Hair restoration refers to the surgical treatment of hair loss. When performed by a highly skilled expert, hair restoration surgery can provide a life-long solution to hair loss, with results so natural that not even a hairstylist can detect a transplant took place. However, the key to results such as these is to select the ideal hair restoration procedure and physician for you.
Hair Transplant Techniques
There are multiple hair restoration procedures available today. The two main varieties are strip (or FUT) and FUE hair transplants. As its name indicates, strip hair restoration involves removing a strip of tissue from the back of the scalp. This tissue is then slivered into individual follicular units that are transplanted to thinning or balding regions of the scalp. Hair restoration via a strip procedure leaves a horizontal scar on the back of the patient’s head; it can vary in thickness from barely perceptible to several centimeters in width.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) vs. Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
The two main varieties are (or FUT) and FUE. As its name indicates, strip hair restoration involves removing a strip of tissue from the back of the scalp. This tissue is then slivered into individual follicular units that are transplanted to thinning or balding regions of the scalp. Hair restoration via a strip procedure leaves a horizontal scar on the back of the patient’s head; it can vary in thickness from barely perceptible to several centimeters in width. FUE is an updated hair restoration method that does not require the use of sutures or the excision of a large portion of the scalp; FUE also does not leave a linear scar in the donor region. With FUE, physicians remove follicular units intact and individually for transplantation. This hair restoration procedure is less invasive than strip and requires less healing and recovery time. It also allows the hair restoration surgeon to hand-select the follicular unit grafts that will produce the most optimal yield and results, rather than having to use the ones found in a single strip.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) by a Skilled Surgeon
- Precise extraction and placement
- Low to no visible scarring
- Convincing hairlines with good longevity
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) by a Skilled Surgeon
- Noticeable scar of unpredictable size
- Precise placement, but less so than FUE because of plugs
- Convincing hairline with bad longevity (plugs become evident and require repair)
Follicular Unit Extraction: The Best Option
FUE is a time-intensive procedure that requires substantial training and skill. You want to select a surgeon who makes hair restoration the primary, if not sole, the focus of his or her practice. You also want to select a hair restoration surgeon who specializes in the procedure you have elected to have. FUE is very time-consuming and labor-intensive for the physician; it is important to find a physician who truly understands and embraces this method in order to achieve the superior results that are possible with it.
Selecting the Right Surgeon
In addition to selecting the ideal hair restoration method for you, it is imperative to select a highly talented and experienced hair restoration surgeon to perform your procedure. Skill and expertise can vary quite widely among hair restoration physicians. It is very important to select your physician carefully as hair restoration results will last a lifetime.
A good first step in finding a qualified hair restoration surgeon is to consult a professional society, such as the IAHRS or ISHRS, to find a list of recommended surgeons. It is important not to limit your hair restoration search by location as it will often be necessary to travel to find the best surgeon for you. Once you have some names in mind, start searching for hair restoration and hair loss forums to see what other patients have to say about their experience with these physicians. You should also visit their websites and carefully review their results photos and/or videos. Look for clear, enlarged images that show details, such as the hairline and temple design. The best hair restoration surgeons, with the most impressive results, will have nothing to hide.
Hair restoration can be a great, confidence-building, and permanent, option for those suffering from hair loss. It is essential, however, that you take your time to research the various hair restoration methods and clinics prior to proceeding with this life-changing surgery.