FIT Hair Transplant | Cost, Stages, Advantages
In FIT hair transplant, a small round punch is used to extract hair follicular units from an area with dense hair growth to a hairless area. Each unit is called a hair graft, which consists of one to four hairs.
Follicular Unit Extraction Technique (FUE hair transplantation) or also called Follicular Isolation Technique (FIT) is one of the most interesting methods of modern hair restoration.
Although the acronym “FIT” is commonly known for the follicular isolation technique, guidelines issued in March 2018 from the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) recommended that this method should be renamed as “follicular unit incision (FUE)”. So, FUE is the new official name for FIT hair transplant.
Currently, the FIT method has been completed, which is known as Micro FIT, and its new generation is hair transplant using SUT method. Unlike FUT (strip surgery) this technique does not leave a linear scar in the back of the patient´s scalp
Steps of hair transplant by FIT method
FIT is a minimally invasive hair transplant procedure that has a very short recovery period and excellent results. All hair transplant applicants are tested and examined separately in medical consultation sessions. The proposed treatment method (drug or surgery) is determined based on amount of hair loss. The stages of hair transplantation using FIT method are summarized as follows:
- Patient referral to medical centers
- Taking pictures
- Designing donor and recipient areas
- Extraction of follicular units from donor areas
- Preparation of follicular units
- Maintenance of follicular units
- Implantation of follicular units
- The period after hair transplantation and following recommendations after transplantation
1- Patient referral to medical center
At first, the dear applicant for hair transplant or beard and mustache transplant is welcomed by clinic staff, and then relevant consultant doctor talks to patient and explains hair transplant procedure in detail and clears patient’s doubts. It is necessary to have a proper breakfast on morning of operation, and coffee and fatty foods are prohibited, although you can drink caffeine-free drinks.
2- Taking pictures
Photographs of specified parts of head are taken in order to record in patient’s file and analyze obtained results. A set of photos including all treatment steps will be provided to each patient. These photos are taken by staff of the treatment center with a professional camera.
3- Designing hair growth line in donor and recipient areas
The design of hair growth line is done in agreement with patient and by observing conventional limits of relevant parameters.
The doctor shows donor and recipient areas; in sense that a preliminary plan is drawn with special markers and it defines range of donor and recipient areas. The recipient area is determined by keeping hair on it, but part or all of donor area may be shaved.
4- Extraction of follicular units from donor area
When donor area (back or side of head) is determined, local anesthesia is applied and there is no need to do this in rest of hair transplant stages. The entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia, which immediately numbs scalp. For this reason, there is no need to wait until pain reaches its minimum level. The donor area or hair bank is area that donates hair needed to be transplanted to bald area.
The area from which the hair is removed does not suffer from hereditary hair loss, so the transplanted hair will not be lost. The doctor and hair transplant surgeon determine the best area for hair removal in each person so that no injury is caused.
Then follicles are placed in special containers at a low temperature according to number of hairs they have. A counter next to patient counts the number of follicular units to keep him informed about surgical procedure.
Extraction is done with help of millimeter surgical tools called “punches“. These tools have sharp edges and their cylinder size varies between 0.75 and 0.90 mm, which is determined according to thickness of each patient’s hair. After separating follicular units with a “special punch”, they are carefully removed from scalp using special surgical forceps.
The number of follicular units extracted in one session, depending on the density of client’s hair, is about 1,500 to 2,500 follicular units, which corresponds to about 4,000 to 8,000 strands of hair. This amount can be different depending on density in donor area. At the end of extraction, since the number of follicular units is known, by multiplying it by number of hairs in each graft, the exact number of implanted hairs can be calculated.
5- Preparation of follicular units
After extraction, the follicular units are placed in a suitable preservation solution to preserve follicular life. The surgical team begins to prepare follicular units with help of microscope glasses and LED lights (the use of LED lights is to maintain right temperature). Proper preparation and maintenance of follicular units is the main factor of successful hair transplantation.
6- Maintenance of follicular units
Proper maintenance of follicular units is very important for the survival of hair follicles while they are outside the body. The follicular units must remain hydrated and at an ideal temperature in containers prepared at low temperatures until the time of follicle implantation.
On average, the process of hair transplantation takes 5 to 7 hours, which is divided into three parts: extraction, rest and implantation. When extraction process is over, the patient has half an hour to rest and have a light meal.
8- Implantation of follicular units
At this stage, the removed follicular units are implanted in recipient areas using local anesthesia. The doctor who implants follicular units determines depth, angulation (forward and downward bend) and direction of hair growth when planting each follicular unit.
Suitable candidate for hair transplantation by FIT method
People with mild to moderate baldness will be suitable for FIT method. The amount of transplanted hair was limited at beginning of the FIT method, but now up to 7000 hairs can be extracted in one day, which is enough for a relatively large area of hair loss or baldness.
Advantages of hair transplantation by FIT method
- Ideal for replacing mustache or eyebrows
- Ideal for small sessions and for patients in the early stages of hair loss
- Ideal for patients who wish to shave their heads
- It is less invasive than strip surgery – without any visible scarring in donor area
Disadvantages of FIT hair transplant
- Time consuming method
- May not be suitable for large bald areas
- A nonsurgical treatment plan may be just as effective
Recommendations after hair transplantation by FIT method
Here are steps that should be done after hair transplant procedure is completed.
- The patient will receive a guide with instructions on post-operative care, washing method and medicines needed in first week.
- From eighth day, follicles are completely stabilized.
- After 15th day, the patient can resume his normal life. As if he has not done hair transplant.
- From third to sixth week, 80% of the implanted hairs begin to fall out. At this stage, the patient becomes worried and questions effectiveness of operation. During this time, he should be calm and cool, because even though transplanted hairs have fallen out, the follicles (roots) have remained in place. Therefore, stronger hair begins to grow.
- From sixth month, the patient notices sudden changes in hair growth.
- This growth continues slowly and exponentially until twelfth month, and result is evident in almost 100% of transplanted hairs.
- From twelfth month onwards, the patient makes an appointment with clinic specialist for evaluation.
- The transplanted hairs do not have genetic code for baldness, so they do not fall out. Hence, these results will be permanent.
Difference between FIT hair transplant and strip removal (FUT)
Using strip surgery (an older method of hair transplantation, also known as Follicular Unit Transplantation or FUT), a strip of donor tissue is removed from back of head (where the hair growth remains) and viewed under magnification with microscope is cut into individual links of follicular unit.
Strip surgery is usually more suitable for larger areas of baldness as up to 3,000 grafts may be transplanted into a patient at same time as long as there is a sufficient supply of patients. However, scalp needs a longer time to heal after surgery and a large scar is left across scalp which can be hidden by longer hair.
The specialized punch used in FIT method allows surgeon to remove hair from scalp without damage. FIT hair transplant is non-invasive and therefore scalp heals faster. A patient often has no symptoms for ten days after surgery.