Follicular Unit Transplantation – The strip method
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), commonly known as “the strip method”, is the traditional hair transplant method where a strip of tissue is harvested from the donor area and dissected under microscope into natural groupings called follicular units, or grafts. These grafts are then placed into micro incisions, called recipient sites, which are created in the thinning area. These recipient sites are created using a pattern designed to produce a natural and undetectable result.
Our hair transplant physician starts by identifying the safe area for the tissue to be harvested. This area, which is referred to as the “donor area’ is meant to last forever and is located on the back part of the scalp. The donor area is evaluated for both density and laxity which will determine the size of the tissue that will be harvested. Once the strip of tissue is harvested, the donor area is sutured closed using a trichophytic closure technique. This technique allows hair to grow through the linear scar which helps to camouflage its visibility.
Once the strip of tissue has been harvested, it is placed under microscope and dissected into individual follicular units, or grafts. Each graft is trimmed down to an individual natural grouping unit which usually consists of 1 to 4 hairs. Excess tissue is trimmed from each graft to create as small of a graft as possible. Smaller grafts lead to less trauma and an accelerated healing process. These individual grafts are all individually counted and grouped into petri dishes based on the number of hairs per graft. These petri dishes are kept hydrated and at the proper temperature to ensure maximum survival.
While the grafts are being prepared, the physician designs a plan for placement and distribution of the grafts in order to obtain a natural and undetectable result. Factors that influence this plan include the number of follicles harvested, the size of surface area that will be transplanted, and patient goals. Once the plan is created, the physician makes micro-incisions into the thinning area called “recipient sites”. Our physician takes care to minimize trauma to any pre-existing hair and uses artistry to create sites at proper depth and angles in order to produce a natural and undetectable result.
Once the recipient sites are created, individual follicles are placed into the sites one after another by hand. One and two hair grafts are used to create a natural soft hairline while three and four hair grafts are used to add density behind the hairline, just as nature made it.
A FUT procedure takes a full day to complete. Patients spend the day watching movies, working on their tablets, eating lunch, and may even take a nap during the procedure.