To sum it up, as a surgeon performs FUT, hair units are removed from the donor area to the regions where balding has occurred. This is because the hair on the sides and the back of the head are more resistant to balding and thus, is permanent. Such a procedure is performed by moving naturally-occurring groups of anywhere from one to four strands of hair. Once anesthesia has been applied to the patient’s scalp, the physician extracts a strip of tissue out of the permanent zone (donor area). Using microscopic dissection methods, each donor strip is parsed into numerous single follicular units. At the same time the strip is removed and dissected, the surgeon places tiny holes in the scalp (recipient sites) where the grafts are to be transplanted.
Grafts are arranged and placed according to the desired aesthetic qualities of a hair transplant. Hence, this arrangement is made according to what end results the patient wants. This also depends on how the patient lost hair prior to the procedure and how he may lose hair after. In fact, when follicular units are transplanted, they imitate the way hair grows naturally. Thus, the final results, after the expert surgeon is through, will look like the original hair. What a difference the before and after pictures of a patient will show!
Hair was once conceived to grow in single strands. Years later, it was proven that hairs grow in tiny groups of one to four each, hence termed as “follicular units.” Ironically, even though doctors became aware of the existence of these groups, it didn’t occur to them that the units should be used in hair transplants.
When it comes to Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation, we must emphasize the need for stereo-microscopic dissection. This is the process when the follicular units are extracted from the donor strip. It is extremely critical that they don’t get broken or damaged. Likewise, each entire follicular movement must be kept intact in order to optimize its growth. When the follicular units are intact, the surgeon is guaranteed that the most fullness of hair restoration will be achieved since the follicular units have the full, natural complement of one to four strands of hair.
The Recipient Areas
Recipient sites are defined as microscopic slits or holes that the surgeon makes in the scalp of the patient. These sites are where follicular unit grafts are positioned during the transplanting process. It is then the hair from the follicular unit is placed exactly as intended to ensure natural growth. Placing them at just the right angle and direction is necessary for optimal growth.
Hair bearing skin is removed from the donor area (the back and sides of the head). This is done as surgery is in process. In order for the hair transplantation to be successful, the hair cannot be extracted from an area that is balding. Most of all, the hair must be free of the effects of DHT.
Next, the scar made due to the donor incision must be minimized. This is critical to ensure the transplantation of hair is successful. One who has fine donor scars will be able to keep his or her hair somewhat short after the restoration process if he or she so chooses. This also increases the amount of hair that can be extracted in future transplant procedures.
Total Number of Grafts
How many follicular unit grafts are to be transplanted? Determining this is extremely crucial when planning and designing a hair transplant to ensure the best possible aesthetic results. The graft numbers page provides regular guidelines for the amount of the total grafts required for the patient’s first hair transplant procedure and for upcoming sessions- that is if more than one is recommended.