PUNCH GRAFTS, SCALP REDUCTIONS, SCALP EXTENSION…
In the past, as the names of these earlier procedures indicate, undergoing a hair transplant was a painfully unpleasant process. Men with receding hairlines and balding scalps often resorted to the unnatural-looking, and often ridiculed, toupee to avoid the pain, slow healing, and scarring of a transplant.
Because of this, the hair transplant business was staggering in the late twentieth century. Surgeons knew that hair restoration techniques needed to evolve.
Fast forward into the beginning of the twenty-first century…
Thousands of bad comb-overs and strip incision scars later, the new technique that hair restoration surgeons were waiting for was finally perfected. The hair transplant community eventually embraced follicular unit extraction (FUE). Surgeons praised the method and potential patients were curious about it.
But what exactly is follicular unit extraction? And is it more effective and beneficial than older methods of hair transplantation?
Follicular unit extraction involves the removal of small groups of hair follicles (usually between one and four) from the donor site and their reinsertion into the receptor site. These small grafts allow for equal distribution of hair in the balding area of the scalp and produce more natural-looking results. In fact, once the receptor site has completely healed, it is virtually impossible to detect that any sort of hair transplant procedure has taken place. This works in a similar way to laser hair removal, so I am told. You can learn more about that at https://houstonacnespecialists.com/laser-hair-removal/.
The differences between FUE and the older methods of transplantation are noteworthy.
Firstly, the FUE procedure is quicker and less painful than any other hair restoration technique. FUE is performed with a punch-like scalpel that cuts the skin around the follicle. This facilitates the removal of about one to four follicles from the donor area at the same time. Also, the advanced method of follicular perforation™ allows the surgeon to make a shallow punch on the surrounding tissue, ensuring that the graft be released from the tissue with minimum traction and with better ease. The extracted follicles (called grafts) are then inserted into small slits that have been cut in the recipient area. These slits do not need suturing, heal quickly, and are completely undetectable once the new hair begins to grow in about seven to ten days.
Secondly, FUE is beneficial because the recovery process is much faster and less painful. In most patients, the grafts become fully secure in about eight days after surgery and the surgical wound in the donor area usually heals within one to two weeks. Some discomfort may be present, but usually analgesics like Tylenol or codeine will help. Generally, normal activity may be resumed one to two weeks after the procedure. In older methods of hair restoration, bleeding, suturing, and bandaging were parts of the long and painful recovery process.
Thirdly, 100% of hair loss sufferers are candidates for FUE. In the past, hair restoration was not as widely available to every hair loss sufferer as it is today. There were various criteria that each candidate had to meet to be eligible for a hair transplant. Such criteria included the patient’s age, color and texture of hair, skin complexion, amount of donor hair available, and future hair loss projections. However, because the methods involved with follicular unit extraction are so advanced, such criteria are not much of a concern. For example, the amount of donor hair on the head is not an issue when determining candidacy because the procedure allows for the extraction of hair from other parts of the body.
Fourthly, the incidence of complication during the FUE procedure is lower than with other transplantation methods. In a study, published by Dr. Masumi Inaba, of over 150 patients treated with FUE, researchers found that patients suffered only from mild discomfort from sitting still for several hours at a time. Furthermore, only four out of the 150 patients experienced donor area shock, while two more patients experienced a more limited variety of patchy circular alopecia (hair loss). Nevertheless, all patients made full recoveries within five weeks.
Lastly, FUE patients recover without visible scars in the donor or recipient area. Unlike previous methods, like strip incision, where an unattractive linear scar was exposed in the donor area, FUE does not leave ugly, unbearable scars on the head. Instead, the tiny slits that are cut in the recipient area are conveniently hidden by new hair. The result of FUE in all patients is that of a seamless, natural, healthy-looking head of hair.
For all those who are suffering from hair loss and are searching for the best method of restoring their youth, follicular unit extraction should be considered. It is a hair restoration method that discards the use of the painful linear donor incision and regards 100% of hair loss patients as proper candidates for the procedure. It is widely predicted that within the coming years, follicular unit extraction will make further advancements and become the method of choice for every hair restoration surgeon and patient.
