By Dr. Gary Hitzig
Disclaimer: The following article is an article written by a Doctor, not the authors of this website. The opinions represented are those of the author.
For years the debate in hair transplant surgery centered around two types of recipient sites: punch holes vs. linear slits. Now, a new and improved “slot” method of linear grafting in hair transplants is taking center stage. Similar to a slit since it is linear, similar to a hole in that the central tissue is removed, a slot resembles a narrow elongated oval incision with a small amount of tissue extracted to better accommodate grafts from hair-bearing donor strips. It has essentially obviated a $150,000 laser by producing a more precise receptor site with far less problems and in a far shorter time period.
Performed on more than 300,000 men and women each year, hair transplantation is the most common and widely accepted surgical hair replacement treatment. Simply described, the hair transplant surgeon cuts grafts of healthy hair-bearing skin (donor sites) from the sides and back of the head and replants them on the bald areas (the recipient sites). Linear grafting using a modified slot method creates a more dense, natural appearance for the patient without the old tufted, Barbie doll look or the cornfield appearance. This is because it is the first time the receptor site almost perfectly matches the size of the donor graft. This prevents compressing or alteration and allows the hair to grow in its natural manner.
The beauty of a slot incision is that the surgeon can vary both its size and direction, making linear grafts particularly effective in recreating the natural growth patterns of the vertex region.
Here the fact that there are several length linear grafts allows the surgeon to start with 1-2 hair grafts in the part or lower crown region and progress to larger grafts where density is vital. Linear grafting is also very useful in correcting older “pluggy” style hair transplants. In this case, the narrow linear grafts fit easily between the old round plugs and help “confuse the observer’s eye”. Single random hair grafts help complete the illusion by masking the hairline.
During our initial study of over 250 patients we performed an average of 300-800 linear grafts per transplant session. Each patient received an average of 2 sessions in 3-6 months, with initial reevaluation 6 months after each session. Satisfactory to excellent results were achieved in 6 vital parameters: healing time, visibility of grafts after 3 weeks, time to growth commencement, hairline naturalness, density and patient satisfaction.
Advantages of linear grafting using slot incisions over other hair restoration techniques included faster healing time, consistent quality of growth, greater hair density, enhanced customization, superior cosmetic results, and improved accuracy and precision. The slot method avoids the usual compression and tufting of slits, achieves superior natural density to exclusive micro-graft techniques, and improves blood supply to the grafts when compared with laser incision. Best of all, large session transplanting two to five thousand hairs can be accomplished in about 2-3 hours. This means increased patient comfort and improved cost-effectiveness.
In the last 8 months, the addition of GraftCyte, by the ProCyte Corporation, to the post-op regimen has shortened healing and growth time. GraftCyte is a copper peptide dressing approved for enhanced healing by the FDA and tested in linear wounds. Patient response has gone “through the roof”. We are seeing less post-operative shedding along with some immediate hair growth. Patients have reported new hair growth in as soon as 6 week versus the normal 10 to 14 weeks. Crusting after transplantation has been reduced from 10 to 14 days to 5 days in most cases.
Dr. Hitzig is the Medical Director of Hitzig Schwinning Medical Group, L.L.C., [email protected], with offices in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. For over 22 years Hitzig and his associates have treated hair loss exclusively. He and his partner Dr. John Schwinning are true believers in their procedure. Both have had hair transplants themselves and proudly show their results.