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Each hair transplant method, even in the hands of a master, will offer different results. Some transplant types are less invasive, decreasing the chance of scars, offer better coverage, enable a better hairline, or is quicker to perform. All of today's hair transplant methods, however, also demand patients to actively follow post-procedure instructions for the best possible results.
Hair transplant surgery is now significantly less invasive than it was in the past. Still, there are differences between hair transplant methods. They range in invasiveness, efficacy, and coverage. Patients often can pick between a few different types of hair transplant types, though this depends on available donor hair and medical history.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) involves extracting a donor area and then subdividing it into grafts, always leaving a scar but, if done properly, next to no indication of a hair transplantation unless hair continues to recede or thin. The lateral scar's size is unpredictable, though experts' work often leaves a smaller scar, and it is always noticeable with a short enough haircut. The transplants may require additional work as they age.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), meanwhile, is the most recent hair transplant method gaining prevalence. It involves extracting one or more strands of hair individually and then transplanting the graft to the donor area. FUE variants range in their invasiveness, with some more prone to leave "moth eaten" scars than other types. Cole Isolation Technique (CIT®), Dr. Cole's namesake FUE variant, is among the least invasive options available, with nearly all patients enjoying scars so small they are undetectable.
Recovering from FUT takes a longer time than FUE, with FUT patients needing to monitor and clean their donor site for more than three months. FUE patients, meanwhile, can often return to work the next day. FUE patients may deal with light swelling, while a very small amount may deal with moderate or severe swelling after 48 to 72 hours. Typically painless, such swelling often recedes within a week.
Patients will also have to start shampooing their scalp, we recommend Dr. Cole's Hair Cycle line, as well sleep in an elevated position, forgo physical exertion, and take other measures until post-procedure instructions say otherwise.
The post-operative course will depend on adherence to the instructions given after surgery. Small scabs will form on the scalp at the graft sites. Generally speaking, these scabs disappear in four to seven days. Shampooing can be resumed 24 hours after surgery.
In the case of FUT, the suture (stitch) used in the donor area is undetectable because it is completely covered by existing hair. We arrange an appointment for removal of the suture one week after surgery. We also advise to take at least two days off work after surgery. A baseball type cap can be worn at anytime after the procedure. Patients should avoid strenuous physical activity for at least five days after surgery.
Typically, transplanted hair sheds in two to four weeks. New growth begins growing in three to four months, with length increasing approximately one and a half inch per month.