What is a Hair Transplant?

For patients suffering from pattern hair loss, the hair on the back and sides of the scalp tends to be permanent, in hair transplantation this area of permanent hair is known as the donor area. During a hair transplant hair bearing skin from this area is removed by the surgeon. This is done either graft by graft using a punch tool (Follicular Unit Extraction “FUE”) or in a long thin strip using a scalpel (Follicular Unit Transplantation – “FUT”). In an FUT transplant, the hair bearing skin is then dissected by highly trained and experienced technicians using high-tech microscopes.

The grafts produced are known as follicular units. Using the FUT process, the integrity of each follicular unit in the skin is maintained. It is important to point out that there is a major difference between mini/micro grafting and FUT. In mini/micro grafting small grafts are cut to size without respect for the integrity of the follicular unit.

Tiny cuts or incisions are then made in the balding area. The size, shape and angle of the incision is critical to the how natural the result will look. It is at this point that the art meets the science in hair transplant surgery. Prior to making the incisions the surgeon will already have planned the hair transplant design. This is done in consultation with the patient. Thousands of grafts will be placed during the hair transplant

When explaining the difference between the methods of hair transplant it is useful to imagine transplanting a bed of prize rose trees. With the FUT technique each rose tree, with its root ball intact, is carefully removed from the rose bed and carefully placed into a new site. With the mini/micro grafting technique the rose bed is chopped up into blocks, which may or may not contain an intact rose tree, with or without its root ball. With the first method of transplanting the roses, one would expect all the rose trees to be transplanted successfully and thrive in their new position. Using the cut to size method, most of the transplanted roses will grow but only a few will thrive and others will produce stunted growth.

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