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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Answers

What is Trichophytic Closure After An FUT Hair Transplant?

Q: I have read that some doctors perform something called a trichophytic closure. What is this? — M.S. ~ Thornwood, N.Y.

A: Trichophytic closure is a way to minimize the appearance of the donor scar in a hair transplant using a strip incision. The technique provides improved camouflage of a linear donor scar in Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). Normally, in FUT, the surrounding hair easily covers the scar. For some patients with very short hairstyles, the resulting donor scar may be visible. With the trichophytic closure technique, Dr. Bernstein trims one of the wound edges (upper or lower), allowing the edges to overlap each other and the hair to grow directly through the donor scar. This can improve the appearance of the donor area in patients who wear their hair very short.

The trichophytic donor closure can be used on patients who have had previous hair transplant procedures and are looking for improvement in the camouflage of their donor scar. It is particularly useful in hair transplant repair or corrective work. Trichophytic closures work best with sutured incisions. Stapled closures have their own advantages. The doctor will recommend which type is best in your case.

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Hair Restoration Research

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP): a Permanent Cosmetic Tattoo to Conceal Hair Loss and Camouflage Scalp Scars

According to an article published in the journal of Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics, scalp micropigmentation (SMP) has been found to be a useful cosmetic treatment for hair loss and scalp scars.

SMP is a scalp tattooing technique that uses fine dots – like a stippled painting – to mimic the appearance of extremely short hairs on an otherwise bald scalp.

SMP can create the appearance of a fuller head of hair on a scalp that is losing hair by softening the contrast between the hair that remains and the color of the scalp. It can also effectively camouflage a scalp scar, like the donor scar from a strip hair transplant procedure, the scar from a scalp reduction or scars from trauma to the scalp.

Finally, SMP can help augment the results from either a Follicular Unit Hair Transplant (FUT) or a Robotic FUE Transplant (R-FUE), especially for patients who do not have enough donor hair to give the appearance of full coverage.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Will Hair Transplant Look If Donor Area Hair Is Dark And Recipient Area Hair Is Gray?

Q: If a person is graying on the top and sides and you do a hair transplant from the back, will the top look darker after the hair restoration? — W.C., Houston, TX

A: The hair is taken from the back and sides of the scalp and the follicular units, once dissected from the donor strip, are randomly inserted into the recipient area. That way, the color of the harvested hair will be mixed and will match perfectly.

Usually, people’s hair is lighter on the top because of the sun, so when you move the hair from the back and sides to the top, it will actually lighten to match the surrounding hair, if it didn’t match already.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Does Strip Harvesting In Hair Transplant Make Donor Area Smaller?

Q: I have been reading about hair transplantation and I have a question concerning FUT (strip-harvesting). I understand, in this method, a strip is excised from the back of the scalp, the wound then closed. I wonder, then, is not the overall surface of the scalp reduced in this procedure? After two or three procedures, especially, (or even after one large session) will not a patient’s hairline also be shifted? That is, the front hairline would move back by the amount of scalp excised, or, more likely, the “rear hairline” (which ends at the back of the neck) must certainly be “moved upward.” At least, this is how I imagine it would be. Is my logic flawed? I’ve been trying to understand this in researching the procedure, but the point still evades me. — M.M., Great Falls, V.A.

A: The hair bearing area is much more distensible (stretchable) than the bald area and just stretches out after the procedure. As a result, the density of the hair in the donor area will decrease with each hair transplant session, but the position of the upper and lower margins of the donor area don’t move much – if at all. As a result, the major limitation of how much donor hair can be removed is the decreasing hair density, rather than a decrease in the size of the donor area.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Are Scalp Exercises Before a Hair Transplant Necessary?

Q: I am scheduled to have a hair transplant next month and wonder if I should do scalp exercises before the procedure? — G.F., Providence, R.I.

A: For the majority of patients, scalp exercises are not necessary.

The scalp in the donor area has a fair amount of redundancy. With a properly planned hair transplant, the donor area will close relatively easily.

If a patient’s scalp is particularly tight, or if a very large session is planned (even in the face of an average scalp), vigorous scalp exercises are useful in increasing laxity.

The advantage of stretching one’s scalp prior to surgery is that it allows the doctor to remove a slightly wider strip and it decreases tension on the closure so the person will heal with a potentially finer scar.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What Are Differences Between Follicular Unit Transplantation, Follicular Unit Extraction, and Ultra-refined FUHT?

Q: What is the difference between the following ways of doing hair transplants: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), Ultra-refined FUHT, and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)? — N.D., Meatpacking, N.Y.

A: Please see the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website as it explains Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) in detail.

In brief, with FUT, follicular units are obtained from the microscopic dissection of a donor strip that has been removed from the back of the scalp. In FUE, the doctor attempts to remove intact follicular units directly from the scalp via a small round instrument called a punch.

