hair transplant

What is Hair Transplant?

In male pattern baldness, hairs that originate in the donor area at the back of the scalp is not subject to the effects of DHT. The genetic susceptibility of DHT resides in the hair follicle, so a follicle that is moved from the donor area to a balding area will continue to be resistant to the effects of DHT. In other words, the transplanted hair can last a lifetime, although it can naturally thin with advanced age.

Male Pattern Baldness

Modern day hair transplant techniques since the mid-1990s involve transplanting naturally occurring individual “follicular units” in the scalp, so the results of the hair transplant can look natural and almost undetectable. Currently follicular unit transplant (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) employ this concept and differ mainly in the method of follicular unit harvesting and both techniques have its advantages and disadvantages.

follicular units

Naturally occurring "follicular units" are transplanted to give natural looking results

Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) or Strip Harvesting

In FUT, a scalpel is used to remove a strip of hair-bearing tissue from the donor region from which individual follicular units are then dissected from the tissue and then transplanted to the area of hair loss. The incision wound is then closed with either staples or sutures. A long linear scar results, which will be visible with short-cropped hair or a shaved head.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is an alternative, less-invasive method whereby single follicular units are extracted via multiple tiny skin punches measuring ≤ 1mm in diameter. These follicular units are then transplanted into the area of hair loss. The tiny incisions left behind after surgery do not require stitches, and recovery time is faster than FUT. The wounds No long linear scar is produced so enables hair being worn short. Depending on the hair density at the donor site and the amount of hair harvested, there can be some thinning of hair at the donor region.

FUE is a repetitive and labor-intensive process that requires great precision to minimize damage to follicular units during harvesting. Such challenges of manual FUE have led to automated devices to increase speed and precision of follicular unit harvesting, and as a logical advancement – the development of a physician-guided robotic system for FUE Hair Transplant – the [ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant]

Comparing FUE and FUT (Strip Harvesting)
FUE FUT (Strip Harvesting)
• Minimally Invasive • Invasive
• Shorter recovery time • Longer recovery time
• Less potential complications • More potential complications
• No linear scar at the back of the head• Minimal scarring in the form of scattered small round dots • Linear scar at the back of the head
• Hair can be worn short with no visible surgical linear scar • Hair must be worn at a length to cover surgical linear scar
• Can have thinning of donor site • No thinning of donor site
• An alternative to FUT for those whose scalp is too tight for strip excision • Less suitable for those with a tight scalp or those prone to scarring
• Requires shaving of the entire donor area for large hair transplant sessions • Only the area around the donor strip needs to be shaved
• Limited single session due to the extraction process being slower than strip harvesting, large procedures may need to be performed over two days • More grafts can be extracted in a single session
• More expensive • Less expensive

Who is a good candidate for Hair Transplant?

Hair transplant can significantly improve the appearance of those who are suffering from hair loss, but one should have realistic expectations and understand that everyone is limited by a finite amount of donor hair that can be moved to the thinning areas of the scalp.

It is important to understand that hair transplant is not a preventive measure, but a treatment for when hair loss is sufficient enough to affect the way you currently look. [Medical therapy for male pattern baldness] should first be considered to prevent the progression of genetic hair loss. What can be achieved for you during hair transplant is determined by a combination of the following factors:

  • Current extent of hair loss.
  • Your age and your age of when hair loss began.
  • Likelihood and how extensive your hair loss may progress in the future.
  • Your donor hair supply, which is a finite amount from which efficient usage of hair follicles should be planned for to satisfy current and future needs.

Good candidates with male pattern baldness for hair transplant are:

  • Individuals in good health with moderate hair loss (eg. Norwood class 3 or above) and who’s hair loss has stabilized.
  • Individuals with sufficient donor hair on the back of the scalp – those with more donor hair and greater density can expect fuller results.
  • Individuals with realistic expectations and understand that their hair loss may continue to progress even if they are taking prescription medication to stop the progression.