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What Is Strip Method?

Hair loss can be a stressful development for both men and women. Balding changes our appearance and can undermine our confidence. One of the traditional solutions to hair loss is the “strip method,” which is a technique used for surgical hair transplantation.

Follicular unit transplantation or FUT, refers to the technique that is used for surgical hair transplants. In general, the procedure involves the harvesting of hair from a healthier donor site of the patient and implanting hair follicles into an area that is lacking. Hair transplantation may also be used to restore hair loss on the eyelashes and eyebrows.

Pattern baldness, also known as alopecia, is the most common cause of hair loss. The condition will affect about 70% of men and nearly 40% of women at some point in their lives. Typically, for men, baldness begins with a hairline recession that starts at the temples. For women, hair density thins over the top of the scalp. There are many factors that contribute to pattern baldness, including genetics and environmental factors.

The “strip method” is the more common of the two general techniques and the most invasive that involve hair follicles being harvested from donor sites. The basic idea behind the strip method is that a single or multiple strips of skin are excised from a part of the scalp where hair growth is healthy. Generally, the strip will be 1-1.5 cm in width and 15-30 cm in length. As the incision site is sutured, assistants dissect individual follicular units, which are small groups of hair follicles. Great care is taken to avoid damaging the hair follicles during this step.

As for the incision, the latest method, trichophytic closure, is used to hide scarring. Closure has been used by plastic surgeons for decades for cosmetic incision lines. Traditional closure is simply a suturing of two sides, but the trichophytic method takes an extra step to trim the incision site for a pattern that allows the hair to grow along the edge of the incision. With the traditional “strip method” the scar could be visible, painful and dictate how short the hair had to be worn for fear of showing the scar.

For the final steps of transplantation, micro blades or fine needles are used to puncture sites for receiving donor hair follicles. Technicians then insert grafts individually into place. The patterns are predetermined and planned to create a natural growth pattern. Angling of the punctures also adds to a more natural appearance.

The recovery period for the strip method is generally two weeks for the incision in the donor site to heal. The size of the donor strip depends on the specifics of the patient, such as the patient’s hair density. Hair density in the back of the scalp ranges from 60-100 follicular units per square centimeter, which is generally going to be denser than on the side of the scalp.

During the initial period of healing, the transplanted hairs will fall out due to “shock loss” because of surgical trauma. Within two to three months, new hair will continue to grow and thicken through the next six to nine months.

To learn more about surgical hair replacement, contact Dr. David Robbins.

Individual results may vary.