What is FUE Hair Transplant?
What is The FUE Method of Hair Transplantation?
FUE method of Hair Transplantation has gained popularity in the last few years. The term Hair Transplantation is well known and is commonly used when people talk about hair transplantation of any kind—regardless of the method used.
Although some prospective patients make an effort to understand what are the different techniques of Hair Transplantation, most of them find out for the first time when they come in for a consultation with a plastic surgeon.
Even if some of the patients may know about the name FUE—they may not know the difference between the FUE and the FUT technique or strip method.
FUE stands for “Follicular Unit Extraction”, which literally means extracting a unit of hair follicles from the scalp. A follicular unit may contain 2, 3 or more hair as a clusters of hair which are in such a close proximity that they form a unit.
In the picture above you can see the follicular units of two and three hairs.
In the past these grafts were harvested with the help of a manual punch, which was an inefficient and time consuming process—and for this reason the concept of using hair follicle extraction instead of harvesting a strip did not gain popularity.
Then came the motorized punch for follicular unit extraction—this changed everything. The speed and accuracy improved tremendously and larger number of grafts could be harvested in a single session.
Motorized punch for harvesting “Follicular Units”
The technique of ‘Follicular Unit Extraction” has certain unique advantages, which are as following:
- There is no scar at the donor area—the back of the head.
- There is no numbness at the top of the head after the surgery which can happen in the strip method due to injury to some of the sensory nerves.
- The chance of bleeding is minimized as there are no big incisions.
- There is minimal or no pain after the surgery because there is no cut in the skin which is usually painful for a few days.
- Grafts can be placed closely thus giving a good density—this is due to the fact that the grafts are harvested with a special punch which is very small in size and harvests thin grafts.
See the comparison of the scars between the FUE and FUT or Strip methods of Hair Transplantation. Note the visible scar at the back of the head in the FUT method.
There are some disadvantages as well, which can be summarized as following:
- The procedure is technique dependent and requires steady hands and focused attention on part of the surgeon. if the technique is not correct then some of the follicles can get damaged in the process.
- It is time consuming for the surgeon as each graft is individually harvested by the surgeon, unlike the strip method where once the strip is harvested the separation of individual grafts is done by the nurses or technicians.
- The cost is high because the surgeon has to spend more time.
- The hairs on the head have to be trimmed very short for harvesting, although they grow back very quickly.
Many patients prefer the FUE method of hair transplantation because they want to avoid the scar at the back of the head. If they can afford it then avoiding the numbness and pain are the additional bonuses.