Hair restoration has come a long way in the past few decades, abandoning the “pluggy” or “dolls’ hair” look that older, less refined techniques produced. Over half of both men and women will experience some degree of noticeable hair loss in their lifetime, most of whom experience the onset as early as their 20s.
Paramount to success in management of male and female hair loss are both medical and surgical therapies. Medical therapy often includes topical minoxidil (Rogaine), finasteride (Propecia), and laser light therapy among other medications that you may be a candidate for as well. Medical therapy aims to slow the inevitable loss of hair but can also lead to some regrowth and thickening of your existing hair.
Hair transplant does not create new hairs; as of yet, this is impossible. Instead, hair transplantation takes the patient’s existing hair from an area where it is ample in supply and unlikely to be programmed to fall out, and moves (or transplants) it to an area of bald or thinning scalp where coverage is desired.
There are two types of hair transplant that are being performed today and both can yield excellent results in the correctly chosen patient. The two techniques are differentiated by how the donor hair is harvested. They both involve similar methods for creation of recipient sites (where the new hair will go) and placement of the grafts in these sites. One technique is called strip harvest (also known as Follicular Unit Transfer—FUT) and involves removal of a strip of hair bearing skin from the lower back part of the scalp and dividing the strip into groups of 1,2, 3, or 4 hairs under a microscope. Hairs like to grow in such groups and respecting their naturally occurring relationships to one another when harvesting them makes them look much more natural when they are implanted and also helps their survival.
The second technique for collecting hair grafts is called follicular unit extraction (FUE, for short). Youmay have heard of it from companies like NeoGraft, which advertise heavily, often in the airplane magazines. FUE involves using small round punches around one millimeter in diameter to remove the hair grafts individually, respecting the 1,2,3, and 4 hair group relationships. This approach avoids making a linear incision and hence scar on the scalp, in favor of making hundreds of very small round shaped incisions which may be better tolerated in a patient who likes to wear his or her hair short. NeoGraft, SmartGraft, and other machines are tools that may be used to perform FUE.
The choice of method for harvesting your hair grafts for transplant depends on many individual factors as well as your preference. Dr. Perro performs both FUT and FUE, often performing them together as a hybrid procedure to reap the benefits of each for individual patients. Also important is design of a hairline and correct placement of the grafts to cover bald or thinning areas of concern. You should have a natural appearing hairline and one that is sustainable over time as you continue to age and in case your hair loss continues.
Dr. Perro is passionate about hair restoration and has received hands on training from some of the most respected leaders in the field, including Dr. Sam Lam, Dr. Nicole Rogers, and Dr. Jeffrey Epstein. He looks forward to meeting you and discussing your individual hair loss needs at your consultation.
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* Stock images are models. Case photos are actual patients of Lopez Plastic Surgery. Individual results may vary.