09 Mar Maximising Hair Transplant Success: Ideal Candidates and Avoiding Pitfalls
Overharvesting, what does this mean?
When searching for advice on hair transplants, it can be overwhelming to navigate the different techniques and outcomes. One popular method is Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), which involves taking single grafts using a skin punch. This technique was developed about 12 years ago and was marketed as an alternative to traditional hair transplants, as it promised to leave no surgical scar at the back of the head. However, in recent years, we are seeing cases of FUE ‘overharvesting’, where too many grafts are taken, leading to visible scars and an unnatural appearance.
Be cautious as to what is promised.
It’s important to note that not all patients are ideal candidates for FUE. For example, those with extensive and progressive hair loss, especially at the crown, are not good candidates. Also, those with tightly curled hair or fine hair may not see good results from FUE grafts. On the other hand, FUE may be a good option for patients with mild hair loss at the frontal hairline, as it can provide a natural-looking result with single and double hair grafts.
Ideal candidates for FUE include:
- Patients with mild hair loss at the frontal hairline, as single and double hair grafts can provide a natural appearance.
- Young individuals who may have natural age-related hair loss.
- Those with straight, dark hair.
- Areas requiring up to 1200 FUE grafts, as harvesting this amount will not be easily noticeable except when the head is shaved.
Non-ideal candidates for FUE include:
- Patients with extensive and progressive hair loss, especially at the crown.
- Those with tightly curled hair.
- Those with fine hair, as coverage from FUE grafts is typically low in these cases.
It’s important to remember that once a FUE area has been harvested, tiny scars prevent easy access for future work, and over-harvesting is permanent. Hair does not grow back from where the FUE grafts have been taken.
Not suitable for FUE, then FUT might be appropriate.
If a patient is not an ideal candidate for FUE, they may consider another technique called Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). FUT involves harvesting a strip of scalp from the donor area, which is then dissected into individual follicular units for transplantation. Although this method does leave a straight scar at the back of the head, it can provide better overall coverage for patients with extensive hair loss, and the scar is typically hidden by surrounding hair.
Make informed decisions.
Ultimately, the best technique for each patient will depend on factors such as the extent of hair loss, hair texture, and individual goals. Dr. Michael Molton can help patients determine which technique is best suited to their unique needs by taking a medical history and performing a thorough examination of the scalp.