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FAQ about hair transplant and FUE

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for people thinking about hair transplant and FUE IM

This is the full/extended version of the FAQ about hair transplant and FUE IM. This FAQ is designed to be helpful in raising awareness about hair transplants.

What is a hair transplant?

Hair transplantation is an advanced redistribution system for relocating hair follicles from a donor area, often at the back of the head, and artistically transplanting them to thinning or bald areas.
With today’s microsurgical technology, a hair transplant results in a very natural appearance that is only limited by supply and demand. The supply depends on the amount of viable donor hair you have, viable meaning the hairs that are genetically programmed to grow for a lifetime. The demand depends on how great an area the patient wants to cover with the transplanted hair.
We mainly take hair from areas where you have more than enough and transplant it to areas where you need it.

What is the FUE Ilter method (FUE IM)?

MD Ilter has refined the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique and developed FUE IM. Instead of using instruments that are 1 mm in diameter, we use tools that are 0.5 – 0.75 mm. This leads to faster healing times and a dramatically reduced risk of visible scarring.
Thanks to the refined technique of FUE IM, more than 99 % of grafts will be transplanted intact.
FUE IM also includes more exact incisions that allow denser placement.

What is the difference between FUE and FUE IM?

The methods are similar, but FUE IM is an improvement over the original FUE technique. FUE IM involves tools that are 0.5 -0.75 mm in diameter, whereas traditional FUE tools measure 1 mm. Aside from denser placement, FUE IM shortens the healing time and further reduces the risk of visible scarring. Additionally, FUE IM more or less ensures that all transplanted grafts will remain intact.

What is the difference between FUE IM and FUT/Strip?

The list below shows you the difference between FUE IM and FUT/Strip.

The transplant procedure

FUT/Strip: The STRIP method has been used for many years. It involves removing a strip of skin from the back of the head (the donor area) using a scalpel. After removal, the gap at the back of the head is stitched back together. The strip of skin from the donor area is divided into grafts. Serious clinics will perform this stage using a microscope, as the grafts should be divided to contain one, two or three follicles. Unfortunately this is not always the case, which leads to unnatural-looking hair and dissatisfied patients.

FUE IM: FUE is an advanced technique for extracting hair follicles done entirely without a scalpel or stitches. The hair follicles are removed one by one from a donor area with the help of powerful magnification and special microsurgical instruments that are less than a millimeter in size. FUE IM is very patient-friendly thanks to its minimally invasive nature. The grafts are always small due to the micro instruments and the method regularly leads to a natural look.

Is there risk of damaging hair follicles?

FUT/Strip: The scalpel might damage 10 % or more of the grafts during removal from the donor area or when grafts are divided. Using a microscope can minimize the risk of damage.

FUE IM: The risk of damaging grafts is minimal with FUE IM. The doctor determines and pick which individual grafts to be transplanted and can always avoid disturbing or even destroying nearby hair follicles.

What are the surgical techniques?

FUT/Strip: This technique is extensive and entails linear incisions with a scalpel in both nerve and blood vessel areas. It is important for these procedures that the doctor has surgical experience because there is a risk of temporary or permanent loss of sensation. The area must be sutured and then the stitches are removed after about ten days. Here there is a risk of visible scarring, although hair growth can provide some cover.

FUE IM: Neither scalpel nor stitches are used, which minimizes the risk of visible scarring. The grafts are transplanted with the help of microscopic (0.60 – 0.70 mm) instruments. Because no stitches are needed, the patient feels neither pain nor loss of sensation and the surgical area heals within a few days. The surgical area will be nearly impossible to detect in the future.

What happens after the hair transplant operation?

FUT/Strip: The patient must avoid physical activity for at least 30 days after the day of surgery.

FUE IM: The patient can participate actively in sports without restriction after a week.

What about hair follicle quality?

FUT/Strip: When a strip of donor skin is removed with a scalpel, a number of hair follicles will be damaged. However, powerful microscopes, the right instruments and a skilled surgeon will help minimize the damage.

