I’m looking to undergo a follicular unit transplantation (FUT) procedure, but I think I have some miniaturized hairs (follicular units) in the universal donor area. Can these miniaturized hairs be safely transplanted during my procedure?
There are a couple of things that pertain to this issue: if there is more than 5% miniaturization or even a larger amount, then doing a hair transplant on that individual may not be a great idea (unless the patient understands that the gains may be only for 5-10 years).
In my practice, if the assistants are dissecting out follicular unit grafts and come upon a single miniaturized hair, sitting all by itself as a 1-hair follicular unit, we do not make a graft and throw the unit aside. I don’t feel that the injury of a recipient incision is worth the tradeoff of putting a follicle/hair in there that is unlikely to end up being a full terminal hair. On the other hand, if that same apparently miniaturized follicle is part of a two-hair follicular bundle and the other is a non-miniaturized follicle/hair, then we definitely try to include the weaker appearing follicle, on the chance that it might contribute something or on the hope that it may be a hair in the very early anagen growth phase (which can sometimes be difficult to tell).
In general, I find it rare to see miniaturized hairs in the center of good donor hair; it is an issue that much more frequently applies to my female patients, most of whom have some small degree of miniaturization. It’s then a judgement call as to whether they are a good candidate, and depending on the degree of miniaturization, then I lower the expectations in describing the possible benefits of hair transplantation.
Michael Beehner, M.D.
Blake – aka Future_HT_Doc
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