Hair Transplant Blog - The Knudsen Clinic: Viewing Surgical Hair Restoration Articles
If you’re one of the many who see hair loss or thinning every time you look in the mirror, you may feel powerless. Most hair loss is caused by genetic factors, hormones or amedical condition. In some cases,the cause is unknown.
Hair transplant surgery restores healthy hair to the upper scalp, says hair loss specialist Dr Russell Knudsen.
Read more about Treating Mens Hair Loss
Strip harvesting’s rationale is to harvest all the donor hair is the area selected. If we choose hairs from the safest donor area, then we can be more confident that the hair transplant surgery results will last. This makes it a proficient harvest of the safest area.
Now consider FUE’s (follicular unit extraction) harvesting rationale, where the technique only uses partial removal of hair from the donor area. Only 25-35% of the available hairs are harvested, as over-harvesting leads to a variation in the density of the donor area compared to the rest of the hair. In extensively balding areas this becomes a concern but is unlikely to be a problem in small cases.
How do we deal with this potential issue? In my opinion, considerably bald, young patients should be urged to sustain long-term medication to limit future possible hair loss.
I do not believe that choice of strip harvesting or FUE changes any contra-indications to transplantation, but it may impact relative contra-indications to surgery. Consider a young man, developing extensive balding, who also has thinning from the nape of the neck. The restriction of existing donor area will reduce the number of ‘safe’ donor grafts that could be extracted by FUE whereas; a greater number of grafts could be taken from the safe donor area by strip harvesting (FUT). In this instance, more grafts could be achieved by strip harvesting than FUE.
I just recently came back from the Asian Association of Hair Restoration Surgery Annual Meeting in Seoul – Korea. The meeting was well attended with 250 surgeons there to find out the most up to date information concerning hair loss treatments.
Of particular interest to me were the talks referencing the influence of the recipient site on the growth rate of the transplanted hair. Original research was performed in Korea more than 10 years ago and showed the surprising result that, contrary to our initial belief, the body site where the transplanted hair is placed influences and changes the future growth rate of the hair.
The relevance of this result is that hairs in different areas of the body grow at different rates. When using scalp hair to reconstruct eyebrows the transplanted hairs initially grow at the scalp hair rate (three times faster than the eyebrow rate of growth). This means that the new transplanted eyebrow hairs need to be trimmed regularly because they grow much longer and quicker.
Over time the surrounding eyebrow skin influences the transplanted hairs and they slow down a lot to more match the growth of normal eyebrow hairs. More interestingly, if the transplanted hairs are removed from the eyebrow and then re-transplanted in to the scalp again, they begin to speed up their growth rate again! Simply amazing!
Another benefit from this research is that it proves that certain body hair can successfully be used to replace lost hair in the scalp and over time these body hairs will resemble natural scalp hairs in their appearance and the hair regrowth rate. Despite these compelling results, body hairs should only be considered as a last resort when there aren’t any more usable scalp hairs available to use as donor hairs.
A recent trend for male patients is the desire to wear short hair after surgery. With this we have received many enquiries at our Sydney Hair Loss Treatment Clinic about whether this is possible. The good news is that this can be achieved because the modern donor technique overlaps the donor area skin edges while stitching allows hair to grow back through the scar. This is called the trichophytic technique and almost always creates an excellent result that is almost undetectable, even with a very short number 2 cut!
Some patients request the ability to shave their head after the hair transplant surgery. This is a bit unrealistic however no matter which technique is used for the hair transplant. All surgery creates scarring to a certain degree but the modern techniques that we use minimise the visibility in both the recipient hair area (the balding area) and the donor hair area. Our website has more information about Hair Loss Treatments and Hair Transplant Surgery. If you have any questions about this or would like to chat to us, please feel free to visit our Sydney Hair Loss Clinic or call us on 02 9363 9308.
Many patients are reading about the supposed superiority of Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) over Strip Harvesting during hair transplant surgery. Please be aware that it is very important to separate the marketing from the science. Both techniques involve cutting the of the skin. There is no such thing as a scarless technique.
Both techniques produce the same size graft. Both techniques leave scars which may, or may not, be visible to the naked eye. The difference is that FUE produces circular, small, dot scars that may also have a white appearance. Strips produce linear scars that may have hair growing through them and be very difficult to see. Short haircuts are usually possible with either technique but shaving the head will probably demonstrate scars with either technique.