Ultra Refined FUHT (Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation) is term that Pat Hennessey uses on his Hair Transplant Network. It refers to using very tiny recipient sites, carefully dissected follicular unit grafts, and large hair transplant sessions in FUHT procedures.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why Change from Sutures to Surgical Staples in FUT Hair Transplants?

Q: I recall that you wrote an article about Monocryl for the donor closure in hair transplants. Why are you now using staples? — R.S., Park Slope, NY

A: I have been using staples in almost all of our follicular unit hair transplants since the beginning of 2006. Continue reading for the detailed explanation as to why I made the switch from sutures to staples.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Do You Use Megasessions or Very Large Graft Sessions In Your Hair Transplant Procedures?

Q: Some surgeons are doing hair transplants using 5,000 to 6,000 grafts in a single surgery. Looking at the cases in your photo gallery, it seems like your hair transplants involve many fewer grafts per surgery. Do you do such large graft numbers in a single hair restoration procedure? — H.P., Cranston, R.I.

A: The goal in surgical hair restoration should be to achieve the best results using the least amount of donor hair (the patient’s permanent reserves) and not simply to transplant the most grafts in one session. In my opinion, although large sessions are very desirable, the recent obsession with extremely large numbers of grafts in one session is misplaced. The focus should be on results.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Big is the Donor Strip in an FUT Hair Transplant?

Q: Can you give me an idea of the average width of a donor strip, i.e. the actual width taken from the back of your scalp for a hair transplant? — A.E., Fort Lee, N.J.

A: The average donor strip is 1cm wide, although this will vary depending on the patient’s scalp laxity, density, and the number of grafts desired for the hair restoration.

The length also depends on the number of grafts needed. We average 90-100 follicular unit grafts per cm2 of donor tissue (that is the density of follicular units in an average person).

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Hair Restoration Answers

In FUT Hair Transplant, How Important Are Microscopes?

Q: I went to a hair transplant doctor for a consultation for my hair loss and he said that it was not that important to use microscopes for hair transplants. I had heard that it was. What’s the deal? — V.F., Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.

A: It is extremely important to use microscopes when performing hair transplants. It is the only way that follicular units, the naturally occurring groups of hair follicles, can be isolated from the donor tissue without damaging them.

Other techniques, such as magnifying loops and back-lighting are not as precise. Using microscopically dissected follicular units in hair transplants has been the main advance that has allowed doctors to move away from the older mini-micrografting hair restoration techniques to the current procedure that can produce totally natural results.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is Follicular Unit Extraction and What Other Terms are Associated with the Procedure?

Q: I am considering having an FUE procedure and have heard the phrases topping, capping, and tethering as part of the procedure. What do all these terms mean? — C.C., Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.

A: These are all terms that refer to the types of injury that can occur to grafts during a follicular unit extraction procedure.

In FUE, a sharp instrument (or sharp instrument followed by a blunt one) is used to separate follicular units from the surrounding donor tissue. Forceps are then used to remove the follicular units from the scalp.

Topping occurs in the first step when the doctor accidentally cuts off the top of the graft so that the remainder of the graft cannot be removed.

Capping occurs when the doctor grabs a graft with forceps and the top of the graft (the epidermis and upper dermis) pulls off, leaving the rest of the graft behind.

Tethering occurs when the bottom of the graft is still attached to the deeper tissues after the first step causing the follicular unit to pull apart during extraction.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is Best Hair Transplant Density and do You Measure Maximum or Overall Hair Density?

Q: Dear Dr. Bernstein, a full head of hair averages ~100 FU/cm2. To achieve the appearance of fullness with a hair transplant 50% is required. In one of your articles you say that you recommend 25 FU / cm2 to your patients. Is that the density per one session or the final one? If that is final density, then it is far below the 50%. Please explain as I am profoundly confused. — W.N., Easton, C.T.

A: If a person is to become a Norwood Class 6, the hair that we have available for us to transplant is only about 12% of what was there originally. This, of course, will vary from patient to patient depending upon one’s donor density and scalp laxity and a host of other factors.

We make the hair restoration look good by restoring 25-50% in the front, and proportionately less in the back. Logically one cannot restore 1/2 of ones original density to an entire bald scalp with only a thin strip of donor hair – there is just not enough hair, even with multiple sessions.

I transplant 25-35 FU/mm2 in one session, but this is the density created in the front, not overall.

Due to follicular unit graft sorting (placing the larger follicular units in the forelock area) this provides even more density than the actual numbers suggest. If someone is relatively certain to have more limited hair loss, then the numbers can be increased, but it is risky if you underestimate the degree of eventual hair loss.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Do You Determine Size of Hair Transplant Donor Strip?

Q: I am interested in FUT. How do you figure out how large a strip to use for the hair restoration when transplanting all follicular units? — P.K., New York City, N.Y.

A: The length of the donor strip incision is determined by the number of follicular unit grafts required for the hair restoration.

There are slightly less than 100 follicular units/cm2, so if a 1cm wide strip is used, a hair restoration procedure requiring 1800 grafts would need a strip that measured slightly more than 18cm in length.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why is Strip Harvesting in Hair Transplant Procedure Still Popular?

