed personnel to cut into a patient’s skin. This should be left in the hands of a trained licensed doctor, while technicians perform their vital tasks.
- Do not overpay for an FUE procedure! Doctors that are purchasing highly marketed FUE equipment have to pay a $1 royalty fee back to the manufacturers for each graft harvested. Do you know who ends up paying for this? THE PATIENT! There are several efficient FUE tools available in the industry that don’t require any royalty fees to be paid back to manufacturers. The difference stays in your pocket!!
Click for more information on FUE vs. FUT, which method is best for you?
Some patients that are not deemed good candidates for hair transplantation (they don’t have enough donor to meet their goals in battling hair loss) have the option of using a hair piece/system (wigs). Although this option can be very expensive (units can cost from $2k-4k plus maintenance contracts of $200-400 a month), it can help these patients have some type of solution to their hair loss challenge. Instead of settling for a national hair system company that can turn out to be extremely expensive, Hair Transplant of Florida recommends patients that are not candidates for hair transplantation to search for a local hair stylist that also specializes in hair systems that can turn out to be more affordable.
Concealers can also be very helpful in helping a patient that is going through a thinning process. Toppik and xFusion are just two options in the Market. These products consist of hair fibers that are sprinkled on a thinning area to give it a thicker look. Although it washes away when you wash your hair, it can serve as a quick, temporary fix for special engagements.
Don’t let more time pass feeling frustrated about your hair loss. To find out which Hair Restoration options is best for you, call Hair Transplants of Florida and schedule your Free/Private consultation TODAY!
If you have a question not covered above, please call us anytime at 239-277-9000 or send us an email at info@HairTransplantsofFlorida.com