NHI’s Fast Track® Method enables us to perform restorations in one or two sessions that formerly might have required many years and multiple surgeries. Fast Track® sessions are performed in outpatient settings under local anesthesia. This approach fits surgery into an active patient’s lifestyle with minimal disruption.
The Fast Track® Method can allow individuals with adequate follicular density and scalp flexibility to have as many as 2,400 or more grafts transplanted in a single session. Patient satisfaction in these individuals is extremely high. These large sessions can be accomplished with the very small grafts used in Follicular Unit Transplantation.
The social implications of a hair transplant are rarely discussed at medical meetings, but are in the forefront of almost every balding patient’s mind. The specific events that bring a balding patient to the doctor for hair loss will vary, but the common denominator of those seeking hair restoration is to improve their appearance, and (although generally unspoken), to improve the quality of their life, be it personal, professional, or social.
There is no better way for a surgeon to undermine this goal than to subject an already self-conscious patient to a lengthy course of small, incomplete procedures. Until the transplant is cosmetically acceptable, the disruptions from the scheduling of multiple surgeries, the limitations in activity, and the concern about their “discovery,” can place a patient’s life “on hold.” The doctor should, therefore, try to accomplish his patient’s objectives as quickly as possible. Most important, the surgery should be planned in such a way that the patient will look normal and can continue with all of his activities while he is awaiting another procedure, or even if he decides not to have another.
At NHI we are committed to accomplishing your goals as quickly, and in as few procedures, as possible. This is what the “Fast Track®” means. With the exclusive use of follicular units we are able to safely perform larger numbers of grafts per session, while at the same time ensuring their maximum growth. Accomplishing the transplant in a few larger sessions rather than in many small sessions not only makes it easier and faster to achieve your goals, but also it has a number of medical benefits. These are described in the section Megasessions.
Historical Note on NHI’s Fast Track® Method
The technique of performing a large number of grafts in a single session was introduced in Brazil at the clinic of Dr. Carlos Uebel in the mid-1980’s. Work of a similar nature was also performed shortly after in Austria, Germany, and Japan. Dr. Uebel’s focus was on moving one- to two-hair grafts in quantities of up to 1,500 grafts in a single session.
In 1992, the New Hair Institute expanded upon the earlier micrograft procedures to enable large megasessions of 2000-3000 very small 1-3 hair grafts to be performed in a single session and called this the Fast Track®. The procedure was popularized worldwide when, in 1994 and 1995, NHI brought several dozen live patients with their work completed to the International Meetings of the ISHRS (International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons) in the U.S. and Canada and showed the results of these Megasessions.
The results were so impressive, it put to rest the challenges to NHI’s Fast-Track Technique and put the “Megasession” permanently on the map. In 1995, NHI began using only follicular units in these large sessions and called the procedure Follicular Transplantation. The name was formally changed to Follicular Unit Transplantation in 1998.
The Fast Track® approach allows the hair restoration process fit into a socially acceptable time period. The most distinct difference between the Fast Track® and other similar transplantation procedures is the high number of hair follicles that are moved in naturally growing follicular units. This dramatically reduces the number of procedures required.
The Fast Track® method may condense the entire hair transplantation process into one or two surgical procedures. With this approach, each procedure may stand on its own, and subsequent procedures are simply the decision of the patient to add additional density or refinement. If more than one procedure is desired, another can be performed in as little as 8 months, if appropriate. A second procedure should await the results of the earlier procedure to reassess goals and determine the cosmetic effects of the first procedure. This means that density may be added incrementally, and that the patient may stop with just one procedure if he chooses to do so and still achieve an attractive and natural outcome.
With traditional hair transplantation, social visibility becomes a major problem. When the traditional transplants have grown in, they appear “pluggy” unless camouflaged with one and two hair grafts in the front. Traditional (large graft) transplants require constant grooming to be undetectable.
With the follicular unit approach, one can add hair density to the thinning areas or one can treat hair recession as it occurs by replacing lost hair incrementally. Follicular transplants do not require careful grooming and do not have to be camouflaged. Simply, Follicular Unit Transplantation can cover an entire bald area or can keep up with the balding or thinning process to maintain a person’s appearance. With the Fast Track® approach, the number of surgeries is minimized, as is the disruption of the patient’s life.