It is always exciting to read about advancements in the hair restoration industry. The field has come a very long way since the days of plugs and scalp reductions. It is the belief of the editors on this blog that we are on the verge of a new revolution in hair transplantation: one that will mark an official departure from the prominence of strip surgery.
Strip surgery has remained popular, while FUE is only now being more widely adopted, for a number of reasons. For one thing, physicians who have mastered a particular method (strip) tend to be change adverse when it comes to learning a new, more challenging technique. Physicians who have not received proper training, or put in sufficient time learning the technique, can find FUE, and the skill required, frustrating. Many physicians have therefore been quick to dismiss the technique as being unsuccessful or limiting despite their own inadequate knowledge of it. Strip surgery has also traditionally been a faster procedure, as the physician only needs to excise the strip of tissue and can then pass the dissection work to a team of surgical technicians. FUE is a more labor-intensive process for the actual physician, who must do all of the extractions himself. Finally, some patients continue to turn to strip, despite the linear scar it leaves, because the procedure is less expensive than FUE.
Dr. Cole, however, is preparing to release a new motorized extraction instrument for FUE which will make the safe extraction of follicular units faster than ever before. This instrument also allows physicians to use smaller punches to safely and effectively remove grafts. With this device, Dr. Cole can successfully remove over 2000 grafts an hour (minus donor site preparation time). One must understand that strip surgery requires the precise extraction of a portion of scalp tissue, the careful suturing of the wound, and 3 to 5 man hours for every 1000 grafts that are cut by technicians. Dr. Cole’s new instrument substantially undercuts the time it takes to harvest an equal number of grafts using strip methodology. We anticipate that the ability to perform top quality FUE procedures in far less time will translate to the ability to lower prices and take on more patients- allowing more hair loss sufferers than ever to achieve their hair restoration goals. The era of the strip scar in hair transplantation may very well be on its way out!