Are you unhappy with your appearance due to hair loss or thinning? Thankfully, you no longer need an invasive hair transplant to address the issue.
There’s other good news in that you have to lose about half the hairs on your scalp before it becomes noticeable. However, it’s fairly common for your locks to lose some of their luster as you get older; and more than 90 percent of men 50 and older report experiencing some degree of hair loss, according to the American Hair Loss Association.
But younger people and women can also be affected by a significant loss of hair. The split with hair loss among men and women is actually fairly close, although men are statistically more likely to experience hair loss.
If you are dealing with hair loss issues, you may find yourself considering a traditional hair transplant. Another option also worth considering is NeoGraft®, which is a system that’s designed to produce the same results in a way that’s less invasive. Here’s how these two hair restoration methods stack up when compared against one another.
Traditional Hair Transplants
A traditional hair transplant, also referred to as hair transplantation, is a surgical technique performed for the purpose of restoring density to certain areas of your scalp. It involves removing hair follicles from one part of your body, referred to as the “donor site,” and transplanting those follicles to the area where more hair is desired, referred to as the “recipient site.”
Hair transplantation was first performed in the late 1930s in Japan. Initially, transplantation involved single scalp hairs. The “plug” method was eventually developed to create a fuller look. It’s done by transplanting larger groups or “tuffs” of hair.
Mini- and micro-grafts are also performed in order to create a more natural look after the transplant process is completed. Anywhere between 10 and 80 percent of hair that’s traditionally transplanted typically grows back within a 3-4 month period.
NeoGraft® is a newer approach to hair transplantation. It’s a hair transplant system designed to speed up the process of collecting or “harvesting” hair follicles. It’s done with a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method that’s designed to be more accurate and efficient than traditional hair donation retrieval methods performed with manual extraction instruments.
Overcoming the ‘Strip Scar’ Problem
With a traditional hair transplant, hair is shaved off the back of your head. This harvesting process sometimes leaves a scar that’s noticeable and a source of embarrassment for some people. If you have long hair, this “strip scar” can usually be covered up. However, if you prefer to wear your hair short, it may be visible.
A strip scar is produced when hair is gathered with the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) method, also referred to as the traditional strip harvesting method. FUT requires the removal of a piece of scalp that can range from about 6-10 inches across. Stitches are then used to close up the affected area, which results in a scar.
With NeoGraft®, this potential problem is avoided by using the FUE method. This process involves removing the follicles needed for the transfer procedure in smaller groupings of hairs. Doing so eliminates the need to remove a large patch of skin.
Good Candidates for NeoGraft®
Generally, NeoGraft® is considered a transplant method worth considering for individuals wishing to resume their normal activities without the restrictions that sometimes go along with a traditional hair transplant. You may also appreciate this approach to hair transplantation or restoration if you prefer to wear your hair short. If you’ve had a previous transplant, this newer method may even be able to camouflage the scar that’s left from a traditional harvesting procedure. Good candidates for the FUE-based method are typically individuals meeting the following requirements:
- Being in good overall health since underlying health issues may present complications
- Having moderate hair loss
- Having sufficient hair in the back of the scalp to collect follicles
Hair transplantation, in general, tends to be less effective if you are completely bald or dealing with significant hair loss. There must be an area on your scalp where hair can be harvested from.
It’s also important to have realistic goals and expectations with either a traditional approach to hair transplantation or the newer FUE-based method. While hair transplantation can give you added hair density and a fuller head of hair, it cannot turn back the clock and give you the same quality of hair you had during your teen years.
During your initial consultation, it will be determined how much hair coverage you need in order to achieve your desired goals with hair transplantation. Also, it’s often possible to try the newer method even if you’ve had a more invasive strip procedure performed in the past.
How Traditional and NeoGraft® Methods Work
If you have traditional Follicular Unit Transplantation, the harvested scalp strip will be broken down into smaller fragments (“grafts”). Small holes are then made into the scalp in the area where hair will be transferred to. Finally, the hairs are inserted into puncture holes. This traditional hair transplant process typically has to be repeated several times, especially if the transplanted area is fairly sizable.
NeoGraft® is performed with controlled pneumatic pressure that allows the graft to slide out smoothly. This reduces the risk of damage to the graft before it can be transplanted. Pneumatic pressure also allows re-implantation to take place sooner since the graft is removed in a way that does not require it to be broken down into smaller fragments. The transplanted hair also tends to remain healthier.
As for comfort, the newer procedure is very gentle compared to what’s common with traditional transplant methods. In fact, many patients report little or no discomfort during the hair transplant process.
Both approaches to hair transplantation are same-day procedures, meaning you’ll go home the same day of the treatment. You may also have some mild discomfort within the transplant site, although this is only temporary as tissues heal. With both procedures, you’ll likely be advised to wait a few days before shampooing your hair. When you do begin to shampoo again, it’s best to use a mild shampoo to avoid irritating the transplant area.
The transplanted hairs will continue to grow once they are in their new location. The grafted hair normally stays in place for about 2-3 weeks before shedding. However, this is a perfectly normal process since hair grows in cycles. New growth will then begin in about 3-4 months. This happens with both FUT and FUE techniques. Many patients like the fact that it’s a slow and progressive process since hair growth appears more natural and less obvious.
Benefits Associated with NeoGraft® Over a Traditional Hair Transplant
The main benefit associated with the newer FUE-based treatment is that it’s a minimally-invasive procedure. Also, hair follicles are extracted in small amounts with a special harvesting tool. With a traditional FUT transplant, stitches or staples are used. This isn’t the case with the newer FUE method.
The newer method is also more comfortable for most patients. A scalpel isn’t used, nor are there any long incisions. This typically results in minimal discomfort. And because the procedure is less invasive, recovery from the newer FUE transplant is often shorter.
The updated procedure is also highly ergonomic. Therefore, you’ll also enjoy a natural look with the updated FUE method. With traditional or older hair transplants, it was fairly common to end up with a “pluggy” look that made it obvious what type of procedure someone had done. With the newer FUE technique, it’s entirely possible to have the procedure done without letting anyone know unless you want them to know your secet.
It’s easy to enhance your experience with NeoGraft® by including other treatments with your procedure. With a traditional transplant, however, it may be more difficult to add other treatments onto your procedure since the methods used for the restoration process are more invasive. There are many options that can allow a newer FUE procedure to be customized.
For example, some hair transplant patients prefer to have additional products used to further stimulate growth and encourage density. Some patients also opt for other newer techniques to enhance their results.
The results with either method will vary. Hair loss will also continue since hair transplants do not alter your genetic code. Even so, the results can often be extended with maintenance treatments or additional sessions. Additional transplants may be necessary if you wish to have greater density or fullness or if different areas are affected by hair loss over time. During your initial evaluation and consultation, you’ll get a better idea of what your baldness pattern is and whether or not you may need additional transplants.
It’s important to note that NeoGraft® has impressive success rates. This newer method has, according to the company’s website, the highest success rate of any hair restoration process. It also restores your own living and growing hair, so there’s absolutely nothing artificial about it! If you do benefit from this treatment, your results may also allow you to:
- Have increased self-confidence
- Be less shy about having your picture taken
- Enjoy a more youthful look
- Make other positive lifestyle adjustments to further improve your overall appearance
If you are weighing your options when it comes to a traditional hair transplant and NeoGraft®, consider scheduling a consultation at the office of Thomas T. Jeneby, MD so that you can learn more information. We are proud to offer various surgical and non-surgical procedures to San Antonio residents, including breast augmentation and hair restoration. Contact us today to book your appointment in San Antonio.