Hair Transplant Techniques

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Edmonton Hair Loss Treatments
Dr. Anil Sharma MD
Sharma Skin & Hair Surgery Clinic – Edmonton, Canada
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Strip donor technique

A donor area is a spot in which the hair will be taken for the transplant. To prepare for strip harvesting transplant, hair in the donor area is clipped to approximately 2 to 10 mm long. Hair above the donor site is left at least 25 mm long so it will cover the donor area immediately after the procedure. After the donor area is anesthetized, a special scalpel is used to take away a “strip” of hair-bearing scalp from the area.

Usually, this is closed with what is called a “LEDGE” trichophytic closure. In over 90% of cases, strip scar lines are less than 2 mm and are only noticeable if you comb upward through the donor area. The “strip” that’s been removed is then separated under a microscope into tiny follicular units containing one to four hair strands. Small slits about the size of an injection needle are created in the recipient area and the grafts are inserted into these small openings. Although pain is minimal, use of pain medication is recommended on the first night.

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) Grafting/Extraction

Everyone’s scalp hair grows in a microscopic grouping of one to four hairs. This is known as a follicular unit. Follicular Unit Grafting (FUG) (also known as Follicular Unit Extraction or follicular unit transplantation) moves healthy, living follicular units from the back of the scalp to areas that are balding.

Even though experts have known about follicular units for a long time, only recently have surgeons performing hair restoration begun to take advantage of their existence. At Sharma Skin and Hair Surgery, we extract individual follicular units directly from scattered spots at the back of the donor’s head using a tiny (1 mm diameter or less) rounded needle called a “punch,” aided by magnification to avoid damaging any follicles. This approach maintains the follicular units and prevents any damage (transection) to the hair follicle. Keeping damage to a minimum encourages optimal growth.

Unlike the strip technique, this approach usually requires the entire back and sides of the scalp to be shaved. Local anesthesia like the kind used at dental clinics is then administered to the patient, along with a sedative. The only part of the process that may cause some discomfort is the application of the anesthesia itself. The discomfort is reduced quickly with the application of sedatives by Dr. Shama.

More and more of Dr. Sharma’s international patients have been requesting if a “no-shave” procedure is possible. For smaller harvest grafts this is actually ideal, and the patient is not required to shave the back of the head. Dr. Sharma will sift between the normal healthy hair and clip small patches of hair. This allows him to conceal the clippings under the normal length hair. Naturally, this technique is tedious and will slow the Hair Transplant Surgeon down. Thus, the cost will increase slightly to accommodate this extra time.

The extraction creates several small dot-like scars rather than the line scar left behind during a strip removal procedure. Bandages are not required. Depending on the number of grafts being transplanted, the process may take several hours – an average of seven hours for a 2,000-graft treatment. The donor area tends to heal quickly, but may leave some mild scarring only noticeable on a shaved head. This scarring is very discrete, however, since Dr. Sharma uses techniques to reduce the appearing of these scars.


FUG/FUE is particularly beneficial for young men who don’t need large amounts of grafts and want to keep their hair short. Patients who have only small donor areas will also find benefit from this process. Grafts that would normally be unattainable can still be found in large amounts.

ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant

Some patients may be candidates for something known as ARTAS®. It is the world’s most cutting-edge method of follicular extraction. Surgeons use laser-guided precision robotics to extract optimal hair samples from the back of the head, and transplant it to thinning or balding areas. The hair will continue to grow for the rest of your life naturally.

This process causes little to no physical pain and leaves no linear scarring. In fact, the donor area heals more quickly than conventional approaches. Afterward, patients can have short hair without showing any indication that surgery has been performed at all. A completely shaved head, however, may show some indication of surgery.

Patients who have been thoroughly cropped by strip harvesting and don’t have additional donor areas for traditional techniques may still provide donor follicles through ARTAS.

Pros And Cons Of The Various Techniques

Patients sometimes inquire about differences in the various approaches to hair harvesting. The following information may help you begin to determine which technique is best for you.

Strip Harvest

  • Donor area doesn’t need to be totally shaved
  • Many sessions can be done, resulting in only one scar
  • Especially with ledge closure, linear scar can be hard to notice unless the hair is cut short
  • Ability to create more grafts in less time

FUE/FUG/FIT harvest

  • No linear scar
  • The donor area must be totally shave
  • The donor area may thin out if multiple sessions are needed
  • The patient can have shorter hair than strip harvest treatments can
  • If the hair is completely shaved, small dot-like scars may be seen

ARTAS Technology

Better precision, accuracy, and consistency in extracting
Less invasive
No linear scars left behind
Hair follicles can be inserted into current line scars using strip procedures
Fast recovery with minimal pain

Contact Us For A Hair Loss Evaluation
Edmonton Hair Loss Treatments
Dr. Anil Sharma MD
Sharma Skin & Hair Surgery Clinic – Edmonton, Canada
Hair Loss Treatment Questions? Contact Dr. Sharma 
Book a professional consultation with Dr. Sharma

Advances in Hair Transplant

Ledge closure

The Ledge closure rejoins the scalp at the sites that hair follicles were extracted from using one layer of skin rather than two, with little or no tension. At the last international meeting of the world’s top hair transplant surgeons, evidence was presented that more doctors than ever before will be using a single-layer closure. The treatment results in minimal tissue trauma, less pain and reduced scarring.

