More than 56 million men and women are currently experiencing hair loss, and even though the experts at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research offer a wide variety of prescription medications and non-surgical hair restoration treatments to help slow or prevent hair loss, sometimes patients need a more aggressive and permanent option. In many of these cases, hair transplantation surgery using either the follicular unit grafting (FUG) or follicular unit extraction (FUE) techniques can help give patients fuller, natural-looking hair coverage. However, despite the popularity and effectiveness of these procedures, there are still many misconceptions about exactly how they work and what they can do. Here are the facts behind some of the most pervasive myths about hair transplantation surgery.
MYTH: Hair transplant surgery gives you obviously fake-looking “doll hair.”
FALSE! Decades ago, the first hair restoration surgeries transplanted eraser-sized plugs of donor hair in straight rows on the scalp, not unlike how hair is sewn into a doll’s head, but the results were almost always aesthetically unsatisfactory. Since then, advancements in microsurgery have made it possible to implant individual follicular units, consisting of only 1 to 4 hair follicles, directly into the transplant area one at a time. This allows Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis to sort and place the hairs by density (with the finer, more delicate hairs near the front of the hairline where they appear more natural) and angle each follicular unit so that it blends seamlessly with the hair’s natural growth pattern. This careful attention to detail makes it virtually impossible to tell that a hair transplant patient has had any work done at all and yields extremely natural looking hair transplantation results.
MYTH: Hair transplant surgery leaves an unsightly scar across the back of your head.
FALSE! The follicular unit grafting (FUG) technique does require that a section of skin and follicles from the back or side of the patient’s scalp be surgically removed for dissection and, as with any surgical procedure, this will leave a scar behind. However, we use advanced dissection techniques that produce a larger number of viable grafts from a more narrow section of scalp, which means that a less pronounced surgical scar is left behind. Moreover, our surgeons use a highly specialized type of closure that allows the hairs to grow through the scar line, making the resulting scar line virtually undetectable. Finally, for those who prefer to wear their hair extremely short and cannot tolerate even the faintest linear scar, follicular unit extraction (FUE) techniques use the NeoGraft® device to remove follicular units one by one, leaving only a scattering of extremely small circular scars that are easily covered by the remaining hair.
MYTH: Once you have a hair transplant no further maintenance is required.
FALSE! Hair follicles used in transplantation are taken from areas of the scalp that are not genetically susceptible to pattern baldness, so they will not shrink in size and stop producing viable hair the way that follicles in other areas do. However, hair loss is a progressive process and hair transplantation will not prevent further hair loss from occurring in the other, non-transplanted follicles. Once hair loss has begun, a comprehensive maintenance plan that may include topical or oral prescription medication like minoxidil or finasteride or advanced technology like red light laser therapy is necessary. Failure to follow those recommendations diligently will result in the loss of even more hair, not from the transplanted follicles but from the old follicles that were already there, making it seem as though no progress was made at all.
Each case of hair loss is different, and requires a solution customized to the individual patient’s needs, however understanding the facts is the best way to start finding the solution that is best for you. Our hair loss specialists can work with you to help you get exactly the kind of help that you need, so if you have questions about your own personal hair loss or would like to learn more about any of the advanced hair loss treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration or The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss and schedule an appointment for a consultation. Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.