All About FUE Hair Transplant
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a hair transplant method in which donor hair is extracted and transferred in a follicular unit hair transplant process.
A small incision, circular in shape, is made with a specialised instrument in the skin surrounding a follicular unit. The unit is then pulled straight from the scalp, while a small open hole is left behind. This same process is performed a number of times until sufficient hair has been collected in order to complete the planned hair restoration.
This harvesting process may take an hour or two or a few days. The wounds left behind in the donor area are about 1mm in size and will heal completely in around 7 to 10 days. Only tiny scars are left behind, which are concealed by hair.
The FUE method of hair harvesting, by taking follicular units one at a time straight from the scalp is slightly different from the Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) method, in which the donor hair is detached from the scalp in a single, thin long strip which is then dissected into follicular units with the use of a stereo-microscope.
Before the graft harvesting can take place the bald sites are prepared in the scalp’s bald area using an instrument with a fine point. The follicular units are positioned into these sites where they will thrive and produce useful hair follicles. The creating of these recipient sites and the positioning of follicular units are essentially the same in both the FUE and FUT procedures. The difference is only in the appearance of the donor area and in the quantity and quality of grafts harvested with each technique.
Some hair transplant centres are also now using the ARTAS robotic system, for the removal of follicular unit grafts.
Why Use FUE?
Because a scar in the shape of a line is not left behind by FUE it is best for patients who prefer short hair. This technique is also suitable for those who have tried the strip technique and healing has been poor or for those who have a particularly tight scalp. FUE does allow the surgeon to remove hair from other areas rather than the scalp, such as a beard.
Some patients prefer FUE because they believe that it is far less invasive and involves less surgery. In fact, both the two procedures do involve a certain amount of surgery and the depth of the incisions is more or less identical.
FUE Versus FUT: the Pros and Cons of Each Method
FUE harvesting does require a much greater area when compared with strip harvesting of FUT, and the whole donor area has to be shaved. This may affect patients for a while afterwards.
The harvesting method used for FUT via the strip method is superior to FUE because the surgeon can produce better quality grafts through the isolation of the follicle units. Also, FUT allows the surgeon to best make use of the most permanent area of the donor site.
With FUE a patient can continue with contact sports and other strenuous activities far sooner after completion of the procedure than with FUT.