Hair transplant surgery has come a long way from “hair plugging” and follicular unit transplants (FUT). Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is the gold standard in today’s hair restoration procedures, and the biggest advancement in this respect has been NeoGraft®. San Francisco area hair restoration specialists Drs. David Lieberman and Sachin Parikh explain how this sophisticated technology has made FUE hair transplanting much more precise, rapid, and natural-looking.
NeoGraft®, which is the first FDA-approved automated and minimally invasive device for hair restoration in the United States, minimizes the likelihood of scarring, as it eliminates the need for any large incisions, staples, sutures, or “plugs”, and allows patients to freely be able to wear their hair long or short in the future.
FUE entails collecting and transplanting thousands of individual “follicular units”, taken from healthy donor sites on the scalp. While the process of follicular unit extraction may be done by hand, the NeoGraft® device offers a much more efficient solution.
This technology improves on the manual collection technique, as it works based on a system of negative pressure (using a small rotatory punch) to rapidly, yet precisely, extract each hair follicle (including the attached shafts and roots) from the donor site. Patients under local anesthesia experience little to no discomfort as the NeoGraft® device works its magic.
During the actual harvest procedure, a magnifier is typically used to closely observe the scalp, while the NeoGraft® device’s micromotor that creates a tiny hole as it extracts each follicular unit. The area is left with a very small, round mark, which will heal over time and ultimately shrink to a tiny dot. And as the hair grows back in the donor area, these already small dots will be obscured from view.
By using NeoGraft®, a doctor is able to control:
- The speed and diameter of the micropunch
- The depth and orientation of each hair follicle
- The distance between each extracted hair follicle
NeoGraft® balances being precise and meticulous with being extremely efficient – as each follicular unit extracted can hold between one to four hairs, the process as a whole can involve the extraction of thousands of hairs in total (typically between 2,500 to 3,000 grafts).
The hair follicles that are removed are completely intact, and the NeoGraft® results in little to no trauma to the surrounding areas of the scalp.
The donor area is typically at the back of the head, as this hair is more resilient to the effects of testosterone fluctuations. Each graft extracted by NeoGraft® has the same consistency in length and diameter, so the results of transplantation is more even and uniform-looking.
While FUE – generally via NeoGraft® – has become the norm in most cases of hair restoration, it may be more appropriate to utilize the strip-harvesting method or try non-surgical methods of for some patients. This can depend on a number of factors, and the most suitable form of harvesting will be best determined in a consultation with an experienced, board-certified physician.
In a few cases, NeoGraft® can even facilitate a type of scar revision without the actual hair transplant. If a white scar, for example, shows through dark hair, NeoGraft® can be used to make tiny holes in the scar, which will revascularize during the healing process and make the scar flesh-colored instead, thus making it much less stark or noticeable.
Drs. Lieberman and Parikh, who are both board-certified head and neck surgeons themselves, would be happy to consult anyone who is looking to learn more about their options for hair restoration and/or determine whether NeoGraft® is right for them. To request an appointment with them, contact the Lieberman & Parikh Center for Hair Restoration online or by phone at (650) 327-3232.