FUT (Follicular Unit Transfer) Hair Transplantation is a minimally-invasive, in-office surgical procedure designed to restore natural-looking hair growth. Healthy hair follicles that support permanent hair growth are harvested from a donor site. This site is usually the posterior scalp where hair is especially dense and resistant to shedding. These follicles are then transplanted, or grafted, to the skin in the recipient site. The recipient site is typically in front and/or on top of the head where male/female pattern baldness has caused a receding hairline and/or bald spot.
As opposed to FUE Hair Transplantation, during this procedure, a small strip of tissue from the back of the scalp is removed. Since hair naturally grows in groupings of 1 – 4 hairs, these “follicle units” in their natural groupings are individually extracted and then transplanted to the recipient area. It is important to note that FUT is the preferred transplantation method in cases of very advanced hair loss because it allows the physician to fully utilize the scalp area to transplant the largest number of graphs in a single session. Nevertheless, the FUT strip extraction method does require stitches at the extraction site. As a result, this method typically results in a very narrow linear scar in the back of the head. Thanks to today’s closure techniques, the scar may be so thin it is almost undetectable. Furthermore, it can be concealed by all but the shortest haircuts. However, the donor area will require more time to fully heal than in the case of FUE surgery.
After the transplantation area has healed and the follicles have shed their first growth, the hair will grow steadily and permanently exactly as it would have were it in its original location.
This is an in-office procedure that does not require a hospital operating theater or general anesthesia. Your physician will locally anesthetize only the skin in your donor and recipient areas. He or she will then use a scalpel to remove a small strip of tissue from the back of the scalp and then individually extract the hairs in their natural groupings and position them identically in the recipient area. It is worth emphasizing that your physician will arrange the transplanted hair to replicate your hairs’ original angle, direction, and coverage. Each graft is only deep enough to ensure it contains living hair follicles. Only skin, not underlying tissue, is involved at both the donor and recipient sites. Grafts are spaced to allow adequate blood supply to each graft during the healing period. Patients can choose to increase their hair density by filling these spaces with additional grafts in a few weeks or months.
Your physician will close your donor area with sutures and apply bandages to protect the area overnight. If necessary, your physician will also bandage the recipient area, but this is usually unnecessary. You’ll receive any required medications – painkillers, antibiotics – after your procedure. You’ll also receive written after-care instructions for your newly transplanted hair as well as the donor area. These instructions must be followed exactly to ensure speedy healing and strong, healthy regrowth. To give the donor site the best chance to heal and leave very minimal scarring, your physician will remove the sutures in approximately 14 days.
People of all races, ethnicities, and genders are subject to male/female pattern baldness. Most men and many women are good candidates for the FUT technique of hair transplantation. For select medical reasons, a relatively small number of people are not suitable candidates.
Those who do not have an adequate density of growth or quality of hair in the donor area should not undergo this procedure. Additional conditions that render candidates ineligible include:
FUT Hair Transplantation causes only a minimal disruption of your normal life. Patients can return to work in 1-2 days. At the recipient site, small red scars and thin scabs will form at the bottom of the transplanted follicles. These will last 10-15 days. The redness will fade after the third day. The hair at the donor site will grow long enough to cover the site of extraction by day 10, and the extraction site will appear 100% normal by day 15. The transplantation procedure does not require any long-term post-operative care.
At the donor site, sutures are used to close the wound. Patients may experience some post-surgery pain and itching. An antibiotic and medication for pain will be prescribed as necessary to minimize discomfort and prevent infection. The sutures will then be removed in approximately 14 days, leaving a very thin scar that will fade over time and be covered by all but the shortest haircut.
In most cases, age makes no difference as long as the patient is in good health and has adequate donor hair. Note: Donor’s hair is taken from the back of the head where hair is genetically programmed to grow for a lifetime, which is why age should make no difference.
The risk of complications is minimal as long as long as your physician is a qualified surgeon who specializes in hair transplantation and has years of experience performing this surgery successfully to achieve excellent results. Furthermore, this surgery involves only the body’s outermost layers and is far less invasive than other surgeries.
The duration of the operation depends on the patient’s specific needs and the number of hair follicles to be transplanted. While the transplantation of 1000 follicles may be completed in 2 – 3 hours, the operation may take 6 – 7 hours for 4000-4500 follicles.
The redness and thin scabs which appear immediately after hair transplantation disappear within the first 20 days. The transplanted hair will start to fall out at approximately the sixth-week post-procedure and continue to shed for the next couple of weeks. This is a normal and temporary situation attributable to hair’s natural cycle of growth and dormancy. The transplanted hair will begin to appear and grow normally within the first 3-4 months following surgery. The hair will continue to grow at a normal growth rate, and the final results will be visible after 1 year.
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