When doctors and patients refer to a “Strip Hair Restoration,” they are actually using the colloquial term for a Follicular Unit Transplant(FUT), a surgical procedure for hair restoration which is performed under a local anesthetic. Follicular Unit Transplants (FUT) are often referred to by this name due to the manner in which the hair transplant surgeon removes the follicular grafts from the donor site. In order to excise the donor grafts, the hair transplant doctor will create a thin, horizontal strip, which he or she will then prepare for transplantation by separating the strip into individual follicular grafts.
This strip will leave a thin, linear scar in the donor site, which is why the doctors carefully select a location that can easily be obscured by the patient’s naturally growing hair. Patients who prefer to keep their hair short have the option of further obscuring the scar with Scalp Micropigmentation, or they may elect to undergo a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) instead, as a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) does not leave behind a linear scar in the donor site.
Patients who ultimately select a Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) as their preferred method of hair restoration typically do so because of the sheer volume of grafts that can be transplanted during a single, four-hour session. Since a hair transplant surgeon is able to transplant 3,000 grafts or more during a single session, patients are able to achieve significant density and coverage with the strip hair restoration procedure.
It is recommended that patients take a day or two off from work in order to recover immediately following the completion of a strip hair restoration session, and doctors prefer that patients avoid strenuous physical activity for a few weeks so the transplanted grafts have time to stabilize in the recipient site of the scalp.
In the minds of some patients, perhaps the term “robotic hair restoration” conjures up images more likely to appear in a science fiction novel than a hair restoration clinic. In reality, a robotic hair restoration simply means that a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is performed with the assistance of some kind of automated tool or system. Some robotic hair restoration procedures utilize both automated tools and systems, but in each one of these procedures it is still necessary for a hair restoration doctor and hair transplant technicians to manually intervene despite the presence of automation.
Hair restoration procedures that feature the use of automated systems include NeoGraft and SmartGraft, among several others. In these types of procedures, the hair transplant surgeon might use an automated pneumatic tool to remove the individual follicular units for transplantation into the donor site. It is also possible for the hair transplant doctor to incorporate a refrigerated system capable of storing the grafts in between the time they are removed from the donor site and transplanted into the recipient site.
Some of the limitations with automated or robotic FUE systems include a higher transection rate which results in damage to the harvested hair grafts/follicles and limitation on the number of grafts that can be transplanted per session.
These automated systems and tools are designed to protect the follicular units from damage at the various points in the transplant process in which the risk of damage is most likely. This helps to maximize the total yield of follicles that can be successfully transplanted from the donor site, but the skilled and experienced surgeon does not necessarily require such tools or systems to ensure there will be more than enough donor tissue available to achieve the coverage and density being sought by the patient. There is NO replacement for an experienced and skilled hair transplant team.
NeoGraft hair restorations fall into the category of robotic hair restorations, as the NeoGraft procedure is aided by the use of an automated pneumatic tool designed to remove the individual follicular units from the donor site. The automated tool helps prevent the doctor from potentially damaging otherwise viable follicular units as a result of unnecessary twisting or pulling during the removal of the grafts from the donor site.
While the pneumatic tool does assist the doctor in ensuring a maximal yield of follicular units from the donor site, NeoGraft procedures are nonetheless limited in terms of the total number of grafts that can be transplanted during a single session. Since NeoGraft is a form of Follicular Unit Extraction, an eight-hour session is still likely to produce somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 total grafts.
NeoGraft sessions can occur on consecutive days in order to achieve the individual patient’s goals and objectives, but it is important to reiterate that the automated aspects of NeoGraft procedures do not necessarily mitigate the time-intensive nature of this process. The recovery process is essentially the same as any other form of Follicular Unit Extraction, which is why sessions can be performed on consecutive days.
Hair restoration procedures can be grouped into two general categories: surgical and non-surgical procedures. Surgical hair restoration procedures are widely considered the most effective options available to patients dealing with either hair loss or thinning hair, and while there are a multitude of surgical options from which patients may choose, Follicular Unit Transplants (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extractions (FUE) are both established and effective in delivering permanent results in keeping with a patient’s hair restoration goals and objectives.
These surgical procedures rely on the latest technological developments and employ the most advanced methods in order to achieve a natural-looking result for patients in need of a hair restoration. Surgical hair restoration procedures involve the transplantation of the patient’s own hair from a donor site located on the sides or back of the patient’s scalp. The manner in which these donor follicles are removed prior to transplantation will depend upon the specific procedure, as there are slight differences between the techniques utilized during a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and a Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT).
Once the transplant grafts — which may include anywhere from one to three follicles depending on the procedure — have been harvested from the donor site, each graft will be prepared for transplantation in the recipient site (the areas in which the patient has experienced hair loss or thinning hair). The hair transplant surgeon, with input from the patient, will have already outlined a hairline and identified the specific areas within the donor site that will yield the greatest amount of coverage for the patient.
Surgical procedures for hair restorations are considered minimally invasive, but there is still some downtime that may be required following the completion of the procedure. A Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) procedure, for example, requires the patient to avoid physical exertion for a week or two, and most doctors recommend that patients take one or two days off from work once the procedure has been completed. The post-operative care instructions differ from procedure to procedure, and it is always best to discuss any differences between procedures with a hair transplant doctor during the initial consultation process.
SmartGraft hair restorations incorporate several automated technologies into a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant, including a closed refrigeration system as well as a pneumatic extraction tool. These automated technologies are used in conjunction with one another, thereby ensuring that the individual follicular units are never subjected to conditions that would have an adverse effect on their potential viability for transplantation into the recipient site. These automated technologies are indeed effective in protecting the individual follicular units as they are removed from the donor site and subsequently transplanted into the recipient site, but the total number of follicular units that can be transplanted during a single session is still limited to a range between 1,000 and 1,500.
SmartGraft, which is a type of Follicular Unit Extraction, is a surgical procedure that, like Follicular Unit Extractions (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplants (FUT), is considered a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed while the patient is under a local anesthetic. SmartGraft procedures, like all other types of Follicular Unit Extraction procedures, require very little downtime and allow patients to return to normal activity levels within a day or two of the procedure’s completion. If necessary, SmartGraft sessions can be conducted on consecutive days in order to meet the specific hair restoration needs of the patient.