We live in an age that has seen the greatest sport in the history of medical science. Many of the previously seemingly impossible treatments are now commonplace and done as a part of daily routine. Hair loss has been around for as long as humanity itself. Until the arrival of modern hair transplantation techniques, the solutions to correct the problem were coarse and often ineffective.
Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is currently the most widely used methods by hair transplant surgeons. One can notice by the name that there is a serious role of follicular units in both procedures. In order to understand how hair transplants work, one has to dig a little deeper into the follicular units and how they are used in order to get their back on our heads.
So what is a Follicular Unit?
It is a small, naturally occurring group of one to four hair which is used for the purpose of hair transplant. It also contains nerves, sebaceous glands, some small vellus hair occasionally, and a small muscle.
Extraction of Follicular Units
These are extracted in different ways in different procedures. FUE, which is the latest technique, uses a punch like a mechanism to extract follicular units. This is a better technique of extraction as a single follicular unit is extracted and is ready for transplant.
The technique gets different in FUT where a strip of scalp is cut from the donor site. These leaves a linear scar at the back of the head, the donor site. Afterward, the strip is dissected into the follicular units with the use of a stereomicroscope. Once these are dissected, they are ready for transplant. The dissected follicular units are stored in a saline solution to keep it healthy while the process is being done.
Once the follicular units are obtained and dissected (in case of strip method), they are placed in specially made very fine incisions. Each incision has one follicular unit placed in it. The density of these grafts depends on the intended results and how the surgeon plans them. The results of the transplant can be predicted to a good extent but not entirely. After a few weeks of the procedure, this new hair will shed, and new, stronger hair will replace them within a few months. In about a year’s time, the new hair will perfectly gel in and would be as good as they ever were.