In continuation from the previous article, this one proceeds to look at other aspects of follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and how each differs from the other.
- The survival rate of the grafts or follicular units
As is the case with any other medical procedure, being careful is something that every doctor needs to keep as his or her top priority. Maintaining a careful approach is crucial in the world of hair restoration, because one wrong step and the follicles being extracted could be completely damaged. This would defeat the entire purpose of the extraction.
When a graft is extracted, it becomes exposed to the atmosphere and this could lead quite easily to the grafts becoming dehydrating and dying. The follicles still continue with the metabolic purpose, which could lead to a certain kind of poisoning. These are just some of the reasons why follicle harvesting needs to be done with care and in the appropriate environment. When the follicular units are extracted, they need to be kept aside with care, till the time their need arises. A proper physiological solutions needs to be prepared, in which these units should be stored and kept moist.
Whether the grafts are from an FUE or FUT procedure, the method of protecting them will be quite the same. However, in FUE grafts there is an elevated level of sensitivity, because in the extraction process, there is minimal protective tissue around the follicles.
If you have chosen a good doctor and a reputed clinic, you will have little to worry about.
- The actual number of grafts and the density of the same
The number of grafts that need to be harvested depends completely on the area of the head that needs to be covered. The precise number of grafts is something an experienced doctor will be able to judge quite easily. Normally, 1000 to 5000 follicular units are required for a transplant which can be done in one or two sessions depending on the donor area and the experience of the surgeon. If done properly, extraction should be successful in either of the procedures. The density of the follicular units should ideally be between thirty to fifty FU per each square centimeter. This again can be attained through either of the processes.
Even when done by an experienced doctor, there is always the chance that some of the grafts are damaged during the extraction process. When there are lesser grafts, there will obviously be a lower possibility of a full head of hair. This is so because there are lesser grafts to work with and there is also the chance that more than one graft might not take root.
- The actual implanting process
When an experienced doctor is at the helm, you can be sure that the right amount of grafts are harvested, they are placed in the correctly prepared physiological solution and then implanted in the precisely designated areas. When the grafts are implanted at the right density and in tandem with the direction of the natural hair, you will have a head of hair that looks truly stunning.
While the extraction process is important, the recipient area also needs to be treated with equal care. The incisions that are made in this area have to be made carefully and a good clinic will have customized blades, which are designed in accordance to each person. With such a blade in hand, the doctor will be able to ensure that the length, depth and angle of each incision is accurate and there is minimal damage to the follicles. It is important to note that the right incisions will lead to the grafts being able to connect with the all-important nerves and blood vessels much faster. This is something that will affect the rate of survival of the follicles and ensure that the hair transplant looks natural.
- The eventual healing
There is no doubt that like any other surgical procedure, a hair transplant too can lead to some amount of discomfort. However, whether you are undergoing FUT or FUE, you will be given local anaesthesia and in certain cases, people have complained about feeling a sense of tension on their scalp. This, however is a temporary effect of the medication and will disappear in a few days.
Although the actual healing process is much faster in FUT, the numbness that is often associated with this process is altogether missing in FUE. But the slight swelling might appear with both procedures. However, if proper instructions are followed, then that can also be eliminated.
- Shedding of transplanted hair in post-op period is imminent
One would think that after getting hair transplant done, there is no more hair falling out, but the fact of the matter is that there will be shedding after doing either of the procedures. However, this loss of hair is completely normal and happens with 98% people undergoing a transplant. While for some people the loss might only be in the area where the transplant took place, there might be those who lose hair in the surrounding areas too. It is important to remember that the hair will grow back over time and this time to stay!
Choosing whether the FUE or FUT process is ideal for you, is something that would best be decided post an extensive session with your doctor. If the area is small where 2000-2500 grafts are required, then you can go for FUE and if more than that is required in one session then you can go for FUT or a combination of FUT & FUE. Hence, there are pros and cons to both and a doctor will be able to suggest the right course of action.