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!