Follicular Unit Extraction and Hair Restoration

[Posted on August 23rd, 2013 by Dr. Carlos Puig]

Follicular unit extraction provides a solution to men and women who have lost their hair due to various causes. The process is unique and uses the person’s own hair during the transplant. Sections of hair, normally groups of one to four hairs, are removed and transplanted to the designated area.. The process is performed on an outpatient basis and can be used for several types of hair loss. Hair restoration isn’t for everyone, but for individuals who choose to try the procedure it may be just what they need to regain their self-confidence.

Causes of Hair Loss – Hair loss can be caused by illness (such as alopecia), vitamin deficiency, chemotherapy or damage to the skin. No matter where hair loss occurs, the transplant process can help restore hair growth. An eyebrow transplant is a common request in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures. Transplanted hair can be used to reshape eyebrows that have thinned or disappeared due to medical causes.

Effectiveness of Hair Restoration Techniques – Several factors influence the effectiveness of a hair transplant. The skill of the surgeons and their team is important. Their ability and the use of the proper instruments can prevent the transplanted hairs from being damaged during the process and increase the viability of the transplant. The follicular unit extraction has a high risk of failure if the hairs being transplanted are cut or transected during the procedure. The length of time between the extraction and the actual grafting will also influence the survival of the hair and its future growth.

Possible Scarring – Unlike strip-harvesting where a long, narrow section of hair is removed, follicle extraction removes only a few hairs at a time. This process requires smaller incisions and less chance of scarring. The grafting process does result in small, circular, pitted scars where the hairs were removed. While scarring is minimal, it may be more noticeable in clients who wear their hair extremely short. The scares produced by the follicular unit extraction technique will depend on, once again, on the skill of the surgeon, the precision of the technique and methods used when closing the wound.

Side Effects – Side effects from the procedure itself are minimal. The type of anesthesia being used can lead to upper respiratory issues, but for the most part few of these reactions are reported. Scarring and the possibility of infection in the donor and grafting sites are also possible. Follicular unit extraction is a minimally invasive procedure and with proper care, will heal quickly and will little or no side effects to speak of.

Hair transplant and restoration procedures can restore a person’s confidence and give them the look they desire. In some cases, it can be used for cosmetic purposes to enhance a feature or or improve another cosmetic procedure.