What Are Hair Plugs and Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About Them?

WhatAreHairPlugsandWhyIsn'tAnyoneTalkingAboutThem.pngWith millions of people suffering from hair loss, hair restoration is a hot topic.

Hair transplant procedures have been around a long time, but the techniques and terminology have changed dramatically over the years. For example, you don’t hear many people talking about “hair plugs” anymore. Have you ever wondered why?

Hair plugs are different than a modern hair transplant. Confused? You’re not alone.

What Is a Hair Plug?

Hair plugs are a type of transplant that was considered cutting-edge hair restoration technology for decades, but they’re now widely considered outdated.

Hair plugs emerged in the United States in the 1950s and became very popular during the 60s and 70s. A hair surgeon would use a punch tool to extract small pieces of tissue (typically 3–4 mm) with approximately 20 healthy hairs on each piece from the back of a patient’s head. The surgeon would remove small, circular pieces of tissue from the bald parts of the scalp, creating holes a little smaller than the hair plug itself. The surgeon then transplanted the plugs into the holes, which he or she stitched up or left to heal on their own.

The process wasn’t perfect. It required many sessions to create the appearance of a healthy head of hair, and even then, the results did not always look natural because of the size of the holes. Hair was difficult to style and blend naturally, and the sites where the plugs were harvested often left awkward circular scars.

In the 1980s and 90s, strip harvesting replaced the punch graft technique. In this procedure, a strip of hair is surgically removed from the back of the scalp and cut into mini- and micro-grafts of anywhere from one to eight hairs each. Several hundred grafts are then transplanted into tiny slits in bald areas of the scalp at each session. (In contrast, the punch graft procedure transplanted as few as 50 grafts per session.)

This method also has its flaws. The biggest drawback is the strip of scalp harvested on the back of the head often leaves an unsightly and permanent linear scar.

Why Today’s Hair Transplants Are Better

Today, the basic science behind hair transplant surgery is the same as it was in the 1950s. Hair is harvested from areas of the scalp where hair grows naturally and transplanted to areas of the scalp where you want more hair.

But the procedures and techniques have come a long, long way. Today, the hair-plug method for hair transplants is simply not used.

Instead, the most popular form of hair transplant — and widely considered to be the new “gold standard” of hair restoration — is follicular unit extraction (FUE). Unlike strip harvesting, the FUE method is much less invasive and allows the surgeon or technician to extract very small units of hair — typically one to four hairs at a time — while leaving the scalp completely intact. No scalpel or staples are required, and no scar remains on the back of the patient’s head. The follicles are harvested, then placed into tiny punctures in the balding and thinning areas of the scalp in a manner that matches the patient’s natural hair growth pattern. 

Within a week, the donor area of the scalp heals and is back to normal. Newly grafted hair follicles stay in place for two to three weeks before shedding. After shedding, which is a normal part of the growth cycle, the new growth begins in four to six months and then continues to grow normally. The results are natural-looking and permanent, and for most patients, hair reaches its fullest state around one year after the procedure.

NeoGraft: One Step Further

NeoGraft takes FUE even one step further with the most advanced and effective method of hair restoration. Our FDA-cleared, state-of-the-art automated FUE technology uses gentle pneumatic pressure to extract individual hair follicles and immediately transplant them to areas of the scalp where you want to regrow hair.

NeoGraft’s FUE technique is the most effective at harvesting intact follicle cells. Some 95% of hair follicles extracted with NeoGraft are undamaged — and when more follicles survive the harvesting process, more hair coverage is ultimately possible. Also, when hair follicles are harvested more accurately, as they are with NeoGraft, fewer procedures are required for optimal results.

The NeoGraft device is calibrated for each patient’s unique scalp type, which makes the procedure virtually painless. Only a local anesthetic is required, and recovery is fast. The results are permanent, and transplanted hair is completely natural-looking because it is your real hair!

Contact our team of hair restoration experts at NeoGraft Dallas today to learn more about how NeoGraft can help you regrow your hair and restore your self-confidence.