Popular Approaches to Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation

Here at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, many patients come to us asking which of the various forms of hair transplantation surgery are right for their specific needs.  As with most things relating to hair restoration, the answer is in the details.  All forms of hair transplantation surgery work in essentially the same way.  Natural clusters of hair follicles, called follicular units, are removed from areas of the scalp that are unaffected by genetic pattern hair loss so that they can be transplanted into areas where the hair has started to thin.  When these follicular units are carefully placed and angled by a dermatologic surgeon with hair transplantation experience, like Dr. Edmond Griffin, they conform to the pre-existing natural growth pattern and are virtually indistinguishable from the other hair on the patient’s scalp.  There is more than one approach to hair transplantation, and while each method has its own distinctive advantages they differ primarily in how those follicular units are harvested.  At The Griffin Center, Dr. Griffin uses the safest and most effective techniques for collecting follicular unit grafts, along with some highly specialized advanced options that make those techniques even better.

The Strip Method

In a traditional follicular unit grafting (FUG) procedure, commonly referred to as the “strip method,” a long, thin section of tissue is surgically removed from the back and/or side of the patient’s scalp.  The sides of the incision are then closed, leaving behind only a thin linear scar.  The resulting strip of scalp can then be dissected into natural-occurring clusters of hair follicles, called follicular units, using a powerful binocular microscope.  While follicular unit grafting does tend to produce a larger number of healthy, viable grafts, some patients are uncomfortable with the thought of the linear scar that it can leave behind.  At The Griffin Center, however, we employ a special type of closure that allows the hairs to grow through the healing incision, making the scar virtually undetectable.  Check out our gallery of post-hair transplant scars photos to see what we mean.

Popular Approaches to Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation

Follicular Unit Extraction with NeoGraft®

Patients who prefer to wear their hair in extremely short hairstyles (such as a close to the scalp buzz cut), are sometimes better suited for a follicular unit extraction (FUE) procedure.  This approach works by removing the individual follicular units one at a time, directly from the scalp.  Originally, surgeons had to cut around each of the follicular units by hand, but now we use the automated NeoGraft® FUE device to slide the follicular units from the donor area using pneumatic pressure instead of forceps.  Although the NeoGraft® device carries a lower risk of causing mechanical injury to the grafts than older FUE techniques and allows for more precise control than robotic-assisted devices, it can still be time consuming and costly, and so is generally recommended for specific patients.

The Latest Advancements in Hair Transplantation

In order to be transplanted, each individual hair follicle (or follicular unit) must be detached from the tissues that surround it.  However, since hair strands are wider at the base than at the tip and can curve in different directions, it can be difficult for a straight punch to make the necessary incisions without damaging the hair follicle itself.  At the Griffin Center, we can use a new specialized hybrid trumpet punch which oscillates at high speed to achieve a higher number of grafts per punch with a significantly reduced transection rate, particularly in patients with tightly curling hair.  Additionally, we will often use a concentrated solution of platelet rich plasma derived from the patient’s own blood as a nutrient-rich transport material for donor follicles while they are awaiting transplantation.  This keeps the follicles healthier, and can significantly improve their survival rate and overall hair transplant results.

One of the many reasons that The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research has remained one of the most renowned hair restoration clinics in the world for more than forty years is because we are constantly evaluating and implementing the latest advancements and technology.  If you are concerned about your own hair loss, or are interested in learning more about the many surgical and non-surgical hair restoration options that are available, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news or answers to your questions about hair restoration or contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration so that we can schedule an appointment for a full hair loss consultation.