What’s All the FUSS About? A Closer Look at Hair Transplants

hair-transplant

Hair is a natural part of the human body. Hair loss is natural, even if a person is not “going bald” its normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day. Hair transplants can be a method to restore hair that is lost by Androgenetic Alopecia, or patients experiencing pattern baldness. Hair transplants cost anywhere between $4000 and $15,000 and is not covered by most insurance plans.

FUE and FUSS

Hair transplants have been done since the 1950’s. The process has changed since then. Today, transplanted hair comes from another portion of the body, usually the back of the scalp. After a consultation appointment, a patient will undergo one of the two different transplant methods. Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) or Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). Both surgical methods are considered punch grafting procedures.

During the first step of FUSS, a 6 to 10-inch strip of skin is removed from the back of the patient’s head. The removed strip of scalp is the donor strip. The surgeon sets donor strip aside, and sews the scalp close. The area is hidden by hair. The surgical team divides the donor strip into 500 to 2,000 tiny grafts. Each graft has an individual hair or multiple hairs. Determining factors for the type of graft a patient gets are hair type, hair color, and size of the area the patient is getting hair transplanted.

During the first stage of FUE, the surgical team shaves the back of the patient’s scalp. The doctor removes hair follicles one by one from the shaved area. Dots form on the healed area. The remaining steps are the same as the FUSS procedure.

During both procedures, the surgeon will numb and clean the area of the scalp hair will be transplanted. Next, the surgeon creates holes, or slits with a needle or scalpel, and grafts are inserted into each of the holes. The procedure takes 4 – 8 hours.

Majority of patients return to work 2-5 days after the procedure. During the first three weeks after the procedure the transplanted hair falls out. Patients usually don’t notice hair growth for the first 4-6 months. Majority of patients experience 60% new hair growth in the first 9 months.