NeoGraft is a type of follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique that is used in the treatment of hair loss. It involves a simple transplant procedure that allows patients to regain a full, natural hairline, using their own hair.
It is the first FUE system to be given FDA approval and is claimed to speed up the technique and reduce scarring time by automating the procedure. Neograft essentially acts as an extension of the surgeon’s hand, giving them improved accuracy and speed to carry out the procedure.
The process starts by having hair removed from a part of the head where there is healthy growth. This is usually at the back of the head.
You may have noticed that many sufferers of androgenic alopecia only go bald on top – this is because the hairs that grow at the back and sides of the head differ genetically very slightly from the hairs on the top of the head, in that they are able to resist dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone which causes damage to hair follicles.
These grafts are extracted in equal dimensions in order to maximize the number that can be taken. The NeoGraft system uses pneumatic control in the extraction of hair follicles – this helps to ensure complete extraction without damaging the follicles
Once the grafts have been taken, the target sites for implantation are prepared by the surgeon.
He or she needs to take care to create recipient sites which are properly oriented to give the patient the hairstyle that has been previously agreed upon. The grafts are then implanted into the scalp.
The process can take between three and eight hours, and is split into two parts. The first part is when the hair follicles are harvested. You will need to lie on your front for between two and four hours.
You will receive a local anesthetic in the back of your scalp. Once this is done, there is time to eat, go to the bathroom and relax before the second part of the procedure is begun.
During this second phase, you will have to sit upright to receive an anesthetic in the front of the scalp, where the new implants will be made.
Once it has been made sure that the grafts are in position, the donor and recipient areas will be washed and dressed. You will be advised on follow-up care after your procedure, but this is usually minimal.
Discomfort is usually gone after the first day, but strenuous activity is discouraged in the week after the procedure.
Neograft is believed to have become the most popular FUE procedure, with patients focusing more on choosing a reputable surgeon to perform the procedure, rather than weighing it against other techniques.
This is because the benefits of FUE with Neograft are numerous:
- There are no stitches or staples
- There is less discomfort
- The procedure is faster than other FUE methods
- Incisions heal within days
- The patient usually makes a full recovery within a week
The biggest concern regarding the procedure is usually financial. While linear harvesting is still the cheapest type of hair transplant, it is not considered cheap by most people.
Neograft reduces the amount of time the surgeon needs to perform the transplant, and therefore allows you to save money in surgeons’ fees. As Neograft technology advances, this time is expecting to continue to be reduced.
For a successful transplant, it is essential that the surgeon has proven skill and experience. Attempting to save money by choosing a novice surgeon or an outsourced transplant team can be disastrous.
While the transplanted follicles may grow healthily, it is more likely that less experienced surgeons will make grave errors in the orientation of implants, resulting in a chaotic and unnatural hairstyle. Attempting to rectify such mistakes can be dangerous and very costly.
It is therefore imperative that you seek out a surgeon with a good track record and numerous satisfactory referrals.
Body Hair Transplant
If you are almost completely bald, you may have been told that it is impossible for you to undergo a transplant – after all, you cannot transplant follicles that aren’t there in the first place. However, you may want to look more closely at Body hair transplants (BHT).
While you may be lacking follicles on top, there are around five million more to be found on your body. Typical donor areas include the beard, chest and abdomen.
The suitability of each donor area should be discussed with an accomplished BHT surgeon before undergoing any procedure.
Neograft technology consists of a handheld device which uses vacuum suction to remove the grafts from the scalp. This is designed to make the FUE process simpler and faster for surgeons, by allowing them to take grafts of equal dimensions.
It must be noted, however, that certain more experienced transplant surgeons have claimed that, despite Neograft’s technological offerings, they still feel that they operate faster and more accurately with their own scalpel and other surgical tools.
They also claim that Neograft has allowed doctors with no experience of hairline restoration to set up business, subcontracting the procedural work to technicians from the Neograft company, thus avoiding responsibility for any problems which might arise from an operation which they have arranged.
The problem is not with the extraction of follicles – Neograft FUE is minimally invasive and produces negligible scarring which heals very quickly.
