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Linear Strip Hair Restoration: The Gold Standard in Hair Replacement

Do you have long hair and never plan to wear it short? Do you want to have a hair restoration surgery but don’t want to shave your head? Are you looking for an FDA-approved, permanent hair replacement solution that provides natural results with minimal scarring? Having a linear strip hair restoration might be right for you!

Learn More About Follicular Unit Transplantation

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT), which is also called the “linear strip method,” is the gold standard in hair restoration to this day. That may sound counter-intuitive when there are now robots available that can “do” hair restoration surgery, but it’s true. The robotic tools are meant to be used for special cases where a linear procedure is not a viable option. In fact, the only difference between a linear procedure versus a robotic-assisted procedure at the Anderson Center for Hair is whether your scarring in the donor area is one long thin line (from a linear procedure) or a randomly-distributed collection of tiny circular scars (from an FUE procedure). In both cases the hair on the back of your head covers the scar, and the results on the front and top of your scalp where the hairs are placed will look the same regardless of the method used to harvest the donor hair.

What is the process involved for a linear hair restoration?

The primary difference between a linear hair restoration and a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is in how the grafts are extracted. Rather than removing individual hair grafts like in an FUE procedure, a thin strip of tissue is taken from the back of the head, extending from approximately 1 inch behind each ear and just above the occipital bone. After the strip is removed, individual grafts are then dissected and prepared to be transplanted.

While the team works on the newly excised tissue, your surgeon will create the transplant sites where each hair is to be placed. This method is the same as in an FUE surgery; your physician will create a tiny excision in every location where he wants a hair to grow, matching the angles of growth of the naturally occurring hairs around the site. It takes an entire team working together under magnification to then plant each and every new follicle into its new location.

While FUT surgery does produce a linear scar, our surgeons at Anderson Center for Hair use the trichophytic closure method whenever possible to reduce scarring. Patients do not have to shave their head for this procedure, making it a popular option for men with longer hair, people who never plan to wear their hair military-grade short, and women seeking hair restoration. It can also produce a higher yield of grafts when compared to FUE surgery.

Check out a real-life example of an Anderson Center for Hair healed scar using the trichophytic closure:

Frequently Asked Questions

How will my hair look after a linear strip hair restoration procedure?

This is the number one question we are asked about extracellular vesicles for treating hair loss. Everyone wants to know if extracellular vesicles can restore their hair. The short answer is: “it depends.” extracellular vesicles are a new frontier in regenerative medicine, so while the treatment is based on strong science and all the necessary safety precautions have been well established, we don’t yet have extensive efficacy studies. However, the great news is that early experience with extracellular vesicle injections are showing better, more robust results than patients undergoing PRP treatment. We expect results to vary from patient to patient depending on how much hair you’ve already lost and the speed at which the hair you do have is continuing to thin.

How do the results of a linear strip procedure different than the old hair plugs people used to get?

The image that comes to mind when you think of the hair plugs of the 1980’s and 90’s is probably something horrible like large tufts of doll hair. In those early days of hair transplant, doctors harvested small islands of skin with multiple hair follicles in a group. When these big chunks of grafts healed in place, the scar tissue caused an awkward and unnatural appearance.

Today those methods are no longer used. After the strip of donor tissue is collected by your surgeon, a team of highly-skilled medical professionals will sliver and dissect each individual graft from the others, resulting in singular grafts for implanting. Because there is no excess skin around the follicles, there’s no risk of scar tissue ruining the appearance of the follicles. You can rest assured that the results will appear natural – like the hair has always been there and not like a doctor implanted it there.

Are hair transplant results permanent with a linear strip hair restoration?

Yes! As with any method of hair restoration offered at Anderson Center for Hair, your surgeon will only transplant permanent hairs that are not susceptible to conditions that cause male and female pattern baldness. These transplanted hairs will last a lifetime. However, the other hairs in the recipient areas that you do have left will continue to thin over time without prevention methods in place. In order to maximize the long term appearance of your results, it’s important to treat the root cause of the hair loss and in addition to replacing already lost hair with surgery.

