Graft Preparation

If you look closely at this section of a donor strip, you will see that hair grows in clusters of 1, 2, 3, or rarely more hairs called follicular units. The next step in graft preparation is to carefully dissect the donor strip, using stereoscopic microscopes, into “slivers” that are one follicular unit wide. This requires a great deal of skill, manual dexterity, training and experience. Our experienced and highly trained staff is extremely adept at preparing these slivers by carefully dissecting between and around adjacent follicular units while avoiding damaging or transecting the adjacent hairs.

Graft Preparation

A view through the microscope of trimmed hairs in a “donor strip”.

The slivers are further carefully dissected, using the stereoscopic microscope, into individual follicular unit micro grafts, containing 1 to 3 or more hairs by other highly trained, experienced staff members.

Graft PreparationThe powerful lighting and higher magnification, allows for precise movement of the blade carefully around each hair shaft, the sebaceous glands and the hair roots. The results, with 5-6 trained medical technicians assisting Dr. Simmons and Dr. McKenzie, are dramatic. With this technique, we are not only able to harvest 30% more hairs from the same sized donor area, but the survival rate of transplanted hairs increases significantly compared with conventional methods. The stereoscope allows us to leave an optimum amount of protective tissue around the vital “pilo-sebaceous unit”, which is why we call them optigrafts.

Graft PreparationWith conventional methods of mini and micro grafting, which use simpler forms of magnification, there can be up to 10-30% wastage of otherwise viable donor hair.

This is an important fact when a person considers the need to conserve limited resources and knows the amount of additional hair it will take to maintain a natural appearance, as one grows older and balder.

Once the grafts have been carefully prepared using the stereoscopic microscopes, they are ready to be transplanted i.e. placed into the recipient area.


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