What Are Hair Plugs?

Surgical hair restoration has been performed for almost 100 years in some form or another, over that time the methods and techniques have changed and improved greatly from crude harvesting and graft placement

Over time the techniques have been refined to today being able to harvest hair from the donor and place in the recipient area to mimic natural hair growth that even at close inspection cannot be distinguished from natural growing hair

In the early days hair was removed from the donor area with a large cylindrical punch measuring around 4mm in diameter, this would encompass a large number of hairs, around 30 hairs

Naturally Placed Intact Follicular Units

Naturally Placed Intact Follicular Units

The donor was left with large round scarring often in a man-made pattern that greatly thinned out the donor hair density and in some cases left an open donor making it hard to harvest more hair from

In the recipient area the plugs were placed without being broken down, the result being large groups of hair growing in an unnatural pattern, commonly given the term “dolls hair” or “tooth brush” look

If the grafts were placed within native hair the unnatural look could be camouflaged but if exposed or placed along a hair line the result was cosmetically unnatural and drew attention to the area

Harvesting and placement evolved into mini and micro grafts, these were smaller hair units but still left excessive scarring and unnatural placement, but an improvement on the old plug grafts

Today harvesting and placement has greatly improved; the introduction of FUT, Follicular Unit Transplant and FUE, Follicular Unit Extraction allowed for more hair to be harvested from the donor and provide a natural placement of hair

The greatest evolution was the extraction of natural growing follicular units, or FU´s; these are natural growing groups of hairs from the donor, normally ranging from 1 to 4 hairs per follicular unit; this allowed for the natural placement of the grafts

When distributed over the recipient, using the single hair units along the hair line and the larger hair units behind it became possible to treat large areas of hair loss with a natural looking density

The donor harvesting differs between the two techniques; FUE the hair groups are removed one by one using a small punch tool normally no larger than 1mm in diameter, this reduces the density of hair remaining in the donor safe zone

FUT relies on removing a hair bearing strip from around the back and sides of the donor area, the edges are brought together and then sutured to leave a fine line hidden by the surrounding hair

With the advent of the two techniques hair transplant surgery has moved forward, both techniques have advantages and disadvantages and support different hair loss patterns; it is important the technique used can sustain hair restoration over time whilst maintaining the integrity of the donor

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