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Steps of a Hair Transplant

Steps of a hair transplant

We’ve covered ways of harvesting hair (FUE and FUT). Once the hair is harvested, be it from the head, neck, or chest area, it needs to be transplanted into the recipient area. There are different ways in which this can be done.

What does the process of transplanting hair look like?

Interestingly, a hair transplant can be compared to planting seeds. The surgeon makes small recipient sites throughout the recipient area and places grafts into them, just like seeds are put into the dirt. Both seeds and grafts then need proper after-care to grow. 
 
The surgeon has a couple of options when it comes to placing the grafts. The technique he chooses and how it is performed will influence the final result. So make sure to ask your surgeon about the technique he will be using. 

How can the recipient sites be made?

The incisions are made with the use of needles and blades. Many surgeons opt for using a blade with a blade handle to make the incisions. As the blade dulls out, the surgeon replaces the blade. The blades can have different diameters, the ones that are usually used are 0.6 millimeters to 0.8 millimeters.

Is there an advantage to using blades over needles?

Some clinics primarily use needles. This is mostly fine, but blades tend to have a tighter fit and result in more accurate angles. Still, you can get great results with needles. Blades are particularly useful for making sites on the face and the head where a flat angle is desired, such as the eyebrows, beard, and temple. It is more difficult to achieve a flat angle with needles.
 
Depending on the recipient area, needles can work just as well as blades and might be what the surgeon prefers to use.

Is the scalp-entry angle always the same?

There are two types of blade entry types: lateral and parallel. The lateral type of entry is also called coronal and the parallel type of entry is called sagittal. The coronal entry will stay true to its size. Hence, if the surgeon likes a 0.7-millimeter blade the length of the slit will be about the same. When the surgeon is doing a sagittal type of entry, the slit's length will be 30-50% longer than the blade size. 

Does the size of the incision matter?

This is where some people get confused. Some might ask: “If you harvested grafts with a 0.9-millimeter punch, which is fairly standard, how can you use a 0.6-millimeter blade?” The answer has two parts to it. First, the actual incision can be longer than the blade as described above. Second, the surgeon wants the grafts to fit into the slits snugly. Surgeons don’t want to make recipient sites that are too big because hair can potentially change angle or direction from what the surgeon intended. When a slit is well sized to the graft, the result is going to be more true to what was planned.

What happens after the recipient sites are made?

Once recipient sites are made, grafts are placed into them. This is typically done by technicians. There are different ways in which the grafts can be placed. For example, technicians can do a freehand placement by using forceps or an implanter pen.
 
Implanter pens are a popular option in some parts of the world. The pens are preloaded with the graft. They have a sharp tip or a dull tip, depending on whether or not sites were pre-made. The grafts are released from the pens into the sites.

Is it better to use implanter pens or forceps?

The biggest advantage of using implanter pens is that bleeding is minimized. The biggest disadvantage is that it is harder to plant in a tighter configuration when using the implanter pens, and to achieve acute angles.
 
The problem with pre-made sites is that you can have more bleeding. The advantage of using blades is that it is easier to make the recipient sites closer together and to reduce popping, in which grafts can come out of their neighboring sites.

The content of this newsletter is for entertainment and educational purposes only. This content is not meant to provide any medical advice or treat any medical conditions. Patients must be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider on an individual basis and treatment must be tailored to meet that patient’s needs. Results and particular outcomes are not guaranteed.

Written by Aleksandra Božović | Edited by Dr. Gary Linkov
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