Although loss of hair is most commonly seen in men, this process may also affect women. In fact, an estimated one in five women will suffer from some form of hair loss. However, in contrast to male pattern balding, women tend to experience a more widely-distributed, subtle progressive thinning affecting most or all of the areas of the scalp. For some individuals, hair loss is viewed as an acceptable part of the normal aging process and they adapt appropriately to their maturing hairline. However, others may be dissatisfied with their changing appearance and unwilling to passively accept progressive hair loss. For these patients, hair restoration may provide the perfect solution.
Over the recent 10-20 years, significant progress has been made in the recognition and understanding of hair anatomy and physiology. This has resulted in the performance of increasingly sophisticated techniques for natural hair replacement, leading up to the development of ‘follicular unit’ hair transplantation as the modern ‘gold standard’ procedure for hair restoration. Performed under local anesthesia with oral sedation as an outpatient procedure in a State Licensed, Nationally Accredited Ambulatory Surgery Center (see ‘about Keystone Surgery Center’), follicular unit hair restoration involves removal of a thin strip of hair-bearing scalp from the back of one’s head (occipital region). This hair ‘donor site’ is then immediately closed, forming a fine line scar, concealed by the surrounding hair and completely imperceptible. The hair within this harvested strip of tissue is then carefully, microsurgically separated into its component hair follicles by a skilled medical team. Under magnification, these follicular units are then inserted into small puncture sites within the area of hair loss. Throughout this procedure, patients remain awake and comfortable, generally watching their favorite television programs. The results of follicular unit hair transplantation can be further enhanced by the use of topical (eg. Minoxodil) agents to minimize genetically programmed ongoing hair loss and support and stabilize grafted hair follicles.
When considering a program of hair restoration, be sure to select a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). As a board certified plastic surgeon with over 15 years of clinical practice experience and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (The Mark of Distinction in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery® ASAPS), Dr. Robert Kimmel welcomes the opportunity to help you achieve your goals by enhancing your appearance and enjoy a happier, more confident lifestyle.
We are pleased to offer follicular unit transplant (FUT) and also follicular unit extraction (FUE) in a friendly, comfortable environment. The two procedures are proven safe and effective. Each transfers hair from one part of the scalp to another. The difference is that, when we perform follicular unit extraction, we harvest individual hair follicles rather than a long strip of follicles at once.
Follicular unit extraction is an excellent choice for hair restoration. This technique is very intricate and highly advanced. To restore hair in a target area, Dr. Kimmel takes individual follicular units that are still capable of producing hair. These are usually hair follicles on the back of the scalp. The transplanted follicular units receive blood flow that enables them to grow new hair for a prolonged period. Because FUE extracts single hair follicles, you are left with the tiniest dots as scars.
Women generally have moderate hair thinning in a distinct pattern that is well-suited to follicular unit extraction hair transplant treatment. Women also typically have adequate stable hair follicles at the back of the head and an intact hairline. Follicular unit extraction is a good treatment option for women whose hair is thinning across the top of the scalp. The type of hair loss may be androgenic alopecia, plastic surgery scarring, scalp trauma, or traction alopecia.
There are more advantages associated with follicular unit extraction for women than disadvantages. One drawback is that a larger donor area is required for FUE. That said, the doctor diffuses this section in a discrete manner that makes healing more efficient. Furthermore, the alternative (follicular unit transfer) is to have a long, visible scar where the doctor removed a piece of the scalp. The FUE process is relatively time-consuming, taking several hours to complete. This additional time incurs a higher cost. However, because follicular unit extraction is so labor-intensive, it is also known for yielding extraordinary results. The micro-incisions that occur during the FUE procedure heal within a few days, as opposed to two weeks for follicular unit transfer incisions, which shortens the time you may need to use pain medication to manage comfort. Follicular unit extraction does require you to cut the hair in the donor area of your scalp very short, this can be covered with long hair that covers the back of the scalp. The many advantages of follicular unit extraction have quickly made this hair restoration treatment very popular for women who have experienced hair loss.
FUE treatment is performed with a local anesthetic. This involves injections at the donor site as well as the recipient site on the scalp. The first few injections may be slightly uncomfortable as, as the medication works quickly, you can expect your scalp to feel comfortably numb in just a few moments. The anesthetic can last for a prolonged period, ensuring your comfort for the entirety of your procedure.
Yes. FUE is considered microsurgery. It doesn’t involve the longer incisions of the FUT method. Instead, the doctor extracts each follicular unit individually. The result is very discreet, diffused pinpoint scars that fade right away.
After follicular unit extraction, you can expect tiny scabs to form in the donor site as well as the recipient site of your scalp. It is not unusual for patients to experience tightness, aching, and swelling across the scalp and forehead as well as around the eyes. For several days, you must avoid strenuous activity. After one week, you may resume washing your hair and may be able to return to your normal level of exercise.
The FUE procedure is considered very safe due to the discerning extraction of hair follicles. After this procedure, you may experience minor side effects like soreness, itching, and scabbing. There are risks of excessive bleeding, infection, and numbness. Developing a case of hiccups is possible, though very rare.