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Hair Loss Terminology Decoded

Hair Loss Terminology Decoded

Alopecia: Hair loss.  This is the diagnostic term that doctors use.

Androgenetic Alopecia: Pattern hair loss in either men or women.  Caused by genetics and androgens (hence the name).  Also sometimes termed androgenic alopecia.

Scarring Alopecia: Also known as cicatricial alopecias, this is a group of hair loss disorders that is more likely to be permanent and are NOT androgenetic in origin.  These forms of hair loss follow different patterns and are more likely to require a lab work-up or biopsy for diagnosis, as well as varying other treatments.  Not likely candidate for hair transplantation unless the area has been inactive for a number of years.

Hair Extensions: Hair (either manufactured or real human hair) attached in between your own hair.  See wig or hair system.

Follicular Unit (FU): Hair graft.  One- two- or three-haired grafts are most commonly transplanted.

FUT: Follicular Unit Transplantation.  This means the hair units (grafts) are moved one at a time.  This can either be done with the traditional “strip” method where the hairs are removed all at once, or by removing the hairs one at a time (aka Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE).  Some people use this term to offhandedly refer to any traditional “strip” procedure, but technically it just refers to the fact that the grafts are transplanted one at a time (instead of in groups like plugs used to be).

FUE: Follicular Unit Extraction.  Hairs are removed for transplantation one at a time.  Note that FUE is a form of FUT, and that many patients opt for it because the scarring from this technique can be less visible.

Hair Transplant: The procedure whereby hair is moved from one area (usually the back of your head) to another (usually the front of your head where you are losing hair).

Hair Restoration: Same as a hair transplant.

Hair System: Wig or hairpiece.

Trichophytic: Literally, Greek for “hair loving.”  This term refers to an incision that allows the hair to grow through the scar, reducing the visibility and camouflaging it.

Strip:  Refers to the current gold standard of hair transplantation which is to remove as much hair safely all at once from the back of the head, separate it into individual hair grafts under a microscope, and then transplanting them in the needed areas.  Not to be confused with FUE, which is the process of removing the grafts one at a time.  See “FUT” above.

Sub-Q: Short for Subcuticular.  Refers to stitches (sutures) below the skin that dissolve on their own but hold the skin together so that the wound can heal without tension.