Hair loss is a far more complicated issue than most people realize. Stemming from any one of several different potential causes, it requires comprehensive diagnosis and a variety of treatment methods that can be customized to each patient’s specific requirements. This is why there is more than one approach to hair transplantation surgery. Advancements in technology have made it possible to extract individual follicles for transplantation with the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique, or even to completely automate the process with various robotic devices. However, in the more than forty years that we have been performing hair transplantation at the Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, board-certified dermatologists Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis have found that one of the most versatile and effective methods is still the traditional follicular unit grafting (FUG) technique.
Follicular unit grafting can be effectively used to treat both men and women suffering from several distinct forms of hair loss. It is particularly suitable in cases of androgenetic alopecia, or common genetic pattern baldness, as this form of hair loss affects the follicles in specific areas of the scalp in a highly predictable pattern. Follicles transplanted from areas of the scalp that are unaffected will continue to grow as though they were still in their original location, providing seamless, natural-looking hair transplant results. Follicular unit grafting can leave behind a faint linear scar at the donor site, and so may not be suitable for patients who prefer to wear their hair extremely short.
All forms of hair transplantation work by moving healthy hair follicles from one area of the scalp to an area where the hair has started to thin. The follicular unit grafting (FUG) technique, commonly referred to as the “strip harvesting method,” collects these follicles by surgically removing a thin strip of the scalp from the donor area and then dissecting it under a sophisticated binocular microscope into individual “follicular units” that are suitable for implantation. We then close the incisions, using a specialized type of closure that allows the hairs to grow through the resulting scar line, making it virtually undetectable.
Because the hair follicles that we obtain during follicular unit grafting are dissected by our highly-skilled technicians, a far greater percentage of them emerge intact and undamaged. This means that we are able to harvest a larger number of viable grafts from a smaller section of scalp, and thus leave behind a much smaller scar that can be more easily concealed. Moreover, follicular units are made up of naturally-occurring clusters of one, two, three, or even four individual follicles. While some doctors divide those units to create the illusion of more grafts, our technicians work to preserve them, allowing Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis to place the different sized grafts into strategically made incisions where they would occur naturally on the scalp. This creates a softer, more natural-looking hairline and better overall hair restoration results.
Treatment for hair loss needs to be tailored to the specific type of hair loss and the individual patient’s needs, and so every case should be carefully evaluated. Only then can we determine what approach will be most effective, whether FUG or FUE is best for your needs. If you have concerns that you may be suffering from hair loss, and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Edmond Griffin or Dr. Ashley Curtis to help understand your options, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.