HAIR TRANSPLANT SURGERY. (AP) — Almost half of all men will suffer some level of alopecia by the time they are 50.
In the world of hair transplantation, the most popular and frequently performed type of surgery is the Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE procedure.
The FUE has many advantages over older methods such as the FUT. When comparing the FUE vs. FUT, it becomes clear why the FUT is no longer a commonly done hair transplant method.
The FUT was developed in the early 2000s as an improvement over older methods that left men looking as though they had ‘doll’s hair’ implanted. In fact, the FUT was, at the time, a big improvement in the overall appearance of the hair after grafting.
The biggest problem with the FUT, though, is that a large strip of skin, containing the hair follicles, is cut from the back of the head. The back of the head is chosen because it is where the hair is most resistant to the effects of the hormone DHT; it is this hormone that causes the miniaturization and hair loss evident in androgenetic alopecia.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss for men, and causes hairs to be lost in a typical fashion called male pattern balding. The hair first starts receding at the hairline and on the temples, and a bald spot often develops on the crown of the head.
The problem with excising a large area, as is the case with the FUT, is that a visible scar remains; this is a problem for people wanting to have short hair.
The FUE, when compared with the FUT, leaves only minimal scarring. This is because the FUE involves making several tiny incisions and separately removing follicular units from the scalp. Each follicular unit contains up to about 4 hair follicles.
Another drawback of the old FUT hair transplant procedure is that there is more pain involved because of the large incision that is made during extraction.
A disadvantage of the FUE technique is that it is a more time-consuming and slower process since the follicle units are individually extracted from the donor part of the scalp. This needs to be done slowly and carefully so as not to transect and damage the follicles in the process.
The FUE is less painful and outcomes are better than the older method; the tiny incisions also means that scars are barely noticeable, which is a major advantage.
It should also be realized that androgenetic alopecia is not the only cause of hair loss and that women also can suffer from types of alopecia. In fact, the FUE often works well for both men and women, regardless of the reason they are suffering from alopecia.
There are modifications of the FUE such as the Sapphire FUE, which have been developed. This is the same as a conventional FUE but uses a blade made of sapphire instead, and the blade has a slightly different shape.
The DHI is yet another method of hair transplantation that uses a special instrument called a Choi pen. Currently, this method is not available everywhere and it requires a very high level of skill. In the future the DHI may replace the FUE, and there are likely to be advances in newer techniques involving hair cloning, for instance.
At the moment, though, one should choose the tried-and-true FUE method of hair transplantation.
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