Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) Versus Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

Hair restoration is a fascinating and growing field. While multiple treatments exist to help maintain existing hairs or stimulate micronized hairs to re-grow, sometimes a hair transplant is the best option for restoring a natural, full-appearing head of hair. In this office-based procedure, hairs from the back of the head are moved to the front to restore the balding areas. The hairs in the back of the head are robust and resist the hormonal thinning that impacts the front and sides of the scalp.

These hairs can be harvested in two different ways from the back of the head. The first method is to perform a ‘strip’ procedure or Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). In this technique, a strip of hairs are removed from the posterior scalp and processed under the microscope in order to create individual follicular units of 1-4 hairs. The area of harvest on the scalp is closed in a single line which can become very challenging to detect.

Closed posterior scalp donor site immediately after strip harvest.

The other method of harvest is called follicular unit extraction. In this method, hairs from the posterior scalp are extracted individually utilizing a spinning punch and then processed under microscopic visualization to help produce the individual follicular units. A variety of devices are available for performing this technique including Neograft®, Artas®, or Cole Instruments® to name a few. The FUE method is more time consuming, but it does not leave the linear scar seen with the strip technique. This modern method of hair transplant is typically considered by patients who are likely to wear their hair very short on the back of the head as the scarring is more well hidden.

Dr. Sand harvesting individual follicles with FUE equipment.

Both of these techniques have unique advantages and disadvantages. The ‘strip’ technique is quicker and often more hairs can be transplanted in a single session. For patients who are unlikely to shave their head or wear their hair very short, this can be a very successful technique. The FUE technique requires more time and generally a smaller numbers of follicles can be transferred during a single session. For younger patients or those likely to shave their head or wear their hair short, this method should be considered.

During a consultation, Dr. Sand can evaluate your scalp and help discuss the available options to help you regain a natural, full-appearing head of hair. The office can be contacted at 509-324-2980 or via email at [email protected]. Schedule your free appointment today!

Platelet-Rich Plasma for Hair Loss

Finding stray hairs in the drain or catching a glimpse in the mirror of a thinned patch on the scalp can spark fears of balding. We are constantly shedding hairs while others grow, but both men and women can develop an imbalance in this natural cycle leading to excessive loss of hair. This can result in a bald scalp and a decrease in self-confidence. Medical treatments for hair loss, including Rogaine and Propecia, have been used with good results, but these treatments can have side effects. While many therapies are in development, the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for hair restoration has demonstrated incredible promise.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is harvested from an individual’s blood. The blood is drawn into a specialized tube which then undergoes a centrifugation process. The PRP fraction is separated out, containing a high concentration of both healing platelets and growth factors. The white and red blood cells are removed so they cannot dilute or destroy the concentrated growth factors. PRP is then applied topically on the skin or injected depending on the indication. Additionally, as this material is utilized in the same patient from which it is taken, it has a highly favorable safety profile with a low likelihood of a reaction.

In a recent review written by Dr. Sand entitled: “PRP for the Aesthetic Surgeon“, many uses for PRP are discussed. They include topical application to improve healing after skin resurfacing, injection into face to remove wrinkles, and injection into the scalp for hair restoration. In particular, the use of PRP for hair restoration has been studied by multiple global investigators and has shown excellent promise as a treatment for thinning or micronized hairs. High qualities studies have shown this product to thicken hair shaft size, improve hair quality, and increase hair density. This combined effect can lead to fuller, healthier appearing head of hair.

Patients who undergo this procedure can typically expect minimal discomfort, essentially no downtime, and high satisfaction. Harvest, preparation and injection of the PRP typically takes 30-45 minutes and you will generally be able to go back to your regular activities immediately afterward. A warm shower is encouraged later that night before sleeping. The injections are combined into a series of four, spaced at one month intervals. Following the initial set of injections, most patients will opt for a maintenance plan with repeat PRP injections every 6-8 months to help keep up their result. Maximal results are usually seen after the fourth injection, but results can begin to be seen after the first injection. PRP injections for hair loss are an excellent treatment option for both men and women.

If you are concerned about your hair quality or quantity, Dr. Sand is an expert in medical and surgical hair restoration and offers a variety of treatment options. Call (509-324-2980) or email ([email protected]) today to schedule your complimentary appointment!