FUE Or Follicular Unit Extraction
Many advancements have been made in the field of hair transplantation since the punch hair transplant method first used by Dr. Orentreich in the 1950s. The 90s saw the launch of the FUT (follicular unit transfer) method, also known now as the strip method. Most recently we have seen the growing use of the FUE, or Follicular Unit Extraction, method.
FUE offers the possibility for hair transplant patients to have “no visible scarring” in the donor area instead of the linear scar that was left behind from the FUT method. Follicular units are extracted one by one from the back or sides of the head and then placed into the recipient area one at a time. Automated FUE technology such as NeoGraft has also allowed for the harvesting of similar quantities of grafts as the strip method.
The FUT method is done by cutting away a strip of the scalp in the back of the head and then cutting out all of the individual follicles before placing them back into the recipient area. This method is still effective if large amounts of grafts are necessary and the patient prefers to wear their hair long in the back. FUE makes it possible to still wear a short haircut because it does not leave a linear scar. The follicles are taken out individually using a punch of up to 1 mm, therefore leaving behind minimal scarring that is unnoticeable to the human eye.
The main drawback to having a FUE procedure is inexperience of the hair transplant specialists involved in the procedure. The follicles need to be removed from the scalp one at a time and are not visible because they are under the skin. Therefore, if an unexperienced practitioner is performing the procedure, it can lead to the transection or splitting of the follicle, rendering it useless. This will obviously lower the success rate and waste the limited follicles that can be used. However, if the procedure is done by a professional, their hand-eye coordination, speed, and experience will lead to a much lower transection rate and greater results.
When Is FUE Right For You?
• You want to wear your hair short.
• You don’t want to have a long period of downtime. (Because the FUE process doesn’t require invasive surgery, it also requires less time to recover, and patients can be back to normal within a week.)
• FUE is a perfect procedure for doing facial hair transplants such as the beard, moustache, or eyebrows.
• You have had a previous hair transplant, especially if you have had a previous strip method hair transplant that has left the scalp too tight to do any further FUT transplants.
• FUE technology can also be used to lessen the scars left from the FUT method. By coring out the scar tissue, the scar will be reduced.
The FUE surgery process takes a little longer then the FUT method. For 2,000 to 2,500 grafts, it will typically take upwards of 10 hours. Anything over that is considered a “mega session”, and the success rate will go down based on the excess swelling.