Follicular Unit Transplantation
Follicular Unit Transplantation is the technique of permanent surgical hair restoration in which hair is transplanted from the permanent zone in the back of the scalp into areas affected by genetic balding. We do this by using only one’s own naturally occurring, individual follicular units.
What Are Follicular Units?
Hair naturally grows in clusters of one, two, three, and sometimes four hairs. These naturally occurring groups of hair are called Follicular Units. The follicular unit is very small and can only be identified under magnification. Notice that they are scattered about in an irregular pattern. Hair grows in an irregular pattern in follicular units.
This growth pattern means that an excellent hair transplant replicates nature by relocating these naturally occurring follicular units from the donor area to the bald area (recipient site) one at a time.
Follicular Units – Magnified
Hair Transplantation is a surgical technique that we perform in our Los Angeles hair transplant practice. Hair is transferred from the “permanent” area of the scalp to other areas exhibiting hair loss that is due to heredity or other causes.
The logic behind hair transplantation rests on the following phenomenon: hair on the top of the scalp genetically differs from hair on the back and sides of the head. More specifically, the permanent hair zone, namely the sides and back of the scalp, does not respond to the genetic and hormonal factors that cause hair loss in the genetically susceptible region, i.e. the top of the head. Most individuals experiencing hair loss on the top of their scalp will present with relatively thick hair on the back and sides of their scalp that will endure for the rest of their lives.
Another fundamental phenomenon on which the hair transplant procedure is founded is “donor dominance.” This means that when a hair follicle is transplanted it will maintain its original characteristics. If a doctor were to move hair from an area genetically susceptible to hair loss to the permanent hair zone, it would still fall out when it was destined to do so. Conversely, when hair is transferred from the permanent zone to an area of genetically susceptible hair, the hair from the permanent hair zone will endure.
This sheds light on a question I regularly receive in my hair transplant consultations, “is the transplanted hair that we move in a hair transplant temporary or permanent?” Based on the aforementioned information, we can confidently say that the hair from the permanent hair zone will endure. Clients from our Los Angeles hair transplant practice agree. The only exception to this is some rare cases where the cause of the hair loss is due to some other unusual reason.
In hair transplant procedures we move hair from the permanent hair zone using “follicular units” which are naturally occurring clusters of hair that grow in the scalp. Each follicular unit can comprise between 1-5 hairs. Typically, most people average approximately 2.5 hairs per follicle over the entire scalp. By transferring the follicular units in their naturally occurring groupings, we create the most natural result whilst optimizing the chance for graft survival.
Although we typically move hair using follicular units, in certain unique instances, we prefer to utilize single hair follicles. One example of where we might do this is the hairline because a natural hairline usually only consists of single hair follicles. Two hair follicles are placed behind the single hair follicles in the hairline and the larger, natural follicles are positioned behind the two hair follicles. This pattern of follicle distribution creates the most natural result in a hair transplant procedure because it most closely mimics a non balding scalp.
Another example of an area in which I exclusively use single hair follicles are the eyebrows because the natural eyebrow consists of only single hair follicles. Additionally, I use mostly single hair follicles in a facial hair transplant to mimic the natural growth in a beard.
Executing an optimal hair transplant is an art that we feel lucky to create at our hair transplant office in Los Angeles. There are many integral factors in the creation of the most natural hair transplant including: 1) where the hairline is created, 2) how much density is assigned to different areas of the scalp, and 3) how the transplanted hairs are angled.
My patients often ask me what sets me apart from other hair transplant surgeons. One of my answer’s to this is, ‘Because hair transplant is a work of art and every physician will approach it differently. I am lucky to have a great city view from my office and I tell my patients to look out the window, take in the beautiful view, and imagine instructing 3 hair transplant physicians to draw what they see out the window. All 3 hair transplant physicians would create a different image. The same holds true for the hair transplant procedure. Every hair transplant is performed differently and not all hair transplants are created equal. I tell prospective hair transplant patients to look at the most natural transplanted hairlines they have created and use that as an important metric in deciding who to trust for your hair transplant procedure.’
To find out how we can help you to regain lost hair and to schedule a consultation for coming for hair transplant in Los Angeles, contact us today.