Follicular Unit Transplant, also known as strip method transplant, is the traditional hair restoration technique which involves cutting a hair bearing strip of skin from the baldness resistant areas of the scalp – the back or sides of the head. The strip is then dissected under a powerful microscope to obtain hair follicles of desired size. The grafts thus obtained are then transplanted on the bald or thinning areas of the scalp.
Are you a Candidate?
In general anyone who is bothered by baldness and wants to cover his thatch can benefit from Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), but there are certain limitations that are considered when determining candidacy of an individual.
- Enough donor hair supply: hair transplant patient should have enough balding resistant donor hair supply that could be planted to the bald area
- Sufficiently loose scalp skin: loose scalp skin is a must for strip removal method. Strip of donor tissue cannot be excised if scalp does not have sufficient laxity.
- Your hair loss is permanent: if you are suffering from temporary hair loss caused by cyclical hormonal imbalance or due to stress and anxiety, hair transplant is not for you.
- Hair loss is not progressing: patients who are still losing hair can also undergo a hair transplant surgery but surgeons don’t recommend. An ideal candidate is one whose hair loss has stopped.
Goals of FUT Hair Transplant:
Like any other cosmetic procedure, FUT hair transplant also aims at enhancing your appearance. Goals of FUT are:
- To help you restore lost hair
- Give you the best results at an affordable cost
- To transplant maximum number of grafts in a single session
Other Techniques Available:
Preparing for FUT:
Preparing well for a surgery is the key to its success. Follow the tips below and get the most out of FUT hair transplant:
- Stop taking aspirin and aspirin containing products at least two weeks before the surgery.
- Quit smoking at least a couple of weeks prior to your FUT hair transplant.
- Alcohol consumption should be stopped 5 to 7 days before your transplant is scheduled.
- Fill all your prescriptions (both antibiotics and painkillers) well in advance.
- Get your tests done and the reports submitted with the clinic well in time.
FUT Strip Method Procedure
- Donor area preparation: The very first step is preparing the donor area, which involves shaving and marking the back or sides of scalp for strip cutting.
- Administering anesthesia (donor site): Before cutting the strip donor area is made numb by administering local anesthesia.
- Strip cutting: A linear strip of hair bearing superficial layer of skin is excised from the donor site – the back or side of the head.
- Stitching the scalp: The surgeon will carefully stitch back the skin with stitches and staples.
- Graft preparation: The strip contains thousands of hair follicles. It is excised under a powerful stereo microscope to obtain individual mini grafts for transplantation.
- Administering anesthesia (recipient site): Local anesthesia is again administered to the recipient area to numb it.
- Recipient area preparation: the surgeon makes tiny incisions at the recipient site at specific angles.
- Graft insertion: the last step of FUT hair transplant is inserting grafts carefully into the tiny incisions made by the surgeon.
- Your scalp with be itchy and sore immediately after FUT hair transplant
- Start taking the prescribed medicines immediately after the surgery
- Use cold compressions to treat pain and swelling, but be very gentle
- Do not expect your new hair grown the next week
- The transplanted hair will initially shed and then start grow back (shock loss)
- Transplanted hair follicles will remain inactive for around three months
- You will start noticing your hair growing at least after 4 to 6 months
- It may take more than a year before you will be able to see full results
- Washing scalp: Do not wash your scalp for at least 24 to 36 hours following surgery.
- Touching scalp: During the first few days be very careful about touching newly planted hair follicles.
- Medications: Avoid taking blood thinners for 10 to 14 days following the surgery.
- Smoking: Refrain from smoking for at least a couple of weeks.
- Alcohol consumption: Avoid alcohol and alcohol containing drinks for 5 to 7 days at least.
- Sun exposure: Avoid direct sunlight for at least a month.
- Never pick at scab: Picking at scab or scratching your scalp is strictly prohibited for 15 to 20 days.
Benefits of FUT Hair Transplant:
- Results are natural and permanent: Like any other hair transplant technique, results of Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) are also natural and permanent.
- Minimal donor hair damage: FUT is the safest technique when it comes to harvesting donor grafts. It ensures minimal damage to the follicles
- Maximum number of grafts in a single session: Linear strip excised contains thousands of hair follicles. It thus allows transplantation of maximum number of grafts in a single session
- Cost effective technique: FUT is the least expensive among all hair restoration techniques