From punch grafts to manual extraction techniques and beyond, hair transplantation technology has evolved significantly since the corn rows and doll hair of the 1950’s. Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research have kept pace with advances in medical technology that have given those suffering from hair loss access to a variety of surgical and non-surgical options in hair replacement.
Follicular Unit Grafting (FUG) is a technique where a strip of donor scalp is excised from the back and/or side of the head, from an area that will be covered with the patient’s remaining hair. This donor strip is then carefully dissected under a microscope into follicular units, each containing from one to four individual hair follicles. Relying heavily on skill and experience, these follicular units are then transplanted, by hand, into the thinning areas of the scalp with Dr. Griffin and Dr. Curtis carefully matching the size and shape of the follicular units with the angle of the follicles in the transplant area. Newer sewing improvements have evolved to leave a minimal scar in the donor area. If additional sessions are necessary in the future, the same scar is used and easily removed so that at the end only one scar remains even after two or three sessions.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) differs from the process of scalp incision and dissection (FUG) by removing the follicular units, one by one, from the scalp directly. These released grafts usually need no further dissection under the microscope and can be inserted individually as in the strip technique. In FUE, an instrument is used to make a small, circular incision in the skin around a follicular unit, separating it from the surrounding tissue. The unit is then extracted directly from the scalp, leaving a small opening. This process is repeated until Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis has harvested enough follicular units for the planned hair restoration. The donor wounds, approximately 1-mm or less in size, completely heal over the course of several days, leaving tiny white scars buried in the hair in the back and sides of the scalp. The areas where the grafts are removed require the hair to be shaved close to the head so this area is visible for at least a week after the procedure, as opposed to the strip which can be covered by the remaining hair.
Originally, follicular unit extraction was performed with a single punch. However NeoGraft can now act as an extension of the surgeon’s hand, using controlled pneumatic pressure to slide out the graft smoothly, without pulling or twisting minimizing damage to the graft prior to transplantation. Because NeoGraft® allows Dr. Griffin and Curtis to perform the extractions faster and the device holds the follicular units in a chamber to prevent them from drying out, the grafts remain fresh and vital at the time of implantation, increasing the success of the grafting process.
If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. If you are interested in discussing hair loss or hair restoration options, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.