What Is Hair Restoration?

The field of hair restoration has taken great strides in developing the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) single strip excision technique over a couple of decades ago. Gone are the old days of scalp reductions, lifts and flaps, and unnatural looking hair. Today, the FUT single strip excision method is considered the gold standard in hair restoration surgery and is performed in nearly all hair restoration surgeries.

More recently, another surgical technique called Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), was first described in the medical literature in 2002. Acknowledgment must be given to the pioneers and visionaries of FUE who first described this surgical technique such as Dr’s. Bernstein, Rassman, and Cole of the United States; and Dr. Woods of Australia.

In the early years, FUE was a labor intensive surgical procedure and was done manually by hand. A small hand held punch biopsy tool removed the individual hair follicle from the donor site of the patient later to be inserted into the recipient site. It has been described as a “backup” procedure for those patients with tight scalps or who are unable to have the traditional single strip scalp excision because of previous strip procedures.

After establishing its success in transplanting hair follicles, FUE in the early years became a desirable procedure for a patients because it did not involved excising a large strip of hair from the scalp. FUE in the early years had one significant drawback in that it was labor intensive and a time consuming procedure for the surgeon. Thus the number of hair follicles that could be harvested and transplanted was typically limited to just 300-600 follicles per session. Other issues such hair follicle survivability and were also issues that needed to be overcome.

Surgeons during this time period subsequently introduced automated devices to increase the number of grafts that could be transplanted in a single session. Early automated devices involved spinning /oscillating tools that created torsion and friction as the tool spun around at high speeds. The torque-type forces and high speeds of oscillating tool harmed the hair follicle while friction created heat that damaged it.

Automated FUE with NeoGraft™ advances and eliminates human and technical limitations associated with earlier automated surgical systems. Using NeoGraft, hair transplantation surgery is completely under the control of the surgeon. To safely remove hair follicles, NeoGraft uses more optimal oscillating speed settings to reduce friction, heat, and destruction of the hair follicle. The surgical technique now involves a short, quick, rotational spin allowing for safe, fast and gentle extraction of the hair follicle.

NeoGraft gives patients another option for hair restoration surgery that equals the success of the FUT strip method but with a significant difference. FUE with NeoGraft™ will not leave a scar in your scalp, it offers less down time, quicker recovery, and is associated with less side effects and complications. As the technical limitations have been reduced or eliminated with NeoGraft™, the total number of grafts harvested is now very competitive with the FUT strip method. In our office we can under local anesthesia we routinely obtain 1500- 2000 follicles per session.

While the gold standard in the hair restoration cosmetic surgical field for the last two decades has been the traditional FUT manual strip excision technique, patients now have other options. Compared to FUT, there is minimal risk of damage to nerves and blood vessels and our patents return to their routine activities quicker.

Automated FUE is the least invasive cosmetic hair restorative surgery available to patients and it is associated with less complication rates, and no post operative surgical scar. Postoperative care is easier, less painful, and our patients can wear a short hair style because there is no scar at the back of the scalp.