Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) Overview

FUT is a surgical hair transplant procedure where hair is transplanted from the permanent zone to the bald or balding areas of the scalp using the strip method.

The permanent zone is known as the area in the back and sides of the scalp where hair is more resistant to balding. This is accomplished using naturally-occurring groups of 1,2,3 or 4 hairs, called follicular units. After the patient’s scalp is anesthetized, the doctor removes a strip of tissue from the donor area which is an area within the permanent zone. Once the tissue is extracted, the donor strip is cut into many individual follicular units using microscopic dissection techniques. As these follicular unit grafts are being prepared, the doctor makes tiny holes in the scalp, called recipient sites, where the grafts are placed.

The aesthetic qualities of a hair transplant are determined by the arrangement and positioning of the follicular unit grafts. Depending on the patients’ history of hair loss, the decision on how to arrange the grafts is made on a case-by-case basis. Follicular unit transplants replicate the way hair grows in nature resulting in a completely natural look and feel that is undetectable from one’s original hair.

The FUT Procedure explained

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is a surgical procedure where hair is transplanted from the permanent zone, the area in the back and sides of the scalp where hair is more resistant to balding, to the bald or balding areas of the scalp. This is accomplished using naturally-occurring groups of 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs, called follicular units. After the patient’s scalp is anaesthetised, the doctor removes a strip of tissue from the donor area, an area within the permanent zone, and, once extracted, the donor strip is cut into many individual follicular units using microscopic dissection techniques. As these follicular unit grafts are being prepared, the doctor makes tiny holes in the scalp, called recipient sites, where the grafts are placed.

What happens on the day?

The arrangement and positioning of these follicular unit grafts determines the aesthetic qualities of a hair transplant, and so this arrangement must be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the patients’ history of hair loss and likelihood of future hair loss. Since follicular unit transplants mimic the way hair grows in nature, the results, in expert hands, will look completely natural and be indistinguishable from one’s original hair.

When you arrive for your hair transplant, the staff begins by going over the activities for the day. The surgical consent form that had been sent to you is reviewed and other paperwork is completed. The physician reviews the goals that have been established and answers any questions that you still might have. The doctor will carefully re-draw the hairline that was marked and photographed during your consultation and will add other markings to further delineate the extent of the procedure. You will have a chance to examine and discuss them before proceeding. The physician then takes high quality photographs that will become part of your permanent medical record.

Sedatives are given to relax you before the start of the hair restoration procedure, but you can remain fully alert if you like. You will be offered a movie selection and cable T.V. Most patients choose to listen to music, see a movie (or two), or just chat with the doctor and staff. The graft dissection will be performed in the same room as your hair surgery so that we can explain what we are doing and answer any questions that you may have.

The length of your permanent hair transplant procedure will depend upon how may follicular unit grafts are transplanted. Small sessions of less than 800 grafts can be finished by midday. Larger sessions, of 2,400 or more, generally take a full day.

BEFORE & AFTER GALLERY

FAQ

How long will the treatment take?

This depends on the number of hair required. On average, the treatment takes no more than a day to complete. However, when large numbers of hairs are required, the patient can split the procedure across two days.

How long will the hair take to grow after surgery?

The new outline of the hair will be visible immediately, but it is normal for the transplanted hair to shed a few weeks after the procedure. New transplanted hair begins to grow at around 10 weeks.

After around 6 months, the results will be full and can be groomed, and in most cases, it can take a year to be fully grown.

In the few months following hair surgery, before the new hair starts to row, there may be some shedding of the original hair so that the transplanted area may temporarily appear slightly thinner.

Stages of Balding – The Norwood Scale

The Norwood Scale determines different stages of male balding. It is also an indicator of how hair loss will progress over time.

  1. Minimal hair loss/normal head of hair
  2. Insignificant hair loss at the temples
  3. The first stage that requires treatment
  4. Receding hairline and thinning hair on the vertex
  5. Bigger pattern on the vertex and hairline
  6. Patters at both sites are bigger but a thin division line is still present
  7. The bridge is gone but several strands of short fine hair may remain
  8. The most severe form of hair loss – little hair on the front or top of head

What are the causes of hair loss?

There are three main causes:

  • Hormones: Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) makes the length of the growing cycle decrease and as this progresses, with each new cycle the hair shaft becomes smaller.
  • Genes: Hereditary hair loss can be passed on by either parent. If a parent is severely bald, it doesn’t mean this will be hereditary, there will just be a higher chance.
  • Age: Follicles when exposed to DHT over a long time will increase hair loss. The age at which this process starts differs between everyone.

Does it hurt?

The technique is not painful; local anaesthetic will numb the area before treatment starts, and the patient will not be able to feel anything during their treatment other than a small rubbing sensation.

What are the advantages of FUT?

FUT allows an increase in the volume of hair that can be transplanted and does not require you to shave your head before the procedure. It is also less labour intensive and there is minimal damage to the individual follicles, as they are harvested under a microscope.

What are the disadvantages of FUT?

A small scar could result from the procedure. However, this can be corrected through the use of hair micro-pigmentation treatment (HPT) at a later stage if required.

Which procedure is right for me?

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) yields the most donor hair, and is best suited for more extensive hair loss and in patients where the main concern is maximising the use of a donor supply.

The hair is efficiently used because of the precise nature of the procedure – and the fact that the extraction is from the area that is densest and most stable.

A limitation of FUT is that it leaves a line scar in the donor area. With normal styling, this is easily covered with hair, but it precludes someone from wearing their hair very short.

The FUE method is better suited for individuals who don’t have extensive hair loss. In the case of a candidate having extensive hair loss, multiple procedures may be required.

In certain cases, where the hair loss is only minimal, we will also recommend a hair loss prevention program, with recommended lotions and medications.

How do you assess if someone is suitable?

The cause and nature of hair loss will dictate whether the client is suitable for a procedure. It is quite possible that a person with extensive hair loss can achieve extremely good results after restoring hair. Clients can also go onto a hair loss prevention program.

Our surgeons will be able to measure hair loss to identify the best course of action.

How long will the results last?

Follicular unit transplantation offers permanent results.

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