Comparison of Hair Transplantation Methods
HRI currently offers two methods of hair transplant follicle extractions: the Strip Method and FUE Hair Transplant Surgery (Follicular Unit Extraction). When considering Medical Hair Transplantation, it is important to be well educated on the pros and cons of each of these methods before making a decision as to which is right for you.
The Strip Hair Transplantation Method
The Doctor removes a strip of tissue from the donor site that contains the hair follicles. The scalp is then brought back together and sutured (sutures remain in the donor site for 10-14 days before being removed). The tissue that has been removed is dissected down to “grafts” or follicular units containing one to four hairs each depending on the density of the donor hair. Once the strip has been dissected into many follicular units, the doctor places the receptor sites (microscopic incisions) to cover the area of concern. The individual follicular units are then “placed” (inserted) into these microscopic incisions one by one.
The process is very similar to planting a seed. If you look at it this way, the scalp is the soil and the follicle is the seed. It’s miraculous and it absolutely works. The most difficult part of the process is the patience required to get through the waiting period before the hair actually starts to grow, because it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes approximately three months for the hair to emerge because the hair goes into the Telogen phase (resting/dormancy phase) after being transplanted. Like clockwork, once the three-month hair growth cycle has been completed, the hair begins to grow at the rate of approximately 1/2” per month and will grow for the rest of your life.
Pros and Cons of the Strip Method:
- In comparison to Follicular Unit Extraction, the Strip Method requires less time to perform the actual procedure – 2 to 5 hours
- The Strip Method will yield a greater density than FUE – FUE will only yield approximately 2/3 of what the Strip Method can yield.
- The Strip Method is a less expensive procedure than the FUE/Neograft™ Method
- There will be a faint linear scar in the donor site. With today’s technology, no one, including yourself, will ever be able to see it (unless you plan to shave your head). For someone planning to wear their hair in a very short “military style” or something similar, FUE is a better option in that it leaves no linear scar.
BEWARE: There are tattoo companies (ink hair) that are discrediting Medical Hair Transplantation by magnifying old technology and botched procedures that left patients with severe scarring. Their intention is to fill in the scarring with “ink hair,” but they are also trying to scare people away from Hair Transplantation, primarily because these companies do not offer the transplant procedure at their parlors. They suggest in their advertising that all linear scars will look like the ones they show (the absolute worst photo examples they could find – always photos of old technology) in an effort to acquire your business.
That being said, in cases of old transplant technology that resulted in bad scarring, HRI does see the “tattoo hair” solution as a viable option to camouflage the scar area only if the individual is sporting a very short military hairstyle and plans to do so for the remainder of his or her life.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
There are several medical devices used to extract individual hair follicles from the back of the scalp (donor area). The one most heavily advertised as of late is the Neograft™. Neograft™ is a brand name device used to extract single follicular units from the donor area. We want to make sure that those researching different transplantation methods understand what Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is and how it differs from other widely accepted and proven hair transplant methodologies. Depending upon your type and degree of hair loss, one or more hair transplant methods may be appropriate for you. Dr. Sanders will help you and provide his recommendation on what is the best course of treatment for your particular situation.
The difference between the Strip Method and FUE is in the method and device used to extract the grafts that contain the hair follicles. The grafts are extracted one at a time using a one millimeter punch device. Technically you will still have a scar. However it is so minute (a one millimeter dot) that you can not see it with the naked eye, thus allowing the individual to wear their hair as short as they wish. Sutures (stitches) are unnecessary in this procedure, so there is no need for suture removal. Everything else – the methods by which the receptor sites are created and by which the grafts are placed – is done exactly the same way regardless of which extraction method (Strip or FUE) is being used. Both procedures are done while the patient is under a local anesthetic (you are awake), using a numbing agent to ensure that the patient experiences no discomfort during the procedure.
The Pros and Cons of the FUE Method:
- No linear scar
- No suture removal
- Less down-time – the procedure is less invasive and allows for quicker healing
- No limits to length of hairstyle due to a linear scar
- FUE procedures take longer to perform – 5 to 9 hours
- FUE produces less density – about 1/3 less density can be achieved via FUE in comparison to the Strip Method.
- FUE is more expensive
The beauty of Hair Transplantation is that (unlike a hairpiece or “ink” hair), it has a 100% guaranteed, permanent result of more of your own growing hair! Because it is a permanent procedure, you’ll want to make absolutely certain you feel comfortable with the doctor performing the procedure, knowing his/her credentials and level of experience. The rest of your life is a long time to live with bad results. HRI offers a private, one-on-one hair and scalp analysis at each of our three current locations. Click here to contact us via email or call 612-588-HAIR (4247).