Q: How does Follicular Unit Grafting Work?
For all my readers beginning their research on hair restoration, I wanted to write an introductory blog entry about Follicular Unit Grafting. Follicular Unit Grafting (or Follicular Unit Transplantation) is the most popular procedure used by hair restoration surgeons world wide.
How Does Follicular Unit Grafting Work? In a Nutshell!
First, the hair restoration surgeon removes a small strip of hair from a donor area at the back of the patients head (where there’s an abundance of hair), this is called the suture or donor strip. Next, the donor area is carefully stitched to limit the appearance of a scar (if this concerns you, refer to The Invisible Bosley Hair Restoration Scar entry). Next, naturally occurring groups of 1-4 hairs are removed from the donor area and prepared for implantation. Finally, each individual follicular group of hairs are strategically implanted to recreate the patient’s natural hairline. Artistry is essential when implanting the follicles.
Before the days of follicular unit grafting (back in the 80s and early 90s), hair restoration surgeons used a technique called “mini-micrografting.” Mini-micrografting worked by extracting a combination of mini-grafts (4-12 hairs) and micro-grafts (1-3 hairs) from the back of the patient’s head and implanted them to the balding area. Results were less than perfect and some patients complained about non-natural looking hair transplants. At this time, hair transplantation surgeries received a bad reputation for providing plug-like procedures, some even say early hair restoration procedures came out looking like dolls’ heads.
Today there is less to worry about when considering a hair restoration procedure. Follicular unit grafting is an industry standard and thanks to collective knowledge sharing between specialists around the world, there continues to be a lot innovation.