Hair today, gone tomorrow? Not anymore, thanks to new hair transplant technologies that have been developed in the last few years, increasing hair restoration efficiency. Because of these new Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) innovations, hair transplants have advanced to an incredible degree, and many of the problems that plagued both doctors and patients are things of the past.
One of the key improvements that have been made to FUE technology is an increase in the variety of punch sizes used during the procedure. Punches are used to remove follicular grafts, and come in an assortment of sizes and styles. A decade ago, the punch sizes were relatively large; doctors used punches that were well over 1mm in diameter, which greatly increased the chance of complications due to their size. (Generally, the bigger the size of the punches, the higher the chance there is of complications, due to the increased recovery time.) Nowadays, punches can be as small as 0.7mm in diameter, which severely decreases scarring and discoloration in the donor area, and contributes to a shorter, easier recovery.
Just a few years ago, doctors were able to transplant only about 400-500 grafts per session. That may sound like a lot, but it meant the patient needed to come in for multiple grueling sessions, and the hair transplant process could take several days to complete. But technology has changed for the better, and, as a result, the same hair transplant surgery can be done in less time and with more accuracy. Today, up to 2,500 FUE grafts can be removed per session, and patients can achieve a full head of hair in just one or two visits.
As our understanding of hair restoration increased, hair transplant devices also improved. We have been witnessing a rise in the types and variations of FUE hair transplant devices. FUE devices have significantly advanced both for extraction of hair grafts and implantation of them. Manual methods of graft extractions now offer more variety and style; this allows for more efficient graft extraction that keeps more hair per grafts. The automated devices help to reserve the energy of the surgical team and increase the speed and efficiency of FUE transplants. Additionally, robotic devices can be used to extract grafts under computerized vision, though this technique is still relatively new. Implanters, used to automatically implant grafts, are on the rise. Implanters are ideal for FUE grafts, as they protect the follicular units that generally have less supportive tissue. Implanters minimize the trauma that could be otherwise imposed on the hair grafts.
Due to an increase in graft quality, as well as modern techniques and devices for graft removal, the survival rate for follicular grafts has increased dramatically. By using serial extraction and implantation, in which hairs are removed and placed in smaller but more frequent portions (rather than removing all follicles first before placing), follicular grafts spend less time outside of the body, which greatly strengthens graft viability. Additionally, the use of pre-made incisions allows for immediate graft placement—further decreasing the time grafts spend outside of the body.
Thanks to these new advances in FUE technology efficiency, hair restoration will be a possibility for even more patients. The decreased recovery time and minimalized scarring make hair restoration a possibility for people who otherwise could have never considered it. With FUE transplantation technology constantly improving, many of the risks associated with hair restoration have been eliminated, allowing for safer and more efficient procedures, and even more satisfied patients.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team based on an exclusive interview provided by Dr. Parsa Mohebi of Parsa Mohebi Hair Restoration in Los Angeles, CA