The term “hair implants” is a bit misleading. It suggests implanting artificial or foreign hair in a person’s scalp, but this isn’t what modern hair restoration is about. Hair implants are simply follicles or grafts of a person’s own hair, taken from the back of the head where growth is thick, and transferred to the top of the head or other areas where hair loss has occurred.
Hair Implants and Transplants: A Quick Overview
From the time hair transplants were first performed in the late 1950s, the technology to extract and implant hair grafts has greatly improved. What was once a cumbersome procedure with questionable results has become increasingly popular among men – and women – who suffer from hair loss.
The two main methods of hair transplantation on the market are Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and the Strip Method, also referred to as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). Both methods result in hair implants, i.e. grafts of individual hair follicles, being inserted in areas of the scalp that are balding or thinning out.
The difference between FUE and and the Stripe Method is the technique of how the hair grafts to be used as hair implants are harvested from the scalp. For FUT, an entire strip of hair is surgically removed from the back of the head and broken up manually into a large number of tiny pieces that then become the grafts for the hair implants. For FUE, the hair follicles are individually extracted using the gentle pneumatic pressure of an automated system called NeoGraft. They are kept safe and slightly misted until they can be used for implantation using the same system with reversed pressure.
Whether you have a hair transplant via the FUE method or the FUT method, the implantation of hair grafts in the recipient area of your head is very similar. For NeoGraft, which uses the FUE method, the technician punctures tiny holes into your scalp with a hand-held wand, making sure the angle and depth are ideal. The previously harvested hair grafts are then inserted into these holes with a tool powered by pneumatic pressure (suction).
But do both methods yield the same quality implants? From our years of experience administering hair transplants in Tennessee, we know that the success rate of hair transplants via the FUE method is one of the highest in the industry. It makes sense when you think about how the implants are harvested. Follicular Unit extraction gently extracts the follicles individually and then keeps them safe until implantation, meaning the quality does not suffer in the meantime. For the strip method, the grafts have to be created by breaking up the strip of hair into tiny pieces, which can result in a lower yield.
Besides the quality of the implants, however, your main concern should be how you look afterwards. It’s hard to argue with a hair transplant that leaves no visible scar on the back of your head versus one that does.