A standard hair transplant procedure involves removing the donor hair band from the back of the head, from where the follicular unit transplants are prepared under a microscope. These grafts are then stored in saline and then transplanted to a bald spot in the crown area of the scalp.
Because of the lengthy and time-consuming process, a hair transplant surgeon can often only transplant about 500 to 600 follicular grafts per day. However, thanks to recent advances in hair transplantation, this technique is often replaced by follicular unit extraction (FUE). The cost per FUE transplant is typically twice the cost of the standard procedure described above for hair transplantation with follicular units, but is comparatively faster and minimally invasive.
Some progress in hair transplantation
In a typical FUE procedure, a small round blow is performed in the donor area to directly extract 1, 2, 3 and 4 hair follicle grafts. The follicular units extracted by this method are commonly referred to as “blunt dissection”, in which a blow is performed to envelop the entire follicular unit and separate it from the surrounding soft tissue.
Once the underlying follicular unit is separated from the surrounding tissue, it can be easily extracted using small tweezers. The small holes that remain after the extraction of the follicular unit gradually heal over the next few days and are no longer visible to the naked eye as soon as the patient’s hair grows. The healing time is much shorter than that of the donor strip extraction process.
Although the FUE procedure has been adopted by most hair transplant clinics, the standard band removal procedure remains the most popular hair transplant procedure because it is more economical than FUE.
Due to some recent advances in hair transplantation, such as the use of the trichophytic closure technique, the linear scar of the donor created by the tape removal process is now often made almost invisible to the naked eye. This further development of the hair transplant technique has made the FUE procedure relatively less attractive.
Hair transplant research
In addition to advances in hair transplantation in transplant procedures, much research is also done to clone hair. If hair transplant research is successful, multiple copies of donor hair can be made in the laboratory. The application of this technique would be used in the form of a hair transplant. In conventional methods, the greatest limitation is often the donor who cannot achieve the required density. However, hair cloning promises to overcome this problem by having the amount of hair required for growth in a laboratory come from a single donor hair and then implant it into the scalp.