These terms are used interchangeably in the derma world. You can find tons of online resources and businesses like Vera Clinic for more information about hair transplant so you can choose your best option. In this article, you'll know a little bit more about hair plugs and hair transplant and the indications for each procedure.
Hair Plugs Vs Hair Transplant
Both hair transplant and hair plugs mean extraction and transfer of hair from one area of the body (donor site) to the affected site (recipient site). However, with technological and medical advancements, the term 'hair plugs' are now outdated and it's rarely used by derma surgeons today because of the negative connotation associated with it. Hair transplant is a more acceptable term referring to this procedure.
What is Hair Plug Transplantation?
Hair plugs became popular in the 1980s. Hair plugs are invasive, which involves extracting selected large portions of hair from the donor site. This procedure results in open patchy areas, and the recipient site looks very defined. It defeats the purpose of undergoing the procedure because it’s supposed to look natural. The healing process can be a nightmare, so many derma surgeons discontinued practicing hair plug transplantation.
Who Gets Hair Plugs?
Nobody. Hair plugs are considered an outdated term. It’s a type of hair transplant that’s fairly barbaric, and the results are unsightly and unnatural, seemingly like the appearance of a doll's hair. Why should you consider a procedure involving using a 'punching tool' for removing tiny patches of tissues containing about twenty hairs from the back of your head? Also, the transplanted hair grows bunched together and spaced unnaturally apart. The transplanted hairs don't blend with the remaining hair. In the end, you'll have to deal with circular scars left on the donor site, which is another issue.
Because of the unwanted results of hair plugs, surgeons have developed new techniques and refined hair transplantation. The results are now more natural looking hair with proper direction and spacing of growth. With the newer types of hair transplants, transplanted hairs blend seamlessly with the remaining hair. Similar to permanent dentures for natural looking teeth, even a hairdresser can't tell the difference sometimes!
What Is Modern Hair Transplant?
Modern hair transplants are less-invasive and a much more progressive option. The two types of modern hair transplants include the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). FUT is slightly more invasive than FUE which involves the removal of large chunks of follicular hair units all at once, and smaller portions are used. In FUE, the surgeon carefully extracts the hair strands from the head and relocates them to the recipient site. This procedure is time-consuming because it’s very intricate, but it provides the best results. FUE is more expensive but less invasive. It doesn’t leave a scar.
Who Gets A Hair Transplant?
Not all who have alopecia or a baldness problem, either partial or total baldness, can undergo a hair transplant. The surgeon will take your full hair history to determine if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. Certain types of hair loss, such as hair loss caused by chemotherapy or other treatment or medication, scarring alopecia, and hair loss caused by lupus and other chronic conditions, make an individual not an ideal candidate for hair transplant.
Unlike the known hair plugs used in the past, hair transplants today, like FUE, use a specialized cutting machine. Through fine blades, the surgeon can create small sites under local anesthesia, and the hair follicles are inserted in these sites. In a FUT procedure, the surgeon removes a trip of hair from the sides or the back of your head where the hair remains. The surgeon divides the follicles into small or individual groups under a microscope and inserts them into the bald patches. With FUT, the surgeon can harvest thousands of hair follicles and move them in the recipient site, and the scar is hidden under the remaining hair.
You’ve just learned that a hair plug is a particular type of hair implant. While you might still hear the term hair plugs today, it would generally refer to modern hair transplantation wherein the procedures are less invasive with more natural looking hair. Gone are the days when 'plug tools' are used. The advancements in technology offer specialized tools and equipment, making hair transplant patient-friendly.