A standard follicular unit transfer operation requires the removal of donor strip of hair from the rear of the head from where the follicular unit grafts are examined under a microscope. These grafts are then preserved in saline and are then transplanted on a hair loss area on the crown area of the scalp.
Given the time consuming and exacting nature of this operation, a FUE surgeon is often able to transplant only about 400 to 600 follicular unit grafts per day. However, thanks to the FUE advances, this technique is often replaced by the follicular unit extraction (FUE). The cost per graft of FUE is approximately twice the cost of the standard operation discussed above but it is comparatively faster and minimally invasive.
Some FUE advances
In a FUE operation a small round punch is made in the donor area to directly extract 1, 2, 3 and 4 hair follicular unit grafts. The follicular units extracted using this process is ly referred to as “blunt dissection” where a punch is made to envelope the entire follicular unit separating it from the surrounding soft tissues.
Once the underlying follicular unit is separated from the surrounding tissues, it is easily extracted using a small forceps. The small holes left behind after the follicular unit extraction gradually heal over the next few days and are not detectable to the naked eye once the patient’s hair grows out. The healing time is much less than the donor strip extraction operation.
While the FUE operation has been adopted by most FUE hair replacement centers, the standard strip removal method is still the most popular FUE operation because it is more economical than the FUE.
Moreover, due to some FUE advances such as the use of trichophytic closure technique, the donor scar created by the strip removal operation is now often rendered almost undetectable to the naked eye. This advancement in the follicular unit transfer technique has made FUE operation relatively less appealing.
Follicular unit transfer research
Besides the FUE advances in the transplantation operations, a lot of research is also underway to clone the hair. If the follicular unit transfer research is successful it will be possible to make several copies of donor hair in the laboratory. The application of this technique would be used in the form of follicular unit transfer. In the traditional operations, the biggest limitation is often the donor which is not able to meet required density. However, hair multiplication promises to overcome this problem by having the amount of hair required to be grown in a laboratory from a single donor hair and then implanting it into the scalp.
Follicular unit transfer research for hair multiplication is very difficult and there are many hurdles that have to be overcome regarding the safety and cosmetic characteristics of the cloned hair. Some follicular unit transfer research has also provided breakthrough for some hair loss medication like Dutasteride.
There is no doubt that FUE procedures provide the best hair restoration possible… if the candidate has enough donor hair and is willing to bear the time and expense. Many people want to try non-surgical methods first, such as the new Spectral.F7 Astressin-B hair regrow serum recently announced. (For more information, click here.)
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