What Are Hair Plugs? Are Hair Plugs Still Used In Hair Transplants?

Overview

Balding is an embarrassing condition for many of us, and everybody wants something to hide it or treat it. Well, hair plugs are one of those remedies to get rid of this. Well, it is the term used to refer to the hair transplants that were very popular from the 1950s to the early 2000s. What happens in a hair plug hair transplant, is that the surgeon would punch out a larger portion of skin from the back of your scalp and then transplant them into the balding parts. 

Although, hair plugs are outdated or old-fashioned now and no longer performed anywhere. Presently, the two techniques called follicular unit transplantation- FUT follicular unit extraction-FUE are popular and more in demand.  

However, people who don’t know about these terms much mistakenly use hair plugs or hair transplants referring to these two techniques. 

Let’s know more about it, and also the difference between hair plugs and hair transplants. 

What Are Hair Plugs?

Hair plugs are old-fashioned types of hair transplants that use plug-grafts to shield the balding areas. It was first performed by the New York dermatologist Dr. Norman Orentreich in the 1950s. 

So, during this old type of surgery, surgeons would punch out “plugs” from the back of your scalp, about 4mm plugs, and would insert them over the balding areas of the head. 

But this technique of hair transplant was not as sophisticated as modern techniques. Hair plugs often produced unnatural hair linings and a doll-like look. 

With time the hair grafts become smaller and the hair linings more natural. Eventually, by the 2000s hair plugs became overrated and out of fashion and got replaced by newer techniques such as the FUT technique. 

So, in the follicular unit transplantation, the surgeon would cut a strip of hair from the back of your scalp and take out individual follicles. And the follicles are then transplanted to the balding parts of the head. 

Follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction are similar and are the most common types of hair transplants. 

Are Hair Plugs Still Used in Hair Transplants?

No, hair plugs are not used at present and they have been replaced by newer and modern techniques like FUT and FUE. 

As the technology becomes more modern and sophisticated, it is replaced by the new and natural technique like the above two follicular techniques which offers more advantages, quick procedures, and lower chances of scarring and provides more natural results. 

Comparatively the old methods took a long time. A study from 1971 reveals that the procedure took 16 weeks to complete the deep hairline recession. While the newer techniques took only 4-8 hours. 

Hair Plugs V/S Hair Transplant 

So, we know that the older method of hair plugs is different from other new methods. So, let’s see in which ways they are different from each other. 

Hair plugs V/S FUT 

Follicular unit transplantation techniques came into scientific knowledge in 1995 and put back the hair plugs technique in the early 2000s. 

In this technique, the surgeon will pick out a strip of skin from the back of your scalp and then extract the follicles. Thereafter they cover your balding areas with individual follicles over the balding areas. 

Also read: how fast does hair grow

This follicular technique allows the person to achieve a more natural hair look, than from a hair plug transplant. 

Generally, FUT is preferred over FUE if the person needs a large number of follicles implanted. Moreover, it’s more affordable and shorter than FUE. 

Hair plugs V/S FUE 

Follicular unit extraction is more advanced than FUT as it involves removing individual follicles rather than cutting a strip of skin from your scalp. So, presently the FUE is the more commonly performed hair transplant technique and provides a large number of benefits over FUT and hair plugs.

Benefits of FUE Over FUT And Hair Plugs

  • Quick recovery
  • Less risk of scarring
  • Good for people with lower hair densities 

Usually, the hair transplant technique involves shaving from the least part of your hair. Though, the FUE technique can be performed on the non-shaved hair. 

Advantage of Hair Plug Technique

Well, the traditional techniques of hair transplants like hair plug techniques were revolutionary at that time until they have been replaced by the newer techniques which are more effective and demandable. So, shortly we can say that it’s about time and creation. Over time things develop to facilitate more pleasing service and results. 

Side Effects of Hair Plugs

As we have discussed, the after look of the hair plugs gave a doll-like appearance which didn’t look natural like today’s natural procedures and after look. 

Also, hair plugs often come with lots of complications like:-

  • Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Ingrown hairs 
  • Swelling
  • Temporary hair loss
  • Scalp numbness
  • Annoying results 

Who Can Go For a Hair Transplant?