INNOVATIONS IN FUE
Dr.Jones devised his own FUE technique known as Follicular unit micrografting and provides training to a lot of other physicians based at several locations across the globe in his transplant center in Toronto. Dr.Jones’ FUE technique is a very natural way for hair transplant, with the hairs transplanted one after another very meticulously with due consideration to the precise placement and direction of each hair. Dr.Jones employs micro technologies that utilize small numbered hair follicle units and continuously refines the techniques used so even trained professionals cannot distinguish the hairs implanted vs those that naturally exist.
One of the latest innovations in Hair transplantation that attracted a lot of attention is DHT. DHT stands for Direct Hair Transplantation which is a modification of the routine FUE Techniques. The principle of this innovative procedure is based upon the transit time reduction of the harvested graft used in the procedure. In the procedure, the graft was implanted as soon as it was harvested to avoid the effects of infection, dessication, mechanical destruction as well as the increasing temperature of the grafts. This was the significant difference in the procedure compared to the conventional FUE.
Yet another technology that is changing the face of FUE is the ARTAS hair transplant robotic technology. ARTAS is the first and foremost FDA approved technology that contains the provision for physican controlled and robotic assisted FUE. Digital mapping techniques, special cameras and sophisticated algorithms are the salient features of this technology that contributed to its acceptability.
So what is in store for the future of hair transplantation?
Hair cloning is a field that has attracted plenty of research and a very reliable means of hair transplantation that would provide excellent results. But the research into hair cloning is still in its infancy stages, which means there is lot more to be accomplished and studied before it becomes a popular and approved method of hair transplantation.
ARTAS HAIR TRANSPLANTS VS. DR. JONES
HOW ARTAS WORKS: THE MECHANICS
Cameras, colour identification sensors, and 3-D imaging software guide the robotic arm of ARTAS in selecting which follicles to score. To carry out the rest of the FUE process, ARTAS employs a needle punch mechanism, disposable dermal punches, disposable cartridges, a video imaging system and a user interface.
The patient is positioned for the robot to punch out the grafts on a donor area of roughly 5 to 10 cm at a time. During this time, the patient must remain absolutely still, and the head is restrained by straps. After this, the surgeon removes each graft by hand with a pair of forceps. The patient is then repositioned for ARTAS to work on a new section of donor hair. This process continues until the extraction portion of surgery is complete. The implantation of grafts to the bald area is done using a traditional transplant approach.
Pros and Cons of ARTAS
Pros of ARTAS
- ARTAS tries to replicate the touch of a human expert to the procedure.
- The speed of the extraction process is significantly improved with the procedure.
- The procedure is a blessing for providers who do not have a lot of experience doing the FUE procedure manually.
Cons of ARTAS in comparison with Dr. Jones’ FUE Technique
- Transection rate is higher. ARTAS charges for all the grafts, including those used and destroyed during the procedure, whereas Dr. Jones only plants and charges for viable grafts.
- Dr. Jones extracts more grafts per hour, compared to the robot.
- The robot has limitations in the perfect selection of grafts as compared to Dr. Jones, who can pick and choose varying size grafts, depending on the patient’s needs.
- The ARTAS system requires the patient to shave his or her head prior to the procedure, while Dr. Jones can perform the FUE Procedure without any need to shave the head.
NEOGRAFT VS DR. JONES TECHNIQUE
Neograft is a European developed Implantation Hair Transplant System used for follicular unit extraction (FUE). This system is the first and only Class One FDA Listed automated medical device for hair restoration. The company has employed technicians to perform every aspect of a hair transplant procedure, allowing physicians with no previous hair transplant experience to enter the hair restoration market.
Advantages of Neograft over Dr. Jones’s FUE technique- A doctor just starting to do hair restoration doesn’t have photos or staff trained to perform this procedure. An easy way to immediately start is to purchase a Neograft machine, which provides him with staff, marketing and before and after photos, which enables him to immediately enter the marketplace providing hair transplant surgeries.
Advantages of Dr. Jones’s technique- Dr. Jones has over 10 years experience performing FUE. The technicians performing FUE hired by Neograft may have 3 months or at most a couple of years experience doing the procedure. Your hair is a limited resource, so why risk destroying it with inexperienced technicians performing your procedure. Dr Jones’s transection rates (destroyed grafts) are 2 to 3% . An inexperienced technician has transection rates of 10 or 12%, which means that valuable hair will be destroyed at clinics that offer Neograft.