Dr. Sharma has gained expertise in this revolutionary technique through numerous clinical seminars and collaborations with other experts in the field.

Microscopic Dissection

A vital asset for Follicular Unit Grafting, microscopic dissection makes it possible to accurately separate donor tissue obtained through individual strip harvesting into singular, healthy growing follicular units. Using a dissecting stereomicroscope, we then carefully trim away the bald area of skin around each follicular unit to expose a small, compact graft. All of this is accomplished without damaging any hair follicles.

Total stereomicroscopic dissection improves the number of follicular units and the amount of hair transplanted to balding areas by as much as 25% compared to non-microscopic procedures. Additionally, because microscopic dissection makes the already small follicular units even smaller, the resulting grafts heal up in a few short days, leaving behind no scarring.

Most of the tiny follicular unit grafts can be securely transplanted individually, making the whole hair restoration procedure fairly fast. When performed by a qualified surgical team like Dr. Sharma’s, follicular unit transplantation can result in natural looking hair in as little as one or two visits.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for Hair Loss (Child Page)

Research shows that patients who receive a dose of their own platelet-rich plasma (PRP) prior to surgery will experience less crusting and redness after the fact. In addition, PRP can enhance the percentage of transplanted follicles that take root and grow naturally. At Sharma Skin and Hair Surgery, we encourage patients to incorporate PRP into every surgery, especially if they’ve had transplants before.

In this simple procedure, we draw the patient’s blood at the time of the transplant, isolate and concentrate the platelets, then inject them into the affected areas. There, the substance helps to reduce inflammation, begin the healing process and encourage the transplanted follicles to grow.

Stem Cell Hair Growth

Stem cell hair growth is a new, effective and safe approach to restoring hair that Dr. Sharma is integrating into his suite of hair loss options. Most patients are happy to find that stem cell therapy can be used alongside hair transplant surgery, topical treatments (Rogaine®), PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) injections, and laser hair therapy for optimal results. This technique is minimally invasive and produces outstanding results. Many patients who are starting out with hair loss often opt for several doses of PRP. This is because research has shown it can save the follicles that are about to die, and improve the outcome of the treatment overall.

What Does Stem Cell Hair Growth Process Involve?

Scientists initially came up with the concept of a “stem cell” in 1868. Almost a hundred years later, stem cells were officially defined as special cells that have the capacity to multiply into other kinds of cells. As such, stem cells are the body’s building blocks and offer a blueprint for manufacturing other cell formations.

It was recently determined that fatty tissue contains healthy streams of stem cells that can be used to treat hair loss. Building on that information, we have created a procedure that uses a patient’s own stem cells for hair restoration, and have found excellent results. This has been used by Dr. Sharma extensively in both Canada, Europe and in his clinic in London. It has also afforded burn and scar patients excellent results by re-growing their own damaged cells.

This outpatient procedure is minimally invasive and requires only a mild oral sedative and local anesthesia.

First, we perform minor liposuction on the flanks, belly or “love handles” to acquire the patient’s own fat. Using a unique method, we single out and separate the fat from stem cells, which are injected into the scalp.

Patient Results

Patient feedback from stem cell hair growth is overwhelmingly positive. It’s observed that hair will return to previously bald areas of the scalp. We don’t yet know how long the effect will last and expect that occasional follow-up treatments will prolong the process.

FAQ: Stem cell therapy for hair loss

Where Do You Find Stem Cells?

When treating hair loss, stem cells are taken from the patient’s own flanks, belly or “love handles.”

How Long Will The Process Take?

The process takes three to four hours and consists of three phases: extraction, separation and scalp infiltration. Extraction lasts approximately an hour. Stem cells are then isolated by our clinical team as patients comfortably relax in our elegant rooms. The scalp infiltration takes a half hour.

Can Stem Cell Therapy Be Safely Used With Other Hair Loss Treatments?

Stem cell hair treatment can work in conjunction with hair transplant surgery, as well as topical hair loss foams (Rogaine®), oral medications (Propecia®), low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) injections. To figure out the best treatment for you, we encourage you to book a hair loss evaluation with us.

Is There Any Downtime Following The Procedure?

Even though stem cell therapy is mainly non-invasive, patients should arrange a ride home afterward. This is mainly because a mild oral sedative and local anesthesia are used during the procedure. Driving after the procedure is out of the question. Most patients carry on with their routines within a day following treatment.

How Much Does Stem Cell Transplantation Cost?

Prices differ based on each patient’s needs. Prices in London, United Kingdom start at £450, and in Edmonton or Calgary $500, per treatment. Contact us for more specific costs regarding your individual treatment.

How Long Will The Results Last?

Clinical research on stem cell therapy for hair loss is still in process. Although we don’t precisely know how long the strands of hair will continue to grow, we believe occasional retreatment will prolong the process and keep the hair looking full for longer.

Contact Us For A Hair Loss Evaluation
Edmonton Hair Loss Treatments
Dr. Anil Sharma MD
Sharma Skin & Hair Surgery Clinic – Edmonton, Canada
Hair Loss Treatment Questions? Contact Dr. Sharma 
Book a professional consultation with Dr. Sharma