Although every person would benefit from a hair transplant, the following criteria will help you to know if you can go for it. 

Type of hair loss:- hair transplants are beneficial for those who have genetic hair loss types such as male pattern or female pattern baldness. 

Medical history:- if you don’t have any severe medical condition or disease which could interrupt your healing, and increase the risk of infections such as thyroid, HIV, and diabetes. 

Area of balding:- if you have balding at the front of the head. Hair transplants are more effective in the front balding area. 

Medications:- you are not taking any medication that could affect your hair growth such as amphetamines or propranolol

Hair coverage:- you have enough hair coverage to allow the surgeon to extract their implants. 

Hair density and color:- people with thick and dark-colored hairs are more good candidates for this procedure. 

Hair Transplant After Hair Plugs

Both the techniques- traditional hair plugs as well as modern hair transplants involve the extraction of hair from one part of your scalp and inserting it into the balding areas. 

If you have had a hair plug surgery in the past, and now want to move to either of FUT or FUE modern hair transplant methods, yes you can go for it. But only if you have many hair follicles to be implanted to the balding parts. 

Generally, in a FUT procedure, a surgeon uses a strip of 1-1.5 centimeters wide. So, if you don’t have sufficient coverage, overuse may leave unwanted scars and thinness of your hair. 

And do you know many hair restoration clinics offer reverse hair plug surgery for people who are not happy with the after look? 

Conclusion 

Hair plugs hair transplant surgery is a traditional technique of hair transplant which was in use since the early 2000s. Currently, newer and advanced techniques are popular and in-demand such as follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction. These techniques involved the extraction of hair follicles from the back of your scalp and then inserting them into the balding parts. Hair plug surgery is not in demand in current times and has been old-fashioned. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

How much does it cost to get hair plugs?

The cost of hair transplant surgery typically ranges from $4,000- $15,000. So, as you can see, it’s almost out of the pocket. Unfortunately, these kinds of hair transplants are considered cosmetic surgeries, and most insurance companies don’t cover this. Though, the cost of a hair transplant depends on various other factors. 

What are hair plugs?

Hair plugs are the typical name of traditional ways of hair transplant surgeries that were performed from the 1950s to the early 2000s. So, the surgery involves pulling out a large strip of skin from the back of the scalp and then inserting it into the bald areas. 

How long do hair plugs last?

It may take six months to a year to see the desired results or may take longer than this. A complete result will surely be achieved after a year as it takes time for certain changes to occur with hair growth. And in most cases, it lasts for a lifetime as the implantation is done into the thin and bald areas. 

Do hair plugs actually work?

Yes, the hair plugs were a traditional type for recreation and many people have used them. Though it has side effects too, it can cover your baldness. As well as the newer techniques of follicular extraction are very beneficial than the over-the-counter hair restoration products. However, there are certainly other factors to consider when talking about a successful hair transplant. 

So, on average 10-80% of the people achieve a full growth of hair within three to four months post hair transplant. 

What is the best age for hair transplant?

The perfect age for a hair transplant is after 25. Hair transplantation depends on the severity of the hair loss and the person’s facial features to make the surgery suitable for the look. Well, for younger patients, there is no information about it. But the right age group would be 25 and older. 

How painful is a hair transplant?

Most of the patients experience a little discomfort, though numbing agents are applied over the scalp. Also after the procedure, you may feel discomfort as the scalp heals. But overall, most patients won’t feel anything during or after the grating surgery. 

Do hair plugs look bad?

Yes, hair plugs give a doll-like appearance and maybe you won’t feel satisfied with the results. But in the case of today’s hair transplant techniques, you will look good after the grafting. So, the hair after transplant never looks bad, neither the scar they leave looks bad, it heals over time giving you the natural look as if you had never lost your hair. So, you can trust in today’s procedures.

Why do hair plugs look fake?

Hair plugs look fake because they are made from your real hair and their size and gaps in between. 

Can hair plugs fall out?

Yes, after 2-3 weeks of the surgery the hair plugs would fall out, and you will have to wait for new hair growth within a few months. 

Will a hair transplant last forever?

Yes, hair transplants last forever. The reason for this, whether it’s FUT or FUE hair grafting, both focus on the follicle implantation and will achieve similar characteristics as your normal hair. 

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