Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is a surgical procedure where hair is transplanted from the permanent zone, the area in the back and sides of the scalp where hair is more resistant to balding, to the bald or balding areas of the scalp. This is accomplished using naturally-occurring groups of 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs, called follicular units. After the patient’s scalp is anesthetized, the doctor removes a strip of tissue from the donor area, an area within the permanent zone, and, once extracted, the donor strip is cut into many individual follicular units using microscopic dissection techniques. As these follicular unit grafts are being prepared, the doctor makes tiny holes in the scalp, called recipient sites, where the grafts are placed.
The arrangement and positioning of these follicular unit grafts determines the aesthetic qualities of a hair transplant, and so this arrangement must be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the patients’ history of hair loss and likelihood of future hair loss. Since follicular unit transplants mimic the way hair grows in nature, the results, in expert hands, will look completely natural and be indistinguishable from one’s original hair.
The FUT Hair Transplant Procedure
All procedures performed at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration are based on Dr. Bernstein’s pioneering Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) techniques. The essence of these procedures is that the hair is transplanted into the balding area as individual follicular units (naturally occurring groups of 1-4 hairs), so that it will look totally natural and be undetectable as a hair transplant.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) differ in the way the hair is harvested (removed) from the donor area in the back of the scalp. In FUT, the hair is removed in a single, thin strip and then dissected into in individual follicular units using microscopes. In FUE, the follicular units are removed directly from the back and sides of the scalp using a robotic device
All of our hair restoration procedures are performed under local anesthesia. Hair transplant sessions that use thousands of follicular unit grafts may take a whole day; however, the time goes by quickly. During the procedure, patients rest comfortably and can watch TV or a movie, take a nap, or chat with the staff.
The misconception that most people have of hair transplantation is associated with the out-dated “plug” techniques in which patients leave the office with their head wrapped in bandages and enduring significant bleeding and pain. In modern follicular unit hair transplants, patients leave the office with only a hat and headband and are able to shower and shampoo their hair the day after the hair restoration surgery.
When you arrive for your hair transplant, the staff begins by going over the activities for the day. The surgical consent form that had been sent to you is reviewed and other paperwork is completed. The physician reviews the goals that have been established and answers any questions that you still might have. The doctor will carefully re-draw the hairline that was marked and photographed during your consultation and will add other markings to further delineate the extent of the procedure. You will have a chance to examine and discuss them before proceeding. The physician then takes high quality photographs that will become part of your permanent medical record.
Sedatives are given to relax you before the start of the hair restoration procedure, but you can remain fully alert if you like. You will be offered a movie selection and cable T.V. Most patients choose to listen to music, see a movie (or two), or just chat with the doctor and staff. The graft dissection will be performed in the same room as your hair surgery so that we can explain what we are doing and answer any questions that you may have.
The length of your permanent hair transplant procedure will depend upon how may follicular unit grafts are transplanted. Small sessions of less than 800 grafts can be finished by noon. Larger sessions, of 2,400 or more, generally take a full day.
We do our very technical job in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, so that your experience is pleasant and so that the time goes by quickly. You will be able to take a series of breaks, to the restroom, to eat, or to just move around and stretch. Many of our patients tell us that all the attention and pampering they received throughout their hair loss surgery made the experience truly enjoyable. Our full-time staff has years of experience assisting Dr. Bernstein with these procedures. In addition to expertise in performing the procedures, the staff is adept at ensuring the comfort of our patients.
We take great precautions to protect both our patients and ourselves from blood-born agents during the hair restoration procedure. Our patients and staff are routinely tested for HIV and hepatitis for everyone’s safety and protection. Instruments are either sterilized in an autoclave or are disposable.
(See more at Fut Hair Transplant Procedure)