FUE IM: Our method at the Ilter Clinic does not usually damage any follicles during the operation itself.

Can I check the number of hair follicles?

FUT/Strip: The number of hair follicles extracted partly depends on the size of the strip of skin removed and partly on the density of the hair follicles within the strip.

FUE IM: With FUE IM, the doctor can determine precisely how many grafts are needed and transplant exactly the desired number to the recipient area.

Is there scarring after a hair transplant?

FUT/Strip: When a FUT/STRIP operation is performed, thin scar lines form in the donor and recipient areas. In most cases, surrounding hair growth will hide the scars. If the hair is kept short there is a risk that the scarring will be visible.

FUE IM: Patients are practically scar-free after an FUE IM operation, even if the hair is kept very short. The grafts are extracted individually, without a scalpel and without surgical incisions.

How long is the healing period and what is the healing process like?

FUT/Strip: After a strip procedure the skin needs about 12 months to heal before another operation can be performed. The doctor must be sure that the skin has regained its full elasticity before operating again.

FUE IM: In consultation with the patient, the doctor transplants the number of hair follicles needed to the recipient area. It is even possible for patients to influence the number and positioning of hair follicles during the operation. New procedures are not subject to waiting periods.

When will all the scabs fall off?

All the scabs should fall off after about seven to ten days.

When can I see the result?

The results will be fully visible 12 months after the operation.

How long does the transplanted hair last?

Since the hair used is taken from a donor area that is not sensitive to the hormones that cause hair loss, for example the back of the head, it will retain its genetic characteristics even after transplantation. Most patients retain their “new” hair for the rest of their lives. Occasionally, a percentage of transplanted hair may be lost with old age.

What is meant by follicular units?

A follicular unit is the size of the graft and the number of hairs the graft holds. Through 30 years of work developing hair transplant techniques, it is possible to have very small follicular units. Originally transplants involved large grafts, but now with modern hair transplant methods, such as FUE, it is possible to have one, two or three hairs in each graft.

What is Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)?

FUE makes it possible to transplant individual hair follicles without a scalpel, without the excision of a strip of skin and without the need for stitches.
The hair is selected from a donor area, for example the back of the head or the body, and extracted under local anesthetic. The grafts are then removed one by one with each graft encapsulated in a small cylinder of skin.
The surgeon then makes tiny incisions in the recipient area and determines the thickness and direction of the new hair. The grafts are then inserted, again under local anesthetic.
The transplant looks entirely natural and the new hair is as strong and healthy as it was before being transplanted.

How many hairs are transplanted during an FUE IM treatment?

Normally we transplant 500-3,000 grafts per day, which are equivalent to about 1,000-6,000 hairs.

Does MD Ilter perform the incisions in the recipient area?

Yes, Dr. Ilter is very particular about determining the size and direction of each incision.

Will it hurt?

A local anesthetic is used during the treatment. Most patients experience no pain during or after their hair transplant. The patient also receives medication after the treatment if he or she wishes, but this is seldom necessary.

How much does the treatment cost?

The cost depends on the type of treatment and the size of the area treated, and can vary greatly. We provide this information after a free consultation at the Ilter Clinic.

How does treatment at the Ilter Clinic differ from other procedures?

We can only express an opinion about our own technique, the FUE IM. The most important thing for us is to minimize scarring while achieving optimal, natural results. We tailor every treatment to suit your needs and wishes.

Will there be any scarring?

When an incision is made in tissue it always heals via a process called fibrosis. Fibrosis is the skin’s way of healing. After a FUT/STRIP treatment there is always a visible scar in the donor area. However, after an FUE IM treatment, scarring is almost non-existent.

How effective are Rogaine and Propecia?

The manufacturers of both Rogaine and Propecia state that they are not effective for frontal hairlines, an area that is most significant for most patients. 

Some patients experience a slowing down of hair loss when taking these medicines.

Why don’t all hair transplants look natural?

