Hair loss is attributable to multiple factors including aging, hormonal changes and genetics. It can be treated by a number of procedures. However, Zack Charkawi, M.D.at Men’s Health Atlanta in Johns Creek, Georgia, prefers the Follicular Unit Transplant, or FUT, method for restoring hair loss because of the tremendous results the procedure has delivered for his patients. He also has been able to perform FUT for less cost than most of the other methods, making the possibility of hair restoration an affordable option for more people.
Follicular Unit Transplant or FUT
The follicular unit transplant technique, also known as the strip method, is a common procedure for harvesting donor grafts. This surgery can effectively recreate a natural pattern of hair in the patient’s balding or thinning areas, producing an undetectable result. It is an excellent method for moving large numbers of grafts in a single transplantation session in those individuals who have a significant amount of balding. FUT procedures are performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.
Steps in the FUT Process
The strip method entails several steps:
- The hair at the back of the scalp is cut short within the donor area, but the surrounding hair is not trimmed
- The precisely planned scalp section is then surgically excised, and the wound created by the incision is then closed with either stitches or surgical clips.
- The excised part of the scalp is divided into sections and placed under several magnifying lenses, during which time technicians using sharp blades separate grafts into units of one to four hairs.
- During this time, Dr. Charkawi creates the hairline and recipient sites by making hundreds of tiny incisions matching the exact number of grafts to be transplanted.
- He then places the grafts into the sites using microforceps. The grafts are placed in precise positions; single hairs are placed in the front to recreate a natural-appearing hairline, and the remaining larger grafts are placed behind the hairline to provide greater density and thickness in the recipient area.
Potential Risks and Complications
- When performed in the hands of a qualified specialist like Dr. Charkawi, complications are rare. However, every type of surgery has its own set of potential risks. Dr. Charkawi will discuss, in detail, the risks involved during your initial consultation.
- It is normal for the hair contained within the grafts to initially fall out before establishing regrowth in its new location over the following 3-4 months. Every individual is different, so physical reactions and healing abilities are unique and cannot be predicted.
If your hair loss was caused by burns or trauma, then the follicular unit transplant surgery is regarded as a reconstructive treatment and may be covered by health insurance. Should you desire this procedure for cosmetic reasons, the overall cost will be based on several factors:
- Price per hair graft
- Surgeon’s fee
- Anesthesia fees
- Medical tests
- Prescriptions for medication
After Your FUT Procedure
- Immediately following the procedure, you return home with your driver
- For the next several nights, we encourage patients to sleep with their heads elevated on pillows.
- If needed, medication is given for sleep and pain. Antibiotics are generally not required.
- The morning after the hair transplant surgery, you will remove the headband and shower and shampoo your scalp three times.
- We will call the next day to to find out how you are doing and answer any questions. It won’t be necessary for an office visit the day after surgery, but you are welcome to schedule a follow-up if you like.
If the post-operative instructions are followed carefully, the hair transplant is minimally detectable after a few days and almost undetectable after the first week to ten days. Patients are given medication for swelling at the time of surgery but some still experience swelling of the forehead that settles across the bridge of the nose and around the eyes. If this occurs, it is almost always gone by the end of the first week. Every patient is different when it comes to recovery.
The newly-transplanted hair begins to grow at around 10 weeks. It is long enough to be groomed in about 6 months. In most cases, it will be fully grown in at one year. In the few months following hair surgery, before the new hair starts to grow, there may be some shedding of your original hair. The transplanted area may temporarily appear slightly thinner. This is a transient phenomenon, and will be corrected when the new hair begins to grow. It should not be a cause for concern.
Each patient is unique: therefore, results may vary.
Dr. Zack Charkawi at Men’s Health Atlanta offers state-of-the-art surgical hair restoration and advanced medical hair loss treatment to patients from Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming, Milton, Duluth, Lawrenceville, and Sandy Springs. Schedule your consultation today.