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FUE vs. Strip Method
There are several methods used in doing hair transplants. The “strip” method or FUT (follicular unit transplantation) is the most commonly performed method. The FUE (follicular unit extraction) method, a minimally invasive method of hair transplantation introduced in the late ninety’s and the automated FUE method, the newest most advanced method of hair transplantation available today.
From a surgical standpoint, the “strip” method or FUT is a surgically invasive procedure. With the “strip” method the hair at the back of scalp is cut short. That section of scalp is surgically excised. The wound created by the incision is then stitched up or stapled together. Next, the excised portion of the scalp is divided up and placed under several microscopes where technicians using sharp blades separate grafts into units of one to four hairs. While the technicians are separating the grafts, the physician creates the hairline and recipient sites using a needle or a specific blade. Once the recipient sites are created, the grafts are then placed into the sites using forceps. The grafts with a single hair are placed in the front, to give a natural hairline. The rest are placed behind to give the recipient area density.
From a surgical standpoint, an FUE hair transplant is a very safe, minimally invasive, relatively minor procedure. With the FUE method there is no need to excise a piece of the scalp because the follicles are removed directly from the donor area using a tiny 1 mm punch (punch sizes vary) and forceps. The punch is manually rotated to make a small circular incision in the skin around the follicular unit (hair follicles), which is then removed directly from the scalp using forceps. After the appropriate number of units has been removed, technicians separate the grafts into units of one to four hairs and these grafts are implanted much the same way as the “strip” method. With the FUE method there is little bleeding and fewer complications than with the “strip” method. The procedure is performed with local anesthetic and no intravenous or intra-muscular sedation is required.
The benefits of the FUE method to the patient are that there is minimal discomfort, no scalpel incision, no sutures, no linear scar, little to no risk of complications, quick recovery time, fewer activity limitations and a more natural looking result than traditional strip methods (patients can wear their hair short if they choose too without an unsightly scar).
An FUE hair transplant is the most beneficial for the patient; however the majority of hair restoration doctors do not offer the FUE procedure because there are some nuisances associated with an FUE hair transplant. First, doing FUE manually is very tedious and time consuming, making the procedure too costly for most patients. Next, it is difficult to learn the FUE procedure and unless the doctor becomes very skilled there is a risk for a high transection (damage) rate of the follicles. Finally, forceps are used in a manual FUE to extract and implant the follicles which can easily traumatize the follicles as well. As a result most doctors are not willing to spend the time to learn this procedure and they continue to do the easier, more invasive, faster “strip” method.
The newest, most advanced method of hair transplantation is called the NeoGraft Automated FUE and Implantation System. Now, with the NeoGraft Hair Transplant medical device, the difficulties associated with a manual FUE procedure have been eliminated. An FUE hair transplant with NeoGraft can be done in the same amount of time as a traditional “strip” hair transplant, reducing the cost of a long, manual FUE transplant. In addition, to reducing the time required for the hair transplant, NeoGraft uses pneumatic pressure to extract the follicles and precisely implant them as well. This eliminates the need for touching the follicles with forceps during harvesting leaving them in a more robust state.
Finally, with the NeoGraft technology the patient receives the benefits of the FUE procedure and the physician benefits from the advancements of the technique made easier and with more efficient, repeatable results.
With NeoGraft, most patients can be candidates for an FUE hair transplant. Given the choice most hair restoration patients would prefer the less minimally invasive procedure over having the more invasive “strip” surgery.
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“Wow! That is how I would have to describe the NeoGraft procedure that I had done.”