As hair transplant surgery has evolved, permanent hair transplant methods have yielded progressively better results. The key has been smaller transplant units that allow more individualized results. The latest permanent hair transplant methods, including frontal hair grafts and dense hair grafts, enable surgeons to restore the unique, natural hair pattern of each patient they treat. Below you will find further information on these hair transplant methods and how follicular unit hair grafts are used in the direct hair transplantation procedure.
Follicular Unit Hair Grafts (Micrografts)
Advances in the size and placement of hair grafts are what make modern hair transplants so natural looking. This is especially important for frontal hair transplants, to avoid the unnatural look of an abrupt change from bare skin to dense hair. The hair transplant use a technique known as follicular unit hair transplantation. Hair usually grows in groups of from one to four hairs, known as follicular units. The micrografts used by surgeons mimic this natural pattern and are known as follicular unit hair grafts. Once hair transplant surgery has been completed and the scalp has recovered, follicular unit hair grafts will grow out normally.
Follicular Unit Extraction
Specially trained lab technicians dissect the tissue of a harvested donor strip under the microscope and separate follicular unit hair grafts for transplantation. This is known as follicular unit extraction. Each follicular unit hair graft that results consists of a thin sliver of scalp tissue, which contains miniscule blood vessels and the hair follicle, with about a millimeter of hair protruding from the original skin surface.
Transplantation of Micrografts
Once the follicular unit hair grafts are prepared, the surgeon must create the incisions that will be used for inserting the grafts into the scalp to ensure a permanent solution to hair loss.
There are a number of hair transplant methods that can be used for this step, from making individual incisions to using devices that make multiple incisions at once. The angle of each incision is important, as it affects the direction the hair will grow. The surgeon also needs to recreate the hairline in a natural fashion. Single hair grafts are often used up front to give the hairline a softer look, and the larger grafts are used to add thickness further back. This ensures that natural and dense frontal hair is achieved once these hair transplants are placed.
Below are descriptions of hair transplant methods that can be used to achieve an even head of hair.
Mini-micrografting is the practice of splitting follicular unit hair grafts into even smaller grafts of just one or two hairs. This allows for more subtle definition on the edges of the recipient areas being treated, especially for frontal hair graft transplants.
Punch grafts were popular during the 80s as a cutting-edge permanent hair transplant method, though the popularity of punch grafts has waned as other advancements in the field have been made. Punch grafts used circular grafts that were taken from a donor area and directly transplanted into an area of a patient’s bald scalp. The appearance of the grafts was very noticeable following the procedure, though they usually became less noticeable as new hair grew in.
In some parts of the recipient area, particularly those well away from the edges, the use of dense hair graft transplants is appropriate. For these areas, your surgeon may use slit grafts and strip grafts. Slit grafts are those which are implanted into small slits cut into the scalp and contain from four to ten hairs.
Strip grafts are larger than slit grafts, though they are long and thin, and contain 30 to 40 hairs. It is the artful combination of slit and strip grafts with micrografts and mini-micrografts that allows the surgeon to reproduce the characteristics of a natural head of hair.
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