Hair Transplant Techniques & Terminologies
For men and women with hair loss and thinning hair, this is the FIRST thing that you should read before you consider hair restoration procedures of any kind for the first time.
Hair transplant techniques and terminologies are forever changing and laden with excessive use of acronyms and proprietary labels that even an experienced surgeon can't keep up on his best days.
To make matter worse, many doctors or clinics decide to come up with their own terms and acronyms in an attempt to distinguish its services from competitors when in fact what one clinic offers could very well be the same treatment that you would get from another clinic even though they are labeled differently. So in essence, there is a total lack of standardization in the world of hair restoration and patients are constantly overwhelmed with fancy terms that distract them from understanding what they are getting themselves into when considering surgical hair restoration procedures.
We have come up with the following to help our readers make sense of a chaotic situation. Below are commonly used terms and terminologies that will help our readers ask the right questions and better understand the procedure and treatment details of their decisions.
- Surgery or not - is it a surgical procedure or not? Nowadays clinics market their treatments with terms such as "no stitches", "no scalpels", "minimally invasive" and in some instances even "non surgical" in order to entice more customers. It is very important that you ask the right question, ie: what is it that you are getting? A surgical procedure or not? A procedure that is minimally invasive does not mean that it is non surgical. The reason this question is important is because all surgical procedure carries risks, there is no guarantee what kind of results one may expect and there might even be undesirable side effects or unpleasant outcomes as a result of a surgical treatment;
- FUE - FUE stands for Follicular Unit Extraction. It is a hair transplant technique and is presently the most sought after alternative to convention STRIP procedure. The main attributes of a FUE procedure includes 1) it does not leave a linear scar in the patient's donor site; 2) donor follicles are removed one follicle or one follicular unit at a time and the doctor has the luxury to decide which follicle or follicular unit to harvest; 3) no scalpels necessary; 4) no post op stitches necessary in the donor site; 5) fast healing time compared to conventional STRIP procedure;
- STRIP - conventional hair transplant technique that is still practiced and offered by a majority of the clinics worldwide. This procedure is the opposite of FUE in many aspects: 1) the patient will be left with a linear scar in the back of his head or in the donor site after the procedure; 2) a scalpel is usually required; 3) post op stitches are usually required; 4) longer healing time required compared to FUE;
- FUSS - this is the same as STRIP hair transplant technique but some clinics call it FUSS which stands for Follicular Unit Strip Surgery;
- FUHT - this stands for Follicular Unit Hair Transplant and many clinics use this term to refer to STRIP procedures but here also comes the confusion because technically speaking, FUE is a kind of follicular unit hair transplant as the doctor harvests the donor one follicular at a time in the patient's donor site. If a doctor says he is offering you FUHT, be sure to ask if it is indeed FUE or STRIP procedure that you are getting and whether the treatment will leave a linear scar in the back of your head, this way you can tell if he is selling you a FUE or not and not just using the term FUHT to mislead you into believing that you will receive a FUE treatment when in fact is is STRIP procedure that you are getting;
- BHT - this stands for Body Hair Transplant. It is a derivative of FUE as the treatment process and concept is the same. The only difference is that with BHT, the doctor uses the patient's body hair such as from their chest, legs, arms etc as donor and transplant them to thinning areas in the patient's scalp. BHT is a techcnique for scalp hair loss. This is commonly used for patients who need repair procedures for a previously failed hair transplant or for patients with severely depleted scalp donor and hence require a new donor source and in this case the donor comes from their body hair.
Do not confuse BHT with the process whereby the doctor restores body hair for a patient such as creating chest hair at a patient's request, this would be reverse BHT.
- Reverse BHT - this is the process used for patients who desire to have chest hair, leg hair or even pubic hair created or restored.
- Beard Hair Transplant - this is the process whereby the doctor uses the patient's beard grafts as donor and transplant them to thinning areas in the patient's scalp. This is commonly used for patients who need repair procedures for a previously failed hair transplant or for patients with severely depleted scalp donor and hence require a new donor source and in this case the donor comes from their facial hair. Do not confuse Beard Hair Transplant with Facial Hair Transplant, see below for definition of Facial Hair Transplant.
- Facial Hair Transplant - this type of procedure is for patients who desire more or thicker facial hair such as beard, sideburns or moustache. The doctor usually harvest follicles from the patient's scalp and use them as donor to create or restore the patient's beard, sideburns, goatee or moustache.
- Eyebrow & Eyelash Transplant - loss of eyebrows and/or eyelash is very common among both men and women as we age. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as overplucking of the eyebrows/eyelash and even medications can cause thinning in eyebrows/eyelash. FUE is a technique commonly used to restore a patient's eyebrow and eyelash.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all the terms and terminologies in the world of hair transplantation. But it serves as a guide to help our readers understand the different concepts and treatments that are presently available so that our readers can ask the right questions during a consultation with his or her doctor.