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A Beginner’s Guide to Hair Plugs: Everything You Need to Know

Have you experienced some hair fallout recently?

Studies show that over two-thirds of men will show signs of baldness by 35. About 85% of men will have experienced an amount of thinning by 50. Over 40% of women deal with some form of hair loss.

As technology continues to advance, experts make solutions for problems like this. One of the most common restoration methods for hair loss is hair plugs.

Are you looking to restore hair loss? In this article, we give you a quick guide to understanding hair plugs. Read on to find out how hair plugs work!

What Are Hair Plugs?

Hair transplant methods began in the 1930s in Japan. In the 1950s, modern hair transplantation started gaining popularity in the US.

Hair plugs are only one method of modern hair restoration. Below, we discuss more on the difference between hair plugs and hair transplants.

Punch Graft Technique

How do hair plugs work? A method called Punch Graft was the first method to treat male pattern baldness. Your doctor would use a “Punch” tool to acquire hair plugs from the donor part on the back of your head.

These would contain around 20 or more hair strands. Then, the surgeon will remove circular areas from the balding area of your scalp.

These small holes in the patient’s scalp were smaller than the hair plugs. This allows the surgeon to insert the transplanted plugs into the tiny holes of the balding area. The surgeon would leave the patient’s wounds to heal on their own or stitch them if necessary.

This method harvests an area on your scalp that is larger than newer techniques. It creates a more invasive procedure that can lead to a polka-dotted look. This procedure may also take longer to heal than newer methods.

Punch Grafting creates a patchy look. If not done well, it may not flow with your natural hairline.

Mini/Micro Hair Plug Technique

Another method for hair plugs is mini/micro hair grafting. This is a transitional method for the Punch Graft method and modern methods today. Both the Punch Graft method and the mini/micro hair graft require removal of skin.

The difference between these two methods is the number of hair strands on each strip of skin. Mini grafting contains three to eight hairs. A micrograft would contain only one or two hairs.

However, this technique is susceptible to several side effects. Without proper execution, excess trauma can lead to tissue necrosis or infection.

If your scalp doesn’t properly absorb the tissue from the graft, it can look lumpy or uneven. Scarring from this method could lead to an unnatural look.

Hair Plugs vs Hair Transplants

Hair plugs are only one form of modern hair restoration solutions. Modern hair transplants utilize different technological advancements. This includes better magnification, more knowledge on hair loss, and new surgical tools.

All these combined create new opportunities to combat hair loss. The basic concept remains but works on a smaller scale than older methods.

Unnatural Before and After Results

Hair plugs succeed in covering balding areas on a patient’s scalp. However, the end result and hair flow look unnatural. Hair plugs take a large amount of hair in each punch.

Since Punch Grafting is an older method, it is unable to separate and extract each hair follicle. 4mm punches can look like planted flowers and crops even with minimal spacing.

Strip Harvesting

Strip harvesting is a newer technique for hair transplantation. This new method can achieve a more natural outcome. In this method, surgeons use follicular unit transplant and follicular unit extraction.

We will discuss more on this below. This allows surgeons to extract each individual hair follicle. Then, they can place them where the scalp needs it most.

Creating smaller incisions and small hair groups of one to five hairs may take longer. However, it creates a better look and prevents scarring. They are able to achieve this with stereoscopic dissecting microscopes.

This allows surgeons to identify and harvest hair follicles. It also helps them achieve a more natural look while replacing hair follicles. Magnification was a major problem in older methods.

Follicular Unit Transplant

FUT is a process that involves taking a small strip of tissue from the back of a patient’s head. These extracts will get transplanted back into the affected areas.

However, FUT is less invasive and less painful the punch grafting. FUT results in fewer scars and smaller incisions. This method can create a more natural look because it removes most of the excess tissue.

This allows surgeons to place hairs closer together in an even manner. However, this method may prevent patients from using some short hairstyles. While smaller, scarring may still be visible.

The patient may also suffer from nerve damage. The donor area may feel numb for several months.

Follicular Unit Extraction

FUE shares some similarities with FUT. In contrast to FUT, FUE doesn’t remove a strip of tissue from the patient’s scalp. Instead, it extracts hair follicles from the donor site.

FUE is more similar to Punch Grafting. The only difference is that it uses a smaller diameter punch. FUE became a popular method because it reduces scarring.

If you’re getting a hair transplant, remember that FUE is a minimal scarring procedure. It may still produce scars.

One of the major differences between FUT and FUE is the number of grafts. A patient using FUT has a diminished return after each session. This is due to the lack of available harvestable strips.

A patient using FUE depends on their hair density during the first appointment. A surgeon can harvest more follicles if the patient’s hair is denser.

FUE is the least invasive of all hair transplant methods. However, it is more costly and time-consuming. Still, FUE is becoming the more popular and preferred method of hair loss restoration.

Consider Getting Hair Plugs Today!

Here are some things you need to know about hair plugs. Hair plugs are only one form of treating hair loss. Check out some of these other techniques to find the best one for you!

Are you looking for other options? Don’t fret if getting a hair transplant isn’t the solution you want. Read some of our other guides to find out more ways of treating hair loss!

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