How long does a linear procedure take?

Overall, you can expect your procedure to last 4-8 hours. As a patient you’ll arrive in the morning to fill out paperwork and review consents. You’ll then have a pre-surgery meeting with your surgeon to review the placement of your transplanted hairs and the details of the day.

After being numbed with local anesthesia, the first phase is for your surgeon to remove the strip of tissue from the donor area and suture the wound. This phase generally takes 1-1 ½ hours. After a brief break, your doctor will create each site in the recipient area. Depending on the amount of hair loss and number of grafts to be transplanted, this process could take up to 1 ½ hours. After a break for lunch, our team of hair restoration technicians will place the individually dissected grafts into each site created by your surgeon.

How long does the healing process take for a linear strip procedure?

The medical recovery time and healing for a linear strip procedure method of hair restoration because there are no sutures to remove. Your grafts are “locked in” after three days and you can usually go back to your daily activities in 7-10 days. Keep in mind that if you are having an ARTAS procedure with a full buzz cut, you may need to account for time for your hair to grow back in to feel like you look “normal” again. This time frame is generally longer than the time medical healing time.

When will my new hair start to grow after surgery?

Your hair naturally grows in long cycles. When a hair follicle is newly implanted, it takes time to develop its own blood supply. Some of the implanted hairs will start to grow right away, and other will shed a grow a new hair. Each follicle is on its own timeline, so it takes a while before enough hairs grow together in tandem to notice a significant difference. Most patients report growth at about three months after the transplant and continuing to come in over the course of a full year. At approximately six months you can expect a noticeable improvement, and after a full year you will see final results.

Will people know I have had a Hair Restoration just by looking?

Whether your surgeon is using the linear strip method or the ARTAS® robot for harvesting, after a short period of time following your procedure, it should not be evident that a procedure has taken place based on the new hairs placed into the recipient area. Also, given that the transplanted hair grows in gradually over a period of a year, the change is subtle, reducing the chance that people will notice you had a procedure.

In the donor area, a linear hair restoration procedure does leave a linear scar. Anderson Center for Hair surgeons are specifically trained to use a trichophytic closure to minimize the scarring, however, it’s important to know that the scar will limit how short you can wear your hair in the future. If you wear your hair short enough that you can see your scalp in between the hairs in the donor area across the back and sides of your head, then you would be able to see the scar. If you never plan to wear your hair short, this will never pose a problem. However, if you want to wear a military-grade high and tight, you should talk with your surgeon about an ARTAS® robotic procedure as an alternative.

Does having a linear strip hair transplant procedure hurt?

All linear hair restoration procedures at Anderson Center for Hair are outpatient and take place in our office, requiring only local anesthetic and light sedation. Once your scalp is numb, you won't feel any pain. After your procedure, you will be provided pain medication. However, most patients report that the donor area feels like a dull headache for the first week and that Tylenol or Aleve is strong enough to manage lingering discomfort. The area where the hairs are implanted is reliably numb for a few months until the follicles develop new blood vessels. Some patients experience minor swelling and/or discoloration around their eyes post-procedure, which usually peaks on days two, three, and four.

Should I cut my hair before treatment?

No! In fact, we recommend precisely the opposite. When you’re planning for a linear hair restoration surgery, we suggest growing your hair out as long as you can stand it. After your surgeon removes the strip of tissue from the donor area, he’ll suture the wound and those stitches will be in place for 14 days. During this time, the length of your hair that you’ve grown out will serve to hide the sutures during the healing process. You can resume normal haircuts after your sutures are removed.

What is the cost of a linear hair transplant procedure?

Treatment costs for a surgical procedure at Anderson Center for Hair depend on which surgeon you choose, the method of extraction, how much hair loss you have, and how many follicles you have available for transplant. Every situation is unique. To receive an evaluation and a quote, click here to book a consultation.

Before & After