Hello Dr. Rassman,
With regard to future donor density/yield, what is the better option:
Several small strip procedures or one very large procedure?
What I’m basically asking is which one would be more detrimental to your donor supply for future transplants (possibly affecting laxity)?
I have to speak in generalities, something that I do not like to do as every situation is different. Generally speaking, the less the number of surgeries the better for the donor supply, but as larger and larger sessions are tackled, the surgical team is as critical as other items such as donor density and laxity. Each surgery has a built in waste factor (I estimate it in a good doctor’s hands at about 4-5% in a strip surgery) so two surgeries will produce more waste (a relatively small amount of waste). In the hands of a surgical team not designed for very large sessions (over 2000-2500 grafts), the larger session might cause a longer surgical time, more time for the grafts to be out of the body, and more time for dessication (drying of grafts causing graft death). Longer surgeries require more anesthesia and a skill in managing the anesthetic requirements is critical for larger sessions. In the rush to keep pace among the field’s leaders, many groups try to offer larger sessions (3000-5000 follicular unit graft range) even though they are ill prepared for this service. Some groups dishonestly sell these larger sessions and do not deliver on them, yet do charge for them… causing a fraudulent transaction (more common than most doctors will admit to, i.e. “It’s the other doctor, not me!”).
You were right to ask about the future donor supply. Very large sessions may reduce your donor supply very significantly when they are done, so it is good to understand what the session will do to the Master Plan for the patient. Running out of donor supply could be a critical error if it is done in one session. Look at today’s 12:31pm post (2 down from this post) and look at the real donor supply. Any hair taken outside this rim of hair is not permanent so if the doctor goes too high or too low, you may find out in the long term that what you received is not permanent.