A US doctor specialising in the follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplant technique, Dr Sanusi Umar has recently received a patent for his hair transplantation device UGraft. Dr Umar is particularly well known for his interest in transplanting follicles from the body to the scalp, and the UGraft device is specifically designed to make this process simpler and more efficacious. Click here to read the original press release. Body to scalp transplantation So, why would you want hair follicles transplanted from your body to your scalp? Well, this technique is particularly useful for patients with severely thinning hair, or those who are completely bald, where there is not enough hair on the scalp to provide a suitable donor area. Another group who can benefit from body hair transplantation is men who begin to lose their hair in their late teens or early twenties. When you start to lose your hair early in life, hair loss is usually more rapid, which means that you may need to have multiple hair transplants over the next decade or so if you wish to maintain the appearance of a full head of hair. A hair transplant from the scalp means taking even more hair from your head, so taking hair from a donor site on the body is often the perfect solution. Why do we need a special device? The problem with body to scalp hair transplant surgery is that body hair grows at a much sharper angle than the hair on your head. This means that traditional FUE techniques, which use a cylindrical punch to extract the hair follicle, can end up damaging the follicle. The UGraft system uses a curved punch and a much gentler pulling mechanism, to avoid damaging the hair follicle upon removal. The device also contains an irrigation system to prevent the grafts from drying out and dying before being implanted into the scalp. What else can it help with? Another group of patients who have previously not been able to benefit greatly from hair transplant surgery are people of African/Caribbean descent, whose hair grows in very tight curls. These curls will begin within the hair follicle, which again means that they can be easily damaged by traditional extraction techniques. With the UGraft, these follicles can apparently be easily and gently removed to give them the best possible chance of survival once transplanted. The UGraft device has only just received its patent in the US, so it will be interesting to see how its results compare with more traditional grafting methods, but it will certainly be great news for many male hair loss patients to know that this technique exists and may be coming their way soon. SMP: an alternative to hair transplant surgery There are a myriad of reasons why men do not wish to undergo hair transplant surgery. Firstly, not everyone is suitable and it is crucial that you seek advice and assessment from a credible hair transplant clinic. Beware any clinic that offers you a free consultation with a sales person – their aim is to sign you up for an incredibly costly procedure whether you will benefit or not. You may not be suitable for hair restoration surgery if you don’t have enough donor follicles to cover the extent of your balding area. If your hair is diffusely thinning across the scalp, it may be not be possible to insert the new hair follicle due to lack of space. The effect is not always natural when transplanting hair follicles into diffuse hair thinning. Other considerations to take into account include being too young and hair loss has not slowed down or stopped, the cost and also the possible complications such as scarring, infection and the fact that it might not be the success you’re hoping for. If you’re concerned about taking such a big step, one option you may wish to explore is scalp micropigmentation, commonly known as SMP. This is a cosmetic hair restoration procedure that offers realistic and natural results that can last a lifetime with no downtime or complications. To find out more about SMP and its benefits, get in touch with the experts at HisHair Clinic.