Recently I read a thread that said some hair transplant surgeons do not like to harvest a donor strip that exceeds 2cm in width. I take it different doctors are comfortable with varying widths. I also assume the wider the strip the more aggressive the procedure and more likelihood of going beyond the safe zone. Am I right? What is a conservative width? Does it depend on the patient? How about length?
With rare exception my FUT strips are always about 1.75 cm wide or about the width of a stick of gum. The variable is the length which can be ear to ear or shorter if we need less hair. For me, that usually results in a pretty decent scar. But, there are plenty of times where I’ll say to the patient right after the strip is out: “Wow, you really have a stretchy scalp. We could have taken a bigger strip.” There are other times when I’ll say “That is pretty tight, I’m glad we didn’t go any wider.” Now, the trouble is predicting that, and it’s a bit like predicting the stock market; meaning that I don’t know anyone who is always right. So I err on the side of caution.
For guys with extensive balding who need a lot of hair and want me to go ahead and take another strip I respond that we’ll likely transect a bunch of hair with a second cut and a little more excision may result in a lot more tension on the incision line. Plus, I don’t like to change a hair restoration plan once we agree on it.
There are very reputable hair restoration physicians who take wider strips than I and do just fine. I just do what works pretty consistently for me.
Remember, perfection is the enemy of good. The halls of medicine are full of bad outcomes that came from trying to do just “a little more”.
Dr. William Lindsey – McLean VA
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