Donor harvesting: a new approach to minimize transection of hair follicles

Dermatol Surg. 2000 Apr;26(4):345-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2000.99226.x.


Background: There are several methods for harvesting donor hairs, including punch excision, single-bladed knife excision, and multibladed knife excision. All of these procedures are blind and thus result in transection of hair follicles. Transection of hair follicles during harvesting results in fewer follicles being available for transplantation, detrimentally affecting the final cosmetic result.

Objective: To explore a new method of donor hair harvesting called "donor dissecting." This new procedure is an open technique because hair follicles are directly visualized during the harvesting process.

Methods: The technique of donor dissecting utilizes a #15 scalpel blade to excise the donor hair ellipse from the occiput while maintaining meticulous hemostasis. This enables individual hair follicles to be visualized and protected from transection during the harvesting process. Once the donor ellipse is harvested, it is then further divided into individual mini- and micrografts using direct visualization of individual follicles to again prevent transection.

Results: The technique of donor dissecting was utilized in 50 consecutive hair transplant patients. Utilizing this new technique, only 1.9% of hair follicles in the donor ellipse were transected during the harvesting process. The dissection of the donor ellipse 1.2% follicles being transected in the graft cutting process. Combining the donor dissection technique with dissection of the individual grafts, we were able to transect 1.59% of hair follicles harvested for transplantation.

Conclusion: The technique of donor dissection minimizes the transection of hair follicles in the donor hair harvesting phase of hair transplantation. This technique is superior to the blind methods of donor harvesting which have been plagued by the problem of hair follicle transection.

MeSH terms

  • Hair Follicle / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods*