Hair Transplant Surgery using Mini-Micro Grafting

Treatment information

Mini-micro grafting is the oldest technique for hair transplantation. A strip of skin is cut out from the donor area, cut into smaller pieces, and then placed in the recipient area. The technique is quicker and cheaper than FUE and FUT, but less effective.

About hair Transplant Surgery using Mini-Micro Grafting

Mini-micro grafting is an relatively old technique for hair transplantation, in which the surgeon removes a strip of donor tissue (hair and skin) from the neck, using a multi-bladed knife. This strip is then cut into many smaller pieces, often without the use of a microscope.

This method is the oldest of the 3 methods used today. The result is typically less successful than with the newer FUT and FUE methods, but the mini-micro grafting is quicker and cheaper.

Generally on hair Transplantation

A surgical hair transplant involves taking hair from one area of the head, and placing them in a different area. Usually, the donor hair is taken from the neck or sides, where there are normally plenty of hair, and where a scar will be easy to conceal.

Due to the constant improvement of this extensive surgery, the interest for hair transplantation has increased in the course of the last decade.

Male pattern baldness is usually caused by a local increased level of sensitivity to the male hormone testosterone, which is created in increasing amounts, both during and after puberty. This hormone is converted by an enzyme (5-alpha reductase type II) into a different material - dihydrotestosterone (DHT). An increased presence of DHT will over the long run cause the hair to become thinner, loose pigmentation, and finally to stop growing completely.

When it comes to having a hair transplant, the result depends greatly on the amount of hair present in the selected donor area (this being an area on the patient's own head).

The hair is taken from the neck or sides, seeing as these areas rarely loose their hair. This is due to the fact that the 5-alpha reductase type II enzyme does not exist in these areas, and is therefore unable to convert the hormone to DHT.

The good thing about a hair transplant is that once the new hairs have been planted they will not fall off again.

Suitability

Whether you are suited for a hair transplant depends on your age, hair colour, type and amount of hair loss, and whether you have straight or curly hair. Only a doctor with experience in the field of hair transplantation will be able to counsel the individual patient with regards to this.

If you are already completely bald, a hair transplant will not be possible.

The procedure of hair Transplant Surgery using Mini-Micro Grafting

With the use of a special knife with many parallel blades, a strip of skin with hair is cut from the patient's neck.

The pieces containing 1-2 hairs are called micro grafts, and those with 3-6 hairs are called mini grafts. In some cases, the mini grafts produced with this technique will include more than 6 hairs - these are called large mini grafts. These small pieces (grafts, units, or plugs are other names they go by) are then planted on the bare area on the scalp, where hair is wanted.

The downsides of this technique are many. First and foremost, the use of a multi bladed knife - if this being the case - is unsuitable, because the blades of this knife are parallel. The follicular units in the scalp are located all around, meaning that some of them will be damaged during the cutout from the donor area.

The following dissection of the smaller pieces cannot be considered as an optimal solution either, seeing as the hair's natural growth cycle in follicular units is disregarded. Cutting out individual follicular units for the transplant is not possible without the use of a microscope. Also, some of the follicular units will risk being cut slightly.

This method will give a less tight, less beautiful, and less natural result than with theFUT or FUE techniques. The only benefits for the use of the mini-micro grafting, in comparison to the others, is that it is quicker and cheaper.

Be aware however, that techniques develop further with time. This can mean, that some clinics that use these techniques will be able to use a single-bladed knife and a microscope (though not as powerful as with FUT), which improves the technique.

It is normally to be understood, that with a mini-micro grafting hair transplant the hair is not cut into follicular units of 1-4 hairs. A unit, a graft or a plug can have 1-4 hairs, but they do not necessarily belong to the same follicular unit.

The procedure of hair Transplantation

There are several different techniques for hair transplantation.

In order to understand the individual techniques for a hair transplant, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of how the hair on our heads actually grows.

Hair grows naturally in groups, often consisting of 1-4 hairs. Such a group with 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs (though most often 2 or 3 hairs) is called a follicular unit, or FU in short.

When a clinic advertises with "Single Hair Replacement", or "Direct Hair Implant", they should be inquired about what they exactly mean by this. Does the clinic actually remove only follicular units with 1 hair, or is this simply an expression for moving one follicular unit with 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs?

Furthermore, when having an FUT or an FUE hair transplant, one should look out for the fact that some doctors only transplant follicular units consisting of 1 hair, or 1 to 2 hairs. Others combine the size of the individual follicular units, so that, for instance, follicular units with 1 and 2 hairs are only used in front at the hairline, and follicular units with 3 to 4 hairs are only placed on the top of the head.

There is a lot of disagreement among hair transplant surgeons regarding what is the most appropriate technique. The best thing to do would be to ask the individual clinic about which technique they use, and possibly why they use this technique.

The duration of a hair transplant varies greatly and is dependant of the technique, character, and extent of the surgery. It is not uncommon for a hair transplantation to take 2-8 hours. Usually, a hair transplant using mini-micro grafts takes the shortest amount of time to perform. Second to this is the FUT. The FUE is the most time consuming of the techniques.

Anaesthesia

A hair transplant - regardless of which technique used - is usually performed in local sedation and is ambulant.

Side-effects

The biggest side effect of both the mini-micro grafting and the FUT technique is the scar inflicted after cutting out the strip of skin with donor hair from the back of the head. The good news are however, that this scar will normally not be visible, because hair will be covering it. Only patients with very short hair, or patients who shave their head will have a visible scar.

After the surgery, the patient may experience slight pains (least with FUE). Soreness, swelling, redness, and contusions (bruising) may occur during the few following days after the surgery (least with FUE). These will disappear within a week's time.

Risk of complications

As with any other form of surgery, there is a risk of consequences from the anaesthesia, infection, bleeding, poor healing, and a bad cosmetic result, as well as blood accumulation.

No surgery is risk free, but please note that complications with this form of surgery are very rare.

Healing and recovery

As a general rule, the mini-micro grafting technique has the slowest healing process of the hair transplant methods.

With this technique, a powerful microscope is not used, meaning that the individual units, grafts, or plugs cannot be trimmed. These will therefore end up being bigger than with FUT and FUE, resulting in bigger scars. As a result of this, the healing process will also be slower.

How long before the patient must wait before returning to work depends on the technique used, and how comfortable the patient is with publicly displaying, that the surgery has taken place.

In principle, some patients are able to resume work on the same day the surgery was performed, although most prefer to wait until the swelling has gone down a bit.

It will usually about one year, before the new hair has grown out fully.

Duration of the result

The transplanted hairs will remain throughout the patient's lifetime, because they come from the areas of the head where the hairs never fall off.