Needles Versus Custom Blades: What Is the Best Hair Transplant Tool?Wed 15 Jan 2014
Anyone got any thoughts on the two processes? After my recent hair transplant consult, it occurred to me that the stick and place implanter technique means that as each blade enters the skin it does so next to an already implanted graft, whereas with the custom blade method, all slits are made before implantation. Therefore, there is no danger of the blade damaging newly implanted grafts. I intend to ask my doctor about this but wondered if any follicular unit extraction (FUE) aficionados had any views either way.
With blades, they are being cut to size on the fly to match the size of the graft so the use of blades allows for a more customized procedure. When using the implanter, the pens still have to be loaded so there is plenty of handling of the grafts not to mention that when the pace is frantically fast the chance of mishandling the grafts (i.e. damage) is potentially going to be higher.
Also keep in mind that the shape of a typical follicular unit is not round. I’ve shown this in the past as you can see the linear arrangement of follicles in a typical bundle while it is still in the scalp. Logically, a coronal or lateral slit will be the better fit, allowing for more precise control of angle and direction and even less compression of grafts when dense packing. Because the incision is flatter, you also have a more shallow incision furthering the case for less trauma. A flat blade has less surface area than a needle but this is the case for identically sized implanter pens as well because they are still round just like a typical needle.
However, all things being equal, I find that hair transplantation tools are becoming less of an issue as each hair restoration physician will find the best tool that suits their practice. Just because someone has a procedure with lateral slits does not mean that the result will be obviously better than his identical twin that had a procedure with needles or an implanter pen from a different doctor. In the end, it comes down to finding a doctor that is comfortable with his tool of choice but more importantly is showing consistency with his work, day in and day out.
If you find a doctor that has a deep library of results that makes you say “wow” regardless of technique or tools then that is all that really matters as long as the results are being presented in an honest and transparent fashion.
Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.
To share ideas with other hair loss sufferers visit the hair loss forum and social community