Author Bio: Dr. Sanusi Umar MD is the author of this article.
Due to the natural curl of Afro-textured hair, the African-American hair transplant is a procedure that has presented many challenges to practitioners in the past. But in the past couple of years, the Dr. UGraft™ line of devices has emerged with features that make it easier for practitioners to accommodate the unique needs of the black patient. FUE stands for follicular unit extraction while FUT stands for follicular unit transplantation.
Below we’ll discuss the pros and cons of FUE vs. FUT for African-American hair restoration, the challenges of African-American hair restoration, and why the tools Dr. U uses give him a unique advantage.
FUE vs. FUT for African-American hair restoration
Strip surgery (FUT) leaves patients with a permanent linear scar on the back of their heads. To conceal the scar, patients usually choose to keep their hair long. But most black men have a preference for wearing their hair in a close-cropped style. Hair transplant linear scars show through these hairstyles easily. Therefore, FUT is not the best choice for happiness in the long-term with a hair restoration procedure.
Moreover, many African-American patients have a genetic predisposition to developing keloidal scars. Keloidal scar tissue is thick, raised, and often more massive than the original size of the wound. The Henry Ford Health System has said that black patients are seven times likelier to form keloid scars on the head and neck (1).
To combat the unsightly side effects of FUT, African-American patients have the option of linear scar-free transplantation, also known as follicular unit extraction (FUE). The procedure uses tiny punches instead of scalpels. Typical FUE punches can keep linear scars and keloids at bay in patients. However, they are still unable to produce the best success rates possible for African-American hair transplants.
Challenges of African-American hair restoration
Typical FUE punches fall short with African-American hair transplants for three reasons. First of all, African-American patients have hair follicles with a unique curved shape. The follicles of other ethnic groups are straighter by comparison. The hair follicle’s curl is at a C-shaped angle. These more curved hair follicles are not as compatible with the typical straight cylindrical punch. The follicles will also be more prone to damage if the practitioner uses these instruments.
Additionally, black patients usually have thicker dermal tissue in their scalp. Due to this fact, it is harder for a hair transplant punch to penetrate sans a stronger downward force. To completely free the donor hair follicle grafts, doctors must sever the anchoring apparatus altogether. But in black patients, this connective tissue tends to be stronger and more stubborn. Sometimes the doctor might choose to apply more force to overcome this issue, but this practice can put the grafts in grave danger.
Why the tools Dr. U uses give him a special advantage
Thanks to Dr. UGraft™ line of devices, all black patients can now reap the benefits of a successful hair transplant procedure. Dr. UGraft™ devices boast multiple cutting-edge features that make the African-American hair transplant process easier to complete successfully. The Dr. UPunch i™ works together with the Dr. UGraft Nurture™ handpiece to allow practitioners to give the African-American patient’s curved grafts the extra hydration they need. The Dr. UPunch Curl™ 2.0 will enable practitioners to extract follicles quicker and more efficiently than in the past, especially in black patient cases that involve thicker, denser dermal attachment in the surrounding tissue.
The devices also take away the hassle many African-American patients must deal with as they wait for multiple tests and proceedings before being confirmed as candidates for hair transplant surgery. These tests usually involved one preliminary test procedure using regular FUE punches to extract a sample set of follicles to establish their transection rates. A transection rate is the ratio of the number of hairs that incur damage by accident during the procedure to total hair count. Some patients would pass while others would fail.
Are you looking for a practitioner who specializes in the African-American hair transplant? Book your free consultation with Dr. U today!
- Henry Ford News. “African-Americans 7 Times More Likely to Have Keloid Scarring of the Head, Neck.” EurekAlert!, 6 Mar. 2012, www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/hfhs-aa7030612.php.
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