Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that moves hair follicles from the stable area of of the scalp (typically posterior portion) to the thinning or balding portion of the scalp (typically crown, temples, or frontal portion). It can be used for management of pattern alopecia, traction alopecia, and in special cases burned out scarring alopecia in men and women. The basic procedure was started in the 1930s. Over the last century the procedure has been refined and now individual follicular units are transferred with less invasive incisions made on the balding scalp.
The strip harvesting technique is the most common type of hair transplantation procedure. It involves excision of a strip of skin from the stable portion of the scalp. Individual 1-4 follicular units are then dissected from this strip and transferred to tiny slits on the balding scalp.
Follicular unit extraction is a newer technique that is growing in popularity. It involves removal and dissection of individual 1-4 follicular units (FU) directly from the stable portion of the scalp. The FUs are transferred to tiny slits on the balding scalp. Smaller scars can be expected from this procedure. Recently, robotic devices have been able to automate the process.
With any technique, more than one procedure may be necessary to obtain the desired result. It is important to make sure medical therapy is continued in order to obtain maximal results.