In learning about automated FUE extraction machines such as Neograft, it is important to be familiar with general techniques in FUE hair transplant procedures.
While strip hair transplant would necessarily result in a linear scar in the back and side of the head, the Follicular unit extraction (FUE) methods of hair transplantation do not result in a linear scar thus enabling the ability to cut the hair on the back and sides of the head short. There is no linear scars to hide.
FUE is, however, a very labor-intensive technique that relies heavily upon the skill of a physician. Many hair restoration clinics do not use FUE for this reason. However, FUE machines have been developed as an attempt to automate the process.
FUE is a group of techniques involving a small round punch that extracts groups of between one and four hairs from areas of your body that are highly resistant to balding. The physician then moves these hairs to the balding areas of your head. In California, the punch cutting involved in FUE is considered a form of surgery. As such, only a licensed physician can perform it. The procedure’s success or failure relies heavily upon respecting the integrity of every graft pulled from your body, from when it is extracted to when it is given a new home on your head. Handling the grafts roughly, air drying the grafts and other shortcuts can compromise the integrity of your donor hair and endanger the success of the procedure.
Neograft is a hair restoration device marketed to those seeking FUE hair transplants. Proponents claim that the machines speed up the highly delicate process of FUE hair restoration. The Neograft hair transplant process works thusly:
- A rotating punch turns through an electromechanical device.
- The punch cuts around your follicles to separate hair from surrounding attachments.
- A vacuum component sucks out the graft by forcing it through a small conduit tube.
- The hair is stored in a solution at the end of the tube.
- A pneumatic air system grafts the donor hair into previously made slits in your balding areas.
Dr. Sanusi Umar, a world-renowned pioneer in the field of FUE hair restoration holds the opinion that the Neograft and similar machines would compromise the integrity and survival of the graft. As such, there is a significant chance that this can impair the growth process of the hair follicles. This opinion is also shared by Dr. William Rassman and Robert Bernstein who coined the term, “follicular unit extraction.”
Potential Limitations of Neograft
Dr. Umar believes there are four potential issues with the Neograft system:
- The Air Suction Device. This device transports grafts from the point of extraction to a receptacle. This process poses a threat to the survival of the donor hair. The most common reason for the death of donor hair is air drying. The use of a method that air dries a graft, even for a few seconds, can potentially destroy the graft which should be babied at all points during the FUE hair transplant procedure.
- The Air Suction Method. The air-suction process itself has the potential to strip the graft of important tissue surrounding it. This tissue acts as a protective barrier, insulating the graft from dry air and other traumas. Removing this barrier can compromise the survival of the graft.
- The Hair’s Travel. When the graft goes through the tube it will bang against the walls of the tube several times. This is traumatic to the graft and could potentially destroy it.
- Reimplantation. Any process that uses air to push grafts into balding areas again creates another situation where the hair will be dried or otherwise traumatized. Also grafts implanted without human control could be put in too deep hence causing pitting complications.
Air exposure can potentially compromise graft integrity by dessication, which may negatively impact survival. To minimize dessication, the user of neograft could consider disabling the suction feature. Patients may also want to discuss switching off the suction with their neograft provider..
Choosing the Right FUE Hair Restoration Clinic
Dr. Umar believes that all patients interested in FUE should ask a clinic for photo and video evidence that demonstrates patient results. Make sure that the images are not of the strip method being passed off as FUE hair transplants.
Although Neograft proponents advocate that the technology can be used for body hair transplantation (BHT), Dr. Umar does not recommend this application. Hair follicles from the body need to be handled with extreme care since they are far more delicate than those derived from the head. Furthermore, body hairs grow at acute angles. And sometimes they even grow in curves, not a straight line. Therefore it is best for extractions to be done by hand and a skilled eye to account for these patterns.
Patients who are considering any type of hair transplant procedure should be aware that only licensed physicians can perform excisions to extract the hair follicles. These excisions are considered to be a form of surgery.
In fact, it is illegal in California and other states for individuals who are not physicians to excise grafts. Penalties may include sanctions, suspension and license revocation.
Dr. Umar on Neograft and Hair Transplant Repair
Dr Umar is not a fan of FUE machines that incorporate suction in their extraction process. However, switching the suction feature of these devices would bring them in line for application of basic FUE
If you would like to learn more about the subject of Follicular Unit Extraction, click here to read more.