Hair Loss Restoration

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Follicular Unit Transfer

Old-School Hair Transplantation Versus Newer Micro-Surgical Techniques

Unfortunately, we cannot as yet re-engineer the genetics affecting each hair follicle, but we can take advantage of our hair's genetic programming in another way. Hair follicles within the balding pattern have a different genetic program than hair follicles outside the balding pattern (for details, go to Hair Loss Explained), allowing us to use our genetically superior hair to restore balding areas.

In the late 50's, this was first attempted by punching out plugs of bald skin and replacing them with plugs of hairy skin. Unfortunately, these early unrefined hair transplantation techniques frequently produced obtrusive and unnatural results. In the mid 90's, advances in microsurgical technique allowed for the transfer of a single naturally occurring hair follicle grouping, or follicular unit. By transferring this tiny grouping, or follicular unit, we can now restore areas of significant hairloss and routinely achieve natural results.

Follicular Unit Transfer Explained

Our hair naturally grows in tiny groupings of 1, 2, and 3 hair follicles. During follicular unit transfer, the naturally occurring groupings of follicles, or follicular units, are microscopically dissected into tiny grafts. The resulting grass seed size grafts, each containing a single follicular unit, can then be transplanted into closely spaced needle size openings, within the areas of hair loss.

There are several obvious advantages to this type of procedure over older methods. The process is less invasive, the grafts can be placed closer together, and since these grafts are fashioned from naturally occurring follicle groupings, the results are superior aesthetically.

FUE

Follicular unit extraction, or FUE, is a technique where the naturally occurring follicular groupings, called follicular units, are surgically removed or "extracted" using a very tiny punch, typically around 1 mm or less in diameter. Depending on the ease of the extraction process, FUE grafts can be easily damaged and can therefore vary widely in regard to graft quality and growth rates. In contrast to FUE grafts, FUT grafts are removed by directly viewing the excised hair bearing donor area, under a dissecting microscope, then carefully removing and shaping the entire graft with it's surrounding tissue, typically reducing the risk for graft injury.

The advantage of this technique is that follicular unit grafts can be individually harvested without a surgical incision, and hence without the creation of a linear scar. FUE is especially useful for patients who prefer very short hairstyles (e.g. hair length less than a ½ inch), where a linear scar would be visible.

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DHT: The Hair Killer
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Hair Loss in Women
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