Hair Plugs vs Follicular unit extraction

Hair Plugs vs Follicular unit extraction

Alopecia, more commonly referred to as hair loss, is one of the most common medical conditions worldwide. The psychological repercussions of hair loss are one of the factors that make it so desirable for people to restore their hair through surgery and various medications. A healthy head of hair is a sign of strength, health, and young age. Treatments for hair loss have evolved over the years, however, and hair transplant Michigan centers are offering newer and more advanced techniques every year. In this article, we are going to cover the difference between Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE and hair plugs, a method used in the past.

History of Hair Transplantation

History of Hair TransplantationHair transplantation has been around since the 60s when dermatologist Norman Orentreich published a study in which it was shown that transplanted hair grafts in patients with androgenetic alopecia presented stable and permanent growth. During the study, Orentreich used a 4mm diameter punch to obtain the grafts from the donor area, as well as to make the holes where the grafts are placed in the balding area. Even though the hair grafts with these punches achieved spectacular hair growth, becoming very popular in the initial years, the result did not look natural.

With advancements in recent years, mainly with the microscopic dissection of follicular unit grafts, we can finally banish the idea that hair transplanting is an aggressive technique that produces unnatural results. The exclusive use of follicular units has allowed surgeons to achieve natural, undetectable and replicable results, as opposed to previous techniques.

Two of the most popular hair transplant techniques include hair plugs and Follicular Unit Extraction, the first is a traditional technique that has been fading away thanks to the development more natural looking methods, and FUE is a novel technique which has gained popularity in recent years thanks to its excellent results and few complications.

What are hair plugs?

This is a very obsolete hair transplant technique that was used for the first time in 1959 and consists of the use of a punching tool for the extraction of tissue from the back of the scalp (donor area) of approximately 4 mm of diameter containing between 15-20 hairs, later these hair plugs were implanted in the areas affected by alopecia.

When the hair plugs are removed, they leave very large circular scars below the hair, so that the back of the head maintains a polka-dot appearance after healing.

The hair plugs provide an unnatural appearance because the transplanted hair grows in clusters and does not mix very well with the patients natural hair.

What is follicular unit extraction?

FUE (Follicular unit extraction) is a minimally invasive hair transplant technique and is considered the most advanced hair transplant technique available. FUE involves the direct extraction of follicular units from the donor area, using a small punch, usually 0.7-1.0 mm, following the emergency angulation of the hair. This technique produces minimal hypo-pigmentation at the donor region and, in turn, less post-operative pain. Hair transplantation through FUE allows for natural looking hair growth that perfectly blends with the rest of your hair. Therefore, FUE gains more acceptance day by day in patients suffering from alopecia.

What is follicular unit extraction?

FUE is a procedure that requires dedication, skill and the right tools. A heavily experienced hair transplants Michigan surgeon is needed to achieve maximum results from your surgery. The type of hair, the percentage of follicular units and hair follicle density are the most important factors for the success of the procedure, therefore these factors must be taken into account when determining if the patient is an adequate candidate for transplantation.

The donor hair can be extracted from different parts of the body, including the trunk, the extremities, the neck, and pubis. However, the hair characteristics of these areas differ in terms of growth cycles and diameter. These areas have a small number of hairs per follicular unit, so twice as many grafts are required to achieve the same number that can be obtained from the scalp. based on the density of the donor area, the number of follicular units that must be extracted will be assessed. For most patients, hair is taken from the back and sides of the head as these hairs are more resistant to balding. This hair can also be transplanted onto the face to create a fuller beard.

The choice of follicular units will depend on your goals and on the opinion of your Michigan hair transplant surgeon. If the goal is higher density, units of three or more hairs should be chosen. On the other hand, if the aim is to transplant eyebrows, eyelashes, or redefine the frontal hairline, follicular units of one and two hairs are the most appropriate.

The best way to improve the aesthetics of the donor area is to disperse the extractions over a large area. Thus, the decrease in density will be less obvious.

After the procedure, the donor area has multiple orifices that, after two days, are covered with minimal crusts that will detach on the sixth day, leaving only minimal hypopigmentation that will become unnoticed as your hair grows longer and hides them.

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About Author: Luke Yaldo

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I founded SurgeonGate to help patients learn about cosmetic medicine and reach the most experienced and specialized surgeons in the state of Michigan. I hope that by reading our content, you can become a more confident patient and make informed decisions about your body. Thank you for working with us!