Ensuring the most appropriate hair loss treatment is used

A leading medical expert on hair loss has raised concerns about promotions claiming that some surgical techniques represent a panacea for all hair loss conditions.

Dr Jennifer Martinick, part president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is concerned the promotions may lure unwary patients towards unsuitable treatments for hair loss.

Dr Martinick says patients conducting internet research will encounter a lot of material claiming the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) surgical technique results in better growth, a faster recovery and is less invasive. Although the FUE procedure results in no sutures and does have merits in certain circumstances, there is no scientific evidence to support the other claims.

FUE and FUT represent different methods of harvesting the donor follicles for transplantation and the results achieved are dependent on the skill of the doctor. FUE, which surgeons often perform with just one or two assistants, involves extracting follicles one at a time using a small punch. The major difficulty with FUE is the use of the small punch prevents the physician from being able to see through the skin and is often referred to as blind harvesting of follicles. A consequence of this is limited quality control and a significantly reduced survival rate of the transplanted follicles.

FUE harvesting does not produce the same results as microscopic harvesting and replanting of individual follicles that occurs under Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). Dr Martinick says FUT involves removing a strip of permanent occipital hairs that are microscopically dissected by a team highly trained technicians.

The patient benefits through a higher survival rate of the transplanted follicles, and a transection rate of just two per cent compared to up to 90 per cent for FUE method.