How do hair transplants work?
Usually, hair transplants are carried out under local anaesthetic and sedation, which means you’ll be awake during the surgery but you won’t feel any pain.
There are 2 main types of hair transplant procedures:
- Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
- Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
Both types of hair transplant procedures should be carried out by a dermatological surgeon in a clinic. Because most transplants are carried out under local anaesthetic, the recovery time is often quicker and doesn’t come with the added risks that general anaesthesia does. A general anaesthetic is usually only required when extensive work needs to be carried out.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) is also known as the strip method. During this procedure, the surgeon will cut a single strip of skin and hair, usually from the back of the scalp. This is then divided into individual follicular units of approximately 1 mm in width under a microscope. These grafts consist of between 1 and 4 individual hairs that are placed into tiny cuts made on the scalp before being closed with stitches.
Once the cut has healed, you’ll be left with a small scar on the back of your head, but it shouldn’t be seen unless you have very short hair. If you plan to have very short hair after transplantation, FUT may not be for you.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a non-invasive hair transplant procedure which requires the back of the head to be shaved. FUE is often the preferred procedure of choice for anyone who would like to wear their hair very short or those who have limited hair loss.
In FUE, individual hairs are removed 1 by 1, called grafts, using a punch device which causes no damage to the scalp. These grafts are then transplanted into tiny cuts in the scalp which will not be noticeable once they have healed.
Which one is best for me?
The type of procedure that is best for you will depend on various factors.
You may choose FUT:
- if you do not want to shave your head for the surgery
- if you do not wish to wear your hair very short after surgery
- because it is cheaper and quicker than FUE
FUE may be preferable because:
- you can wear your hair very short
- it has a fast recovery time
- the microscopic scars caused by the surgery are practically invisible
- there is no need to have your stitches removed
- body hair can be used for added density
- it can be used to cover a preexisting scar caused by FUT (strip) surgery