The device can take grafts of between 0.6 and 0.8mm with between one and three hairs. Less experienced surgeons can achieve outstanding results during extraction.
However, as we have seen, it is during the implantation process that the experience and skill of an accomplished transplant surgeon becomes essential.
The majority of reviews of Neograft tend to be positive, although the reader must bear in mind that they may well reflect more on the ability of the particular surgeon than on the technology itself. In general, most patients report that:
- The process was painless
- It took less time than expected
- Results were better than expected
- It worked better than other treatments
Though the negative reviews are few and far between, they included reports of:
- The doctor they signed up with didn’t perform the procedure
- The transplant was performed by a technician
- The technician made mistakes during the target phase, resulting in pain and bloodshed
- Within three weeks all of the transplanted hair had fallen out
- The side effects included facial swelling
- The procedure has left permanent scarring
The negative comments reinforce the importance of choosing a reputable surgeon and ensuring that they will carry out the operation in person.
A successful Neograft transplant should yield results that last a lifetime. The most noticeable between Neograft and non-Neograft transplants is the improved appearance of the donor area port-operation.
Instead of leaving a noticeable, linear scar, Neograft leaves dot-like scars which can’t be noticed once hair has regrown.
Luckily most procedures look much better than hair plugs.
In order to maintain your new hair and prevent further alopecia, your doctor may recommend continual treatment with minoxodil or finasteride to protect your follicles, although I recommend choosing the natural alternatives to these that work even more effectively.
Those who suffer from negative results usually do so as a direct consequence of having chosen an inexperienced surgeon, or an outsourced technician. A hair transplant is real cosmetic surgery – Neograft is simply a tool. You wouldn’t expect someone with no experience of painting to come up with a masterpiece, despite having the best brushes available.
Always ask to see evidence of previous results and referrals and don’t be seduced by lower pricing. You are paying for the skill of the physician, not the technology used.
Neograft Before and After
Before you go under the knife (or under the punch, to be more precise), your physician will give you a physical examination and discuss your hair loss with you.
You will need to have your hair cut very short in order to create access for the surgeon to carry out the procedure without difficulty. During this phase, you should find out as much information about your doctor and the treatment as possible, including:
- Whether your surgeon is certified in hair restoration
- The details of that certification
- What the training consisted of
- How much of their work is in hair transplantation
- Evidence of before and after pictures of numerous patients
- The number of patients they have treated and their success rates
- What guarantees they can make
Remember that the surgeon will determine how you look for the remainder of your life and so you will need to be certain that you both understand and agree on the designs for your new hairstyle.
The surgeon, for their part will also need to establish:
- How many grafts you will need
- How much the procedure will cost you
- Whether you are taking medication for hair loss, or whether you will need to take it in future
After the procedure is done, your grafts will be slightly raised for a week or two as a result of scabbing where the tiny incisions have been made. This may be annoying, but it will pass quickly and it is important to avoid scratching your scalp and not to expose it to rough treatment or intense sunlight.
Once you have made a full recovery, you will need to be conscious of the areas of your hair that were not grafted. These areas may still be at risk of hair loss due to alopecia and you may need to take medication or use treatment to prevent follicles from being damaged.
Popular treatments include minoxidil and finasteride.
On the website RealSelf.com, the average price of Neograft treatment is $10,525.
This can vary quite a lot depending on the number of grafts which need to be made, and therefore the best way to get an idea of how much it will cost in your case, is through your doctor.
Neograft also has a range of post-transplant treatments, which can be applied at home.
Neograft Cost Per Graft
The cost varies according to location and the expertise and reputation of your chosen physician. Patients and surgeons report per-graft prices ranging from $6-12 per graft.
It is clear that Neograft is a popular FUE device, which, in the right hands can produce exceptional results. Know more about the typical timeline of a transplant here.
Prospective patients need to bear in mind that Neograft technology is a tool, and must be sure to carry out due diligence on the surgeons they are considering to carry out the procedure.
Most patients who undergo Neograft transplants are happy with the result. Those who are not can usually point to an under-qualified or unexperienced surgeon or technician who carried out the procedure as the reason things didn’t go as planned.
You should also be aware, there are some common side-effects people have experienced after a hair transplant, which you can find out more about here.