Q: Why are strips used so much in a hair transplant when there is now Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)? — E.N., Long Island, N.Y.

A: Strip harvesting is used in the majority of hair transplant procedures because it allows the surgeon the ability to perform hair transplant sessions using large numbers of grafts while minimizing injury to the patient’s hair follicles.

This is possible because once a strip is removed from the back of the scalp, the tissue can be placed under a stereomicroscope where dissection is accomplished using direct visualization of the follicular units. This allows the grafts to be dissected with minimal trauma.

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Hair Restoration Answers

After Hair Transplant, Can Donor Hair Become Frizzy and Dry?

Q: Why can donor hair become frizzy and dry once transplanted? — G.F., Stamford, C.T.

A: Frizzing and kinkiness is a temporary phenomenon that is part of the normal healing process after a follicular unit hair transplant.

During the healing process, the new collagen that forms around the grafts can alter their growth. Over time, usually within a year, this collagen matures and the hair quality usually returns to normal.

If grafts have been excessively traumatized or grafts larger than follicular units have been used, these changes are more likely to be permanent.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Bernstein Medical Launches FollicularUnitForum.Com, A New Website Where Hair Transplant Questions are Answered by Actual Patients

Follicular Unit Forum - Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair RestorationFollicular Unit Forum is unique in that it affords visitors an opportunity to anonymously ask questions about the “ins and outs” of hair transplant surgery, of those who actually have had the state-of-the-art Follicular Unit Hair Transplant procedures.

Questions are posted to people who have actually undergone hair restoration procedures. Individuals who are considering a surgical solution to their hereditary baldness are able to search through “threads” or conversations that will answer their most pressing concerns such as; what to expect before, during and after a hair transplant, and what kind of procedure one should have.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Many Grafts are in the Typical Donor Strip in an FUT Hair Transplant?

Q: If I had a hair transplant using Follicular Unit Transplantation, how many grafts would be in a 15cm by 1cm donor strip, on average? — J.A. Point Pleasant, N.J.

A: In a person with average donor density there are approximately 100 follicular units per square centimeter. A 15cm long strip would have slightly less than 1500 grafts due to the tapering of the strip ends.

Therefore, in a hair transplant of 1500 follicular unit grafts, one should take out a 17 cm x 1cm strip (that includes the tapered ends). This is 15cm2.

Read about the number of grafts in a hair transplant

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Hair Restoration Answers

What are Follicular Unit Transplantation and Follicular Unit Extraction, and How do They Differ?

Q: What is Follicular Unit Transplantation and how is it different from Follicular Unit Extraction? — H.L., White Plains, NY

A: Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation, called FUT for short, is a procedure where hair is transplanted in the naturally occurring groups of one to four hair follicles. These individual groups of hair, or units, are dissected from a single donor strip using a stereo-microscope. The area where the donor strip was removed is sutured closed, generally leaving a thin, fine, line scar.

In Follicular Unit Extraction, or FUE, the individual units are removed directly from the back or sides of the scalp through a small round instrument called a punch. There is no linear scar. There is, however, scarring from the removal of each follicle. Although the scars of FUE are tiny and round, the total amount of scarring is actually more than in FUT.

In addition, since in FUE the bald skin around each follicular unit is not removed, the total amount of hair that can be removed in FUE is substantially less than in FUT. This is because if one were to remove all the hair in an area, it would be bald. In FUT, the intervening bald tissue is removed along with the follicles in the strip.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein and Hair Transplant Patient Featured on NBC’s ‘Today’ with Matt Lauer

“Over the past 10 years we’ve developed a new procedure called follicular unit transplantation, where hair is transplanted exactly the way it grows,” said Dr. Robert Bernstein […] This new technique replaces the plugs — groups of hairs inserted into round holes in the scalp — used in the early days of hair transplant procedures. It is now known that hair grows in groups of one to four hairs.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Follicular Hair Transplantation Makes Splash After Bernstein Introduces Procedure To American Academy of Dermatology

Cosmetic Surgery Times
Cosmetic Surgery Times - April 1997

Cosmetic Surgery Times features Dr. Bernstein’s presentation to the 55th annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in their April 1997 issue.

The article describes Dr. Bernstein’s introduction of the concept of Follicular Unit Transplantation to the academy as well as the keys to making the technique successful. From the article:

“‘Hair doesn’t grow singly it grows in naturally occurring groups of from one to four hairs. In follicular transplantation, we use these naturally occurring groups as the unit of the transplant,’ he told CST.

Although the procedure is highly labor intensive, it can actually be less expensive than conventional hair replacement surgery, because it can be performed in a single, but lengthy, session.

‘It is also much more efficient and conserves donor hair much better than conventional hair transplants. Every time you make an incision in the person’s scalp you waste some hair and make the remaining hair more difficult to remove. Accessing the donor area just once or twice will increase the total amount of hair that is available for the transplant,’ Dr. Bernstein told CST.”

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