Modern hair transplantation is performed using follicular unit transplantation (FUT), or with combination grafting with follicular units and multi-unit grafts (MUGs). Dr. Elliott uses both these techniques on a daily basis. He is an internationally-recognized expert in combination grafting, and has written chapters in the 2010 Hair Transplantation text by Drs. Walter Unger and Ronald Shapiro.
Long Hair Transplants
This procedure is quite unique. Dr. Elliott learned this technique from its innovator, Dr. Marcelo Pitchon, of Brasil. Put simply, grafts are transplanted with their full length hairs left long, rather than being clipped to 3mm length. This means that you leave your procedure with your new hair. This hair will still fall out by the 2 week mark like most grafts do, but in the meantime, you have a preview of your result. In addition, the presence of this hair completely conceals any evidence that you have had a transplant. This is very important for some patients.
The first patient that Dr. Elliott performed LHT on left the next morning for a hockey tournament on a bus with his teenage son, the rest of the team and parents. No one could tell he had a transplant.
Another patient told Dr. Elliott months after his LHT that he went back into his office the next day and no one knew. His wife had been out of town and returned 2 days after his procedure and did not know (the patient had not told her he was having a transplant).
Dr. Elliott is one of a very small number of physicians to offer LHT. It takes a little longer to do, but is well worth the time.
This is one of the main concerns for patients considering hair transplants. Hair transplants are not inherently painless. There are 3 main periods where patients may feel pain: during injection of the initial anesthetic, during the procedure, and afterwards. Dr. Elliott knows this from personal experience with his own first transplant that he underwent in 1995. His doctor used standard local anesthetics, without any special techniques for reducing pain during injection, and did not use any long-acting anesthetics to prevent pain post-procedure. With an approach like this, you feel pain with the injections and the anesthetic wears off within 6 hours.
Since that time, Dr. Elliott has become an internationally recognized expert in hair transplant anesthesia and pain prevention and has developed techniques and protocols that he has taught to other surgeons all over the world. His technique uses several key components to give patients a truly painless experience, with anesthesia lasting until the day after the procedure. Since the post-procedure pain of a typical hair transplant occurs the first night, his patients are spared this because their scalp is still numb.
Anesthetic Technique and Medications
Tiny needles, a gentle hand and advanced neuro-distraction techniques using pH-balanced dilute anesthetics mean that Dr. Elliott’s patients don’t feel a thing. He personally monitors your anesthetic during the procedure and adds long-acting anesthetic before the end to prevent any break-through sensation. You are given a very effective, but non-sedating pain medication prior to going home which means that you won’t need anything else that night.
Light sedation is important for reducing pre-procedure anxiety and this is standard in Dr. Elliott’s office.
Surgical Technique and Pain Prevention
The technique of doing the actual surgery has also improved. The incisions now are much more superficial and tiny and Dr. Elliott’s technique results in no injury to deeper vessels and nerves in the scalp and faster healing. Patients who had transplants years before are amazed at how much easier it is today.