Can I use the donor hairs that are just outside the “universal safe” donor zone?
The donor zone of a hair transplant patient can be treated in accordance with two philosophies: the first is the “prudent”, the most the most orthodox taught everywhere. This philosophy consists in leaving one or two centimeters of untouched hair between the donor and recipient areas. The reasons for this surgical protocol are as follows: 1) To not transplant hair that is potentially unstable or balding. 2) To reduce scarring in a zone that is or can potentially thin in the future.
This manner of operating presents a surgical inconvenience, mostly when performing a second (or further) Follicular Unit Excision (formerly known as Follicular Unit Extraction FUE) surgery. In fact, it creates an aesthetic dilemma having a section of original density on the scalp. This creates an ungraceful appearance, especially when the patient wears his/her hair very short. Often times, patients are left with a “halo” all around their skull commonly referred to as a fringe.
The second manner of operating, consists of ending the extraction pattern near the patients recipient area. This method is reserved for patients requiring additional procedures or for patients who wear their hair short. Obviously, it is difficult to predict how a patients hair loss will progress in the future. However, at worst, I will have transplanted a limited amount of unstable grafts in the patients recipient area. Furthermore, in all of the years I have practiced hair restoration I have never had to repair a patient for the loss of transplanted hair or scarring, as a result of using this surgical protocol.
Dr. Jean Devorye– Member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians and Recommended on the Hair Transplant Network
Melvin, Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.
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