Thu 18 Oct 2007
I have been surfing hair restoration websites and have been reading about many hair transplantation techniques. How do I know which one is the best? What are all the differences between them?
This is a great question and really should be addressed more regularly as it can be confusing to hair loss sufferers who are just starting their research.
There are actually only two state of the art hair transplant techniques to date though they have many different names.
Follicular Unit Transplantation and its Various Names
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is also referred to as Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation (FUHT) or Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS). All of these names refer to the same technique where a single blade is used to remove a strip of scalp containing hair follicles. These hair follicles are dissected and cut using a microscope into follicular unit grafts (hairs as they occur naturally in 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s) and then inserted into recipient sites made by a qualified hair restoration physician. Ultra Refined Follicular Unit Transplantation refers to the cutting edge improvement and refinement of surgical instruments to create a more natural densely packed result. This includes the diameter of the surgical instrument (creating smaller incisions) and the use of skinny grafts verses chubby grafts. To learn more about skinny grafts verses chubby grafts, click here.
Follicular Unit Extraction and its Various Names
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is also referred to as Follicular Unit Separation Extraction (FUSE which is also equivalent to Follicular Isolation Technique (FIT). In this technique, the hair restoration uses a punch like device to extract one follicular unit at a tme from the donor area (the sides and back of the head). The standard size of the extraction tool used is typically .6mm to 1.3mm depending on the number of hairs in the follicular unit being extracted. These follicular unit grafts are then inserted directly into recipient sites made by the qualified hair restoration physician. Instrumentation will vary between clinics.
A Warning about Marketing Techniques
Don’t be fooled by different names for the same technique. FIT and FUSE have been defined by some hair restoration clinics as a “superior FUE” in order to sell their services. This is not true.
Just because different instrumentation is used to extract the hair follicle, doesn’t mean a new name is warranted for the technique itself. Otherwise every hair restoration clinic who performs FUE would create a new name for the technique since many use varying instruments. Dr. Alan Feller, for example has designed and patented his own extraction tool naming it the “Feller Punch”. I personally feel naming the variation in instrumentation is much more proper than renaming the technique. The technique after all, has not changed. But by improving the instrumentation, the technique of FUE will continue to improve and ultimately create more natural looking results.
In my opinion, FUE/FIT/FUSE in the hands of a skilled hair transplant physician certainly has great value to many patients but has limitations.
To learn more about the differences between FUT and FUE, click here.
Now that you’ve been warned about marketing tactics, understand and recognize that there is merit to all of the above techniques. It is important for you to take the time to learn and become aware of all the potential benefits, risks, and limitations that each technique can provide.
The Importance of Physician Selection
The primary factor however, in determining a successful hair transplant experience is selecting the right hair transplant physician and technique that’s right for you.
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