12/05/07 - Atlanta, GA - The International Hair Transplant Institute (IHTI) located in northern Atlanta has seen an overwhelming demand in 2007 for the Follicular Isolation Technique (FIT) pioneered and perfected by The Cole Group, a team of cosmetic surgeons and surgical techs led by Dr. John Cole. Up until recent years, the standard for surgical hair restoration has been the "strip surgery" where a strip of scalp is cut out and dissected under a microscope and then follicular units are placed in the balding areas. However, with the advent of new surgical tools and processes that allow the cosmetic surgeon to remove follicular units individually from the scalp, The Cole Group has taken the art and science of hair restoration to yet another level.
FIT has been performed by The Cole Group for years now in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007, several patient follow ups were compiled and reviewed and the results were captured in high resolution photos. FIT has achieved impressive results even in the most severe repair cases where scar tissue and donor supply was minimal. Furthermore, the use of minimally invasive techniques now allows the cosmetic surgeon to extract follicles from all over the body. In fact, patients who were once considered poor candidates for hair transplant due to depleted donor supply can now have body hair transplants (BHT) grafted onto their scalp. Early studies indicate that once a patient undergoes a BHT, the body hair grafts will over time take on some characteristics of scalp hair, like increased length. The theory behind this finding is that there seems to be a mechanism of recipient site (scalp) cell signaling to the germ cells of the newly transplanted body hair. While scalp-to-scalp hair transplants are ideal, body-to-scalp hair transplants now offer a possible solution to even the most challenging hair restoration cases.
"The Cole Group has seen an interesting shift in demand from the patients who are contacting us for hair loss solutions," remarks Dr. Cole during a recent interview. "Now that the photos are out there and the hair loss community has had time to review, analyze, and critique our results, patients are realizing that they don't need to have an invasive procedure like a strip surgery to achieve amazing results. We consistently use FIT to do repair work on patients who have unsightly scars from prior hair transplants, especially where the strip scar has stretched over time. Indeed, many patients now demand FIT simply because it is currently the best minimally invasive procedure for hair restoration."
But not all follicular unit extraction (FUE) techniques are the same. Many hair restoration practices throughout the world are trying to establish their own version of FUE as consumer demand for these procedures increases, often at the expense of the patient. "The problem with a hair restoration practice that doesn't do FUE routinely is that the results are very inconsistent, " says Dr. Cole. "If a patient goes to a group that isn't familiar with the delicate nature of extracting the hair follicles from living tissues, then the grafts themselves will be poor and the result will be even worse. And the only way a surgeon can become skilled at this type of extracting is to do it over and over and over until his hands literally became conditioned to work on such a microscopic level. Obviously this type of procedure is time intensive for the doctor and even good strip surgeons won't be able to master FIT, but its the right thing to do for the patient and it is the natural evolution of the industry."