Robotic Hair Transplants & Hair Restoration
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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
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

Do You Use Sutures or Staples in an FUT Hair Transplant?

Q: Can you please comment on the use of sutures verses staples in hair restoration procedures? — S.S., Prospect Park, NY

A: Sutures are great on non-hair bearing skin and allow perfect approximation of the wound edges, but on the scalp they can cause damage to hair follicles below the skin’s surface. The reason is that a running (continuous) suture traps hair follicles and when the skin swells (as it normally does after hair transplants) the trapped follicles can strangulate and die.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is the Benefit of Staples in Closing Hair Transplant Donor Incision?

Q: I have heard that staples are uncomfortable after the hair transplant, why do doctors use them? — B.E., Great Falls, V.A.

A: Staples are used for two main reasons.

The first is that being made of stainless steel; they don’t react with the skin and, therefore, cause little inflammation.

The second is that, unlike sutures which are used with a continuous spiral stitch, each staple is separate and this causes minimal interruption to the blood supply.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What Causes Poor Hair Growth After Hair Transplant?

Q I had a hair transplant 15 months ago at a well known clinic in Manhattan. There were about 1000 grafts transplanted in the front hair line. At this point I am upset with my results. My guess is that only about 50 new hairs have grown. My question is what would cause this to happen? It seems to me that the hair transplant took longer than expected and my grafts died before they were placed! Please help! — B.E., Ithaca, N.Y.

A There are many factors that can contribute to poor growth during the hair restoration process including grafts that are left out of the holding solution too long or kept under the microscope for a prolonged period of time where they dry out.

Grafts can be injured in the dissection process or can be traumatized during the placing – if they are grasped too tightly or manipulated too much.

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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

What is Tumescent Anesthesia and is it Used in a Hair Transplant Procedure?

Q: I have read about something called “tumescent anesthesia” but didn’t understand what it is. What exactly is it? — S.S., Hoboken, N.J.

A: Tumescent techniques were first popularized in liposuction surgery where large quantities of fluid containing adrenalin were injected into the person’s fat layer to decrease bleeding before the fat was literally sucked out of the body. Bleeding was minimized because the epinephrine (adrenaline) constricted blood vessels and the fluid compressed the blood flow in the smallest blood vessels called capillaries.

The technique allowed small liposuction procedures to be performed safely as an out-patient procedure. In surgical hair restoration, low concentrations of anesthetic fluid and adrenaline are injected into the fat layer in the back of the scalp.

In a hair transplant, besides decreasing the bleeding, the fluid makes the skin more rigid so that the incision can be more easily made without cutting hair follicles. It also helps the doctor avoid damage to the deeper blood vessels and nerves in the scalp.

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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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Hair Restoration Answers

In an FUT Hair Transplant, What Percentage of Telogen Phase Follicles in Donor Strip are Wasted?

Q: When a donor strip is taken out during a hair transplant and separated under the microscope, you can read on the internet that there is a wastage of grafts (about 15%), because of those unseen telogen hairs. What do you think about that and how does it affect the hair restoration? — T.B. Baldwin, New York

A: The Telogen phase of the hair cycle is about 3 months long and about 12% of follicles are in this phase at any one time. It is speculated that the follicles may be empty for perhaps 1/2 that time (this number may vary significantly between people). Therefore, approximately 6% of the hair follicles may be in telogen at any one time.

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Hair Restoration Answers

In Hair Transplant, What is Effect of Dense Packing on Grafts?

Q: Does dense packing hurt grafts? — P.L., Rye, NY

A: There is no absolute answer to this question. In a hair transplant, dense packing has a risk of decreasing yield if there is a significant amount of photo damage to the scalp (which alters the blood supply) and if there is a tendency for the grafts to pop (this is difficult to predict pre-operatively). Very closely spaced grafts exacerbates the popping and exposes the grafts to desiccation (drying), hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and mechanical trauma from the necessary re-insertion.

That said, the skill of the hair transplant surgeon and placing team, the size of the recipient sites, and the way the grafts are dissected and trimmed all play important roles in determining graft survival in dense packing.

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