Since the beginning of the start of hair transplantation as the main technique to reduce alopecia, a series of methods for this treatment have been developed, which are applied based on various criteria, in line with the needs of the patient and the judgement of the specialists. Therefore, it is advisable to take a brief look at the current hair transplant techniques.
Before the patient picks the certain treatment, it is always important that they know what the treatment involves and what other possibilities they have in order to resolve the problem of baldness. In the case that they decide on follicular unit transplantation, it is advisable that they check which techniques currently implement this treatment, with the goal of picking the option that best fits their needs.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
The growth and distribution of our scalp hair works in the following manner: each hair strand grows from a pore located on the scalp. This pore is called the hair follicle or follicular unit and can hold up approximately one to four strands of hair, depending on each person and on the scalp activity that the person has.
In this respect, follicular unit transplantation consists of extracting each follicular unit (with its group of hair strands) on a certain area of the head – called the donor site – to insert it into another area of the scalp – called the receptor site-. In order to do this, a lot of precision and patience is required, as well as the help of a microscope.
This technique has become established as the most modern technique applied by specialists in order to control alopecia. It implies a surgical intervention and the result is generally very natural and aesthetic as the process is meticulous.
The FUT technique is the general method, but, in turn, it is divided into two basic typologies, based on the needs of the patient and the criterion of the surgeon. So, we see the FUSS technique and the FUE technique.
The FUSS Technique
The abbreviation stands for the name Follicular Unit Strip Surgery. It involves extracting a slice of scalp hair from the donor site (generally in the nape area) and then separating the follicular units. This extraction implies a small wound due to the suture, but this is imperceptible unless the person has the head completely shaven.
It is calculated that between 1500 and 4000 follicular units are transplanted using this technique. After extracting and separating the follicular units, we proceed to implanting them on the receptor site. This job requires a lot of caution on the part of the surgeon and if the results are favourable, no difference should be noted between natural scalp hair and the grafted hair, considering that the incisions are very small and that they heal in a short time.
The FUE Technique
The name stands for Follicular Unit Extraction, and it requires a more complex surgery as the doctor does not make any cuts on the scalp, but directly extracts each follicular unit, with a specific tool for this task.
The advantage of this method is that the wounds are practically imperceptible after the process even if the patient shaves the area. Moreover, as it stimulates the growth of hair on areas close to the transplant, no differentiation can be made between natural scalp hair and the grafted hair.
Although it can be considered as a more efficient technique than the previous one, it proves to be a bit more costly, and it also requires various sessions as they can only implant some 2000 follicular units in each session. Similarly, the procedure is much slower and laborious.
Learn to choose
If you do not manage to choose a suitable method for yourself despite this explanation, it is advisable that you personally see two patients that have been treated with both methods. This way, you will be able to make comparisons as to which one has a more natural result and which advantages and disadvantages are experienced in each process, etc.
Additionally, the centres where these techniques are applied should show you photos of their patients. Similarly, you should enquire into how many sessions you would need depending on the degree of alopecia that you have. The ideal is to resolve the problem in just a single session. However, you should check the density of your scalp hair as you could be unsatisfied.
On the other hand, enquire into how many hair strands will be implanted in each follicular unit (take into account that there should be between one and four, in some cases). As for the distance, it should be no more than a millimetre to get a natural look. If any of these aspects fails, start searching for another surgeon.