During a consultation every patient inevitably asks which of the three hair restoration procedures is the best. And this largely depends upon the patient’s circumstances and what he/she wants to achieve. If the patient has never had hair restoration before and the donor area is pristine, then he/she is a candidate for all three procedures. The advantages of FUT include denser coverage with one session compared to the FUE methods, due to the fact that with FUE I can choose three and four hair grafts as well as the one and two hair follicular units. This will give more coverage in a given area and still look very natural. Patients with smaller areas to cover will benefit from the no incision FUE methods. The disadvantage here is that with ARTAS, we need to shave the donor area so that the robot can read each and very graft precisely. In this case, the donor area is not hidden and will be visible until the area heals within 24-48 hours. Many men opt to “buzz” their entire head 4-7 days prior to the procedure in anticipation of this. Neograft, on the other hand, requires lass trimming and I tend to do this lower down so as to avoid noticeability.
Recovery times are different. FUT requires a full 4-5 days of recovery and visibility whereas the robotic FUE methods require 2 days. However as mentioned, the hair in the robotic methods, especially ARTAS is buzzed and visible. Post-operative pain is similar in all three methods. This takes the form of a headache which lasts 8-12 hours if at all. Many patients don’t even take the analgesic that I prescribe. Swelling however, is more pronounced in the FUT procedures. About 2% of my patients will swell on the 2nd-3rd post-operative day around the temples and the eyes. The swelling is benign, lasts 24-48 hours, and disappears as quickly as it occurred.
Results are for the most part excellent in all three procedures. A study released in October, 2013 compared survival rates of the various grafts. FUT grafts had a survival rate of 94%, robotic FUE grafts had a survival rate of 98% but MANUAL FUE grafts had a survival rate of only 75%. This is another reason I avoid this last procedure.
In summary, the hair restoration procedures I describe are safe minor surgical procedures. When combined with PRP (platelet rich plasma) and Laser Light Therapy, great growth and a natural result are inevitable. The robotic FUE procedures avoid incisions and scars and recovery is quick. FUT does require the removal of a strip of hair bearing skin in the donor area, which can result in a thin scar but the numerous types of grafts harvested are beneficial especially in a patient with a large amount of hair loss. During a consultation, we can match the particular procedure that meets your needs and your lifestyle. In the coming weeks, as ARTAS releases its new software suite, we will be able to take photos of the patient’s head, feed them into the computer and the software will calculate the number of grafts needed and actually produce accurate photos of what the result will look like! So much for guesswork!
I hope you enjoyed these last three posts. And as always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated. For those of you near the Washington DC metro area, we will be hosting a “meet the robot” event at the clinic, Thursday, September 18 from 6-8PM. You will have the chance to meet the engineers of restoration Robotics and see first hand how you may benefit from a robotic hair restoration. Please consider coming!