What You Need To Know About Neograft Before You Take That Next Step
If you’re interested in getting a hair transplant procedure done, you’ve probably heard of Neograft. Neograft is a company that makes a tool used for a specific type of hair transplant called an FUE, or follicular unit excision. During an FUE hair transplant procedure, individual grafts are extracted one by one using a variety of devices instead of the linear incision used in an FUT procedure. In either procedure, one graft can have anywhere from one to four hairs, sometimes more. People who want to wear their hair short may choose an FUE procedure as the scarring is less noticeable than the linear scar of an FUT hair transplant surgery. Neograft is one tool out of many choices used for the purpose of extracting and sometimes placing the grafts during an FUE. However, there are several possible drawbacks to Neograft that you should be aware of as you’re deciding on the hair transplant method that is right for you.
Neograft is not an automated, or “robot,” procedure. It is a handpiece held by someone to cut the tissue around each graft and remove it. It is a brand of tool. While Neograft can work well, it is not without scarring or discomfort during the procedure, similar to other FUE procedures. While some experienced hair transplant physician are using Neograft, it is often used by physicians who do not specialize in hair restoration, typically cosmetic surgeons or dermatologists. In many cases, medical assistants are doing the procedure with or without the physician’s supervision. It is also important to note that the before-and-after photos you see from surgeons are not necessarily of their own patients.
One of the biggest attractions of the Neograft advertising is that it claims to be “scarless”. Understand that anytime you puncture the skin, there will be a resulting scar after the tissue heals. There may not be a linear scar, but there will be small punctate scars that will hopefully be unnoticeable to the average viewer. The notice-ability of the scarring is more predicated by the size of the punch and the distribution of the punches relative to the donor hair, as well as the inherent nature of each patient’s skin and healing qualities. A larger punch size causes a larger scar. Too many punches in one area will show a change in density.
Although sometimes its advertised as a painless procedure, you will have varying discomfort during the anesthesia portion of the procedure. Additionally, you will have varying levels of pain after the procedure as you would with any type of transplant. There may also be some drainage the first day, and your hair grafts will be raised for about a week. The grafts will also start to scab over about 3 days after the procedure and eventually fall off around 7-10 days after the procedure. The grafts go into a dormant period after surgery and begin to grow typically around 3-4 months. It can take up to 12-16 months before you see a fully mature result from any transplant.
The Neograft procedure can last between 4 to 12 hours, depending on the number of grafts that need to be harvested, similar to other hair transplant procedures. The entire process is divided into two parts: harvesting and placement. During the harvesting portion, you’ll be on the table for up to four hours. The donor site is anesthetized with local anesthetic using a small gauge needle before the hair follicles are extracted. You will be able to take small breaks to eat or use the restroom in between each part. Then, you’ll sit upright for placement. The same anesthetic is applied to the area and the follicles are implanted. After this is finished and the surgeon sees that each graft is secure, you may or may not receive a light protective dressing before going home.
There are many different choices of tools to use when extracting grafts during an FUE procedure, each with its advantages and disadvantages. It is a matter of preference. Whatever the tool being used, the most important thing of course is obtaining a viable healthy graft that will survive when transplanted with the least scarring possible. The most important things are the technique, artistic eye, and experience of the physician doing the punches.
Dr. Craig Ziering
Hair Transplant Surgeon & Artist