Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is a hair restoration procedure where hair is transplanted exclusively in its naturally occurring groups of 1-4 hairs. These groups, or follicular units, are obtained through the microscopic dissection of tissue taken from a single donor strip or extracted directly from the donor area (Follicular Unit Extraction). Because Follicular Unit Hair Transplants mimic the way hair grows in nature, the results, in expert hands, will look completely natural and be indistinguishable from one’s original hair (see some of these results in our Hair Transplant Photos section). Another advantage of performing a hair transplant using follicular units is the ability to place these tiny grafts into very small recipient sites. The small sites cause minimal damage to the skin and allow the surgeon to safely transplant thousands of hair grafts in a single session and to complete the hair restoration as quickly as possible. The tiny needle-sized recipient sites heal in just a few days without leaving any marks.
Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation was conceived by Dr. Bernstein and first described in the 1995 landmark publication “Follicular Transplantation.” The paper stressed the importance of using large sessions of follicular unit grafts to maximize the aesthetic outcome of the follicular hair transplant surgery and of using very small recipient wounds to facilitate healing. It laid the foundation for Follicular Unit Transplantation by explaining why these naturally occurring units should be kept intact. It detailed the way to assess the patient’s donor supply and, most importantly, described how to distribute follicular unit hair grafts according to a long-term plan. (See Bernstein’s Publications) Follicular Unit Transplantation was a major advance over the mini-micrografting hair transplant procedure that preceded it. In mini-micrografting, the graft sizes were arbitrarily determined by the hair restoration doctor who cut the donor tissue into different size pieces (this technique was also called grafts “cut to size”). Minigrafts, which might contain up to 12 hairs, were bulky and could produce a tufted appearance. They also could result in a dimpling of the underlying skin. Micrografts, on the other hand, were frequently damaged during the removal process or were too fragile to survive
In Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation, special stereo-microscopes enable meticulous hair graft dissection, so that the integrity of follicular units can be preserved. This process also enables the careful removal of the non-hair bearing scalp around the units. This process ensures that all of the growth elements of the hair follicle remain intact and that the hair grafts are kept as small as possible.Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), performed under stereo-microscopic control with single strip harvesting, is currently the most powerful hair restoration technique, consistently yielding the most viable grafts, the most natural look, and giving the surgeon the ability to safely transplant the most grafts in one session.
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