Hearing the phrase hair plugs is enough to send a chill down your spine. Mention hair plugs in casual conversation, and there is an almost universal impulse to recoil. Unsightly and painfully obvious, hair plugs are perceived by many as a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to reclaim the confidence and youthful allure of “normal” hair.
Today, we can do better than hair plugs. Much better.
Hair plugs are uncommon today, given the rapid evolution of hair loss treatment that has occurred over the past few decades. The “pluggy” hair transplant procedures of the past are long gone. Today, they have been replaced by more advanced procedures that leave virtually no sign that a hair transplant has been performed.
Beyond Hair Plugs
Below are several pictures of real patients who have recently elected to have a hair transplant procedure performed by Dr. Nusbaum and Dr. Rose at our hair loss clinic. Together, they illustrate just how far we’ve come since the hair plugs of the ‘80s.
When asked, an overwhelming 85% of Americans cannot identify patients who have had a hair transplant procedure (i).
What Has Replaced Hair Plugs?
Today, there are two fundamental approaches to hair transplant surgery that have replaced hair plugs. The first is strip donor micrografting, and the second is follicular unit extraction (FUE). Both are known to deliver exceptional results.
Strip Donor Procedure
The strip donor procedure is an evolved form of hair transplant surgery. Following initial consultation, the hair transplant surgeon discusses the procedure with the patient, showing him or her how their hair will be surgically restored. Following consultation, the strip donor procedure is performed in 3 basic steps.
First, a linear strip of follicular units is removed from an area of the patient’s scalp designated as the donor area. Next, that linear strip, or micrograft, is separated into tiny clusters of follicular units and prepped for transplant. Finally, each follicular unit is transplanted to the recipient area in a way that restores the scalp with natural density, thickness, and undulation.
Follicular Unit Extraction
Follicular Unit Extraction is a highly refined method of hair transplant that is performed in a similar fashion as strip donor procedures, with 1 major difference. Rather than extracting a linear strip of donor hair, surgeons use a punch instrument to remove clusters of donor follicles individually. Following extraction, these donor follicles are prepped for transplant and implanted to restore the donor area.
New: Robotic FUE
In the past decade, few things have made a more positive and transcendent impact on the medical community as robotic technologies. In the field of hair restoration, robots and advanced high resolution imaging now help surgeons to perform FUE procedures with even greater accuracy, precision, and reproducibility.
Hair transplant robotics technologies, like the ARTAS by Restoration Robotics™, enable surgeons to extract a greater number of donor follicles, without the downside of physical or mental fatigue. Following extraction, surgeons manually transplant the donor follicles just as they would in a typical FUE procedure.
Learn more about robotic FUE with the ARTAS in Miami.
Am I a Candidate for Hair Transplant?
To learn more about hair transplant procedures, visit this page on surgical hair restoration techniques. To learn if you are a candidate for strip donor or FUE procedures, contact the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami online or call 305-925-0222.
(i) “2010 Hair Transplant Challenge Survey.” International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery. Accessed 17 June 2013.