If you see a recently performed hair transplant that does not look natural, then the procedure was badly performed. In most cases, our transplants are impossible to detect with the naked eye.

Is there risk of infection from a hair transplant?

An infection from a hair transplant is rare. If one should occur it is usually easy to treat with antibiotics, which can be prescribed by your doctor. To date, we have no record of infection in over 1200 operations using the FUE IM.

How many hairs are needed to cover a certain area?

It is impossible to say before we have examined the patient, as the number of hairs needed depends on the hair structure and hair quality. Darker, coarser hair requires fewer hairs to cover the same area as lighter, thinner hair. The hair required also depends on the patient’s wishes regarding density and look.

Does MD Ilter perform hair transplants on women?

Yes. Female hair loss is quite common and women can be particularly sensitive about it. Studies show that around 50 percent of women over the age of 50 suffer from female hair loss. Most of them can be helped. Women often have a similar donor area as men, i.e. the back of the head.

Does MD Ilter repair less successful hair transplants?

Yes. FUE IM is perfect for reconstructing poorly performed procedures. Every “re-transplant” case has its own special requirements, which we discuss with patients at a free consultation. Please note that a reconstruction usually requires more than one treatment.

How much time must pass between two treatments?

A FUT/STRIP operation requires twelve months before another hair transplant can be done. An extra FUE IM treatment, however, can take place the day after.

Why do you not prescribe Proscar?

We cannot prescribe Proscar without a thorough medical examination. Proscar is a drug used to treat prostate conditions, not hair loss. If a doctor issues a prescription for this drug to combat hair loss, then they are mistreating their position. It is neither ethical nor legal.

Why do I not need to spend the night at the clinic after undergoing an FUE IM treatment

FUE IM is a minimally invasive technique that does not require a general anesthetic, only a mild local anesthetic. You will feel fine afterward and do not need to stay for observation.

How will I be sure that you will extract the exact number of grafts I have paid for?

Our business and reputation is built on trust, honesty and respect for the patient and it is our number one priority to make you satisfied. Although, you are welcome to count them if you want to be extra sure!

Why is FUE IM practically risk-free?

We have performed more than 1200 FUE procedures without experiencing any side effects commonly associated with other hair transplant methods. This includes infections, permanent numbness, and loss of sensitivity, scarring and hypersensitivity.

Why does FUE IM produce no visible scarring?

FUE IM does not use a scalpel or stitches like FUT/STRIP. For a more detailed look, see pictures comparing the two methods here.

How can you guarantee that I will have a natural hairline?

After performing a comprehensive examination of your hair during a free consultation, we can see exactly what we can do. If you are not a suitable candidate, or have unrealistic expectations, we will not perform the procedure.

You say FUE IM is practically painless. How is this possible?

It is possible because we don’t do invasive surgery. The surgery is minimal and you will heal in days. However, feel free to contact some of our previous patients, to hear their story and experience from them directly. Click here to contact one of our recent patients.

Can you aesthetically “fix” or hide scars from earlier procedures at other clinics?

Alarmingly, over 40 percent of our clients come to us to remedy unsatisfactory hair transplant operations that they have received earlier at other practices. We are confident that we can help you as well.

Can you help me regain the feeling in my head after a FUT / STRIP operation?

Sadly, we cannot do this.

Can I meet the surgeon who will operate on me?

Yes, it is important that the doctor who will perform the procedure meets you for a consultation to plan your procedure.

Can I see the doctor’s credentials?

Absolutely!

Can I talk to the surgeon during the operation?

Yes. You will be able to talk as much or as little as you like throughout the entire operation.

Why do you not use a general anesthetic?

There is no need. Plus, our patients prefer to be awake to watch films, read or talk to the doctor.

What risks are there associated with general anesthetic?Can the procedure be compared to any other kind of surgery?

Many of our patient’s have compared the procedure to visiting the dentist.

How would you recreate my natural hairline?

Click here to see some before and after pictures that we consider to be typical of our results.

How will you recreate the crown naturally?

We pride ourselves in our ability to create natural swirls.