What is a hair graft?
A graft is some kind of skin containing one or more hair follicles. Hair transplant procedures are all about extracting grafts and then harvesting them into the balding areas. Although grafts can be taken out from almost any hair area of the body such as legs and a beard; your doctor will usually use the back of your neck for hair transplants on your scalp. This is because the grafts taken from the back of your neck makes the ideal donor area as the hair follicles here are resistant to male-pattern hair loss, the most common type of hair loss.
It is also important to preserve the collectedhair graftsin the right place and conditions otherwise they may get damaged and may not hold on to the scalp in the recipient area. To this aim, your doctor will keep them in a special liquid. Your doctor will first collect grafts from the donor area and then open channels in the recipient area to implant them. The grafts should keep alive till they can be transferred into the balding areas. Your doctor will also have to use your hair grafts, other people’s hair follicles will not work for you.
The grafts must keep their cellular viability after collecting. If they lose their cellular viability they may not be able to hold on to the scalp and not grow. Therefore your doctor will keep them in containers filled with special liquids that will feed them. Actually, there are a few types of different techniques to preserve hair grafts: saline solution method, HypoThermosol, and IceGraft method.
Hair Graft Safe Storage methods
Your doctor will first collect the grafts containing the hair follicles and then keep them in a saline solution in a cold environment. This solution contains distilled water with sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. One of the most preferred storage methods, the saline solution provides high preservation rates. Hair follicles will be kept in special containers at a temperature of 2 °C to 8 °C. Also used in other medical applications, the saline solution will ensure that the hair follicles keep alive for a long time until your doctors open channels.
Hypothermosol is an optimized biopreservation method that provides high-level preservation of the hair follicles. After collecting the grafts, your doctor will put them into a solution called hypothermosol at a temperature of 2 °C to 8 °C. As the temperature declines every 10°C from the body temperature, metabolic reactions will decrease, which will preserve cells and tissues from rotting. Discovered by Dr. Boden in 2013, the hypothermosol method ensures high rates of cell survival after the hair transplant procedure, thus it is one of the most successful storage methods. However, it is costly as compared to other methods, which is quite a downside.
Another efficient method to preserve hair follicles, Icegraft method will ensure that your hair follicles keep alive with increased viability. This method will also keep the solution at a certain temperature, and consequently stabilize the pH of cells. The solution contains some antioxidants and some vitamins which will help strengthen and refresh hair follicles. A highly effective graft storage method, the icegraft method will ensure that the hair follicles will keep the maximum strength and viability for successful hair transplantation.
Why Does Graft Storage matter?
The viability of the grafts is what makes a hair transplant procedure successful. It is the grafts containing hair follicles which will restore the balding areas in your head. Because they are very sensitive and their cellular structure will lose viability and become dysfunctional in inadequate conditions, it is of utmost importance to give them what they need. Your doctor will have to keep the hair transplant grafts outside the body if they are going to first open channels to implant them into the recipient areas, as in the FUE method. So they will need to use the best method to keep hair transplant procedures' success rate high.
How Long Can Grafts Be stored Outside The Body?
Even though there are optimized and developed graft storage methods, There is still a limit to the time that the hair follicles will keep their liability outside the body. In normal conditions and at room temperature, the grafts will keep alive for as long as 2 hours. But in an adequate storage solution, hair grafts can keep alive for longer hours. As the hair transplant procedure will take about 2-8 hours, the solution will provide the necessary time to keep them healthy.