Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) / Strip Harvesting

Orange County Hair Restoration and Dr. Williams offers the two most common proven surgical techniques in hair restoration surgery, Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Excision (FUE). FUT is commonly referred to as the Strip procedure. It is the more familiar surgical hair restoration technique using naturally occurring groups of 1 to 4 hairs, called follicular units. FUT is an advanced hair transplantation procedures that produces a naturally appearing hairline and appearance.

With the FUT procedure, a strip of scalp is surgical excised and the individual hair follicles are created into naturally occurring hair grafts by our surgeon and skilled technicians. The strip removed is taken from the “safe” or permanent zone of the scalp where the hair follicles are resistant to hair follicle miniaturization or balding. The entire procedure is done under local anesthetic with light sedation.

Since the follicular unit is a distinct anatomic and physiologic entity, preserving it intact during the graft dissection maximizes growth. In FUT, after hair is removed from the back of the scalp in a single strip, stereo-microscopic dissection by staff technicians allows the individual follicular units to be removed from this strip without being damaged.

Follicular Unit Transplantation enables the hair transplant to look natural both at the individual follicular unit level, and in regards to the overall graft distribution. Since scalp hair normally grows in follicular units of 1 to 4 hairs, the exclusive use of these naturally occurring units with FUT ensures that each graft will be identical to the surrounding follicular units. Thus, when the transplanted follicular units grow hair after a transplant, the overall results of the transplant will appear natural.


Quality of grafts at Irvine Institute of Medicine and Cosmetic Surgery-OC Hair Restoration

Quality of FUE grafts harvested by Dr. Williams at OC Hair Restoration and held in special bioenhanced holding solutions

There are many biological enhanced holding solutions that increases the hair follicle survival after transplantation. We routinely use HypoThermosol™ and ATP™ in a Cole Chilling Device™ for all our surgical cases because it increases graft survivability. HypoThermosol™ and ATP™ are a major part of the biological enhanced preservation media enabling improved and extended preservation of cells, tissues, and organs. Its safety, tolerability, and use and efficacy is well established in the surgical and medicine disciplines. It is used in other surgery for organ preservation such as heart, lung, and liver transplants. The biologically enhanced holding solutions solution reduces molecular stress and provides nourishment, electrolyte balance, pH buffering, decrease free radical scavenging, and increase energy substrates. During the harvesting and graft creation process, our staff maintains follicle viability by storing the grafts before transplantation at 4 to 5 degrees Celsius. This low temperature decreases the metabolic activity of the hair grafts to ensure their viability while outside the scalp before they are placed in the recipient sites of the scalp.


Follicular units are relatively compact structures, and are surrounded by substantial amounts of fatty tissue containing critical stromal, stem cells or regenerating cells for subsequent hair regrowth. Using stereo-microscopic dissection, the hair graft is trimmed and excess tissue is removed without injuring the capacity of the hair follicle to regenerate itself. The trimmed follicular unit grafts are then placed into tiny incisions in the patient’s scalp.

In contrast to older and outdated surgical hair transplant techniques, we do NOT perform “pluggy” hair transplants that have resulted in an unnatural appearance. Improper placement of the grafts in the recipient sites also cause cosmetic problems included dimpling and pigment changes in the skin, depression or elevation of the grafts; and an abnormal appearance or look of the scalp. These problems can be avoided using natural occurring follicular grafts and very small recipient wounds.