FUE Hair Transplant
- What is FUE hair transplant?
- How does the FUE Hair Transplant Work?
The hair transplant treatment has been there for over 50 years now. What has changed is how it is done. Hair transplant evolution has seen new techniques coming in and old ones going. According to a 2013 ISHRS practice survey, the most used method of hair transplant is single strip excision with stereo microscopic dissection of the excised strip.
The refinement of an outdated hair transplant technique that used a punching device is now advancing and taking over. This hair transplant method is called FUE hair transplant or follicular unit extraction and has increased in its popularity in the past decade.
What is FUE hair transplant?
In full, FUE stands for follicular unit extraction. The process involves treating hair loss by removing healthy hair follicles from healthy areas of the scalp. The healthy follicles are then implanted in the scalp, where it doesn’t grow. The doctor will choose the donor area based on how healthy hair grows in that region.
Hair follicles are harvested from the back of the scalp, where healthy dense hair grows. Unlike the strip surgery procedure where a strip of skin with hair follicles is removed, the FUE treatment is all about taking follicles one at a time.
Once the patient recovers from the surgery, the area which had lost hair will start growing thicker hair. The FUE hair transplant technique was meant to replace the older FUT – follicular unit transplantation. FUT is an invasive method of hair harvesting where a strip of scalp with healthy hair follicles is removed and implanted in the recipient area.
Many people prefer the FUE method of hair loss treatment because it brings out a more natural look. FUT, on the other hand, leads to a “hair plug” look, where the surrounding area does not match with the removed strip of skin. FUT also leaves a scar compared to FUE. A person who has thinning hair or partial balding with healthier hair in other areas of the scalp is eligible for the FUE hair transplant treatment. FUE is not an ideal hair transplant procedure for people with little healthy hair growth in other donor areas of the scalp.
How does the FUE Hair Transplant Work?
Being a minimally invasive surgical procedure, the FUE hair transplant procedure is done by a surgeon under local anesthesia. This helps to reduce pain and discomfort while the doctor performs the procedure. The FUE hair transplant procedure is pretty straightforward and only takes a few hours. There are hardly any side effects from the treatment, and the patient can go back to his or her usual routine after a few days.
Performing the FUE hair transplant procedure requires absolute precision to ensure the outcome meets the patient’s expectations. The results are more natural since the hairline is restored perfectly. Being a newer hair restoration procedure, the FUE hair transplant treatment works by taking out each hair follicle unit.
This means that incisions are not necessary, unlike the FUT method of hair transplant. The intricacies put in the extraction process means that the procedure will take much longer than the FUT treatment. The FUE hair transplant is also less invasive.
The success rate is much higher than other hair loss techniques since more time is dedicated to hair transplant before and after the procedure. The strip surgery technique or FUT takes little time, but the downtime period is longer. Instead of leaving a huge scar on the scalp, you will only see tiny dots that are hardly visible to the necked eyes. Once the hair has attained full growth, the small dots will disappear.
The FUE technique of harvesting hair exposes hair follicles to little damage. This means that the hair follicles will have a high survival rate. DHT is the hormone that leads to hair loss in male pattern baldness. Hair follicles harvested from the donor area, which is usually at the back of the scalp, are unaffected by DHT. Therefore, hair growing from this hair follicle will not thin anymore.
- Their three-phase cycle of growth and regrowth reduces as you grow old. It will reduce until hair follicles no longer grow hair.
- The process is not the same for everyone. While some people begin balding in their twenties, others will start balding much later in life.
- FUE hair transplants are meant to replace old follicles allowing hair to grow from the newly implanted hair follicles.
- Blood vessels will start nourishing the new hair follicles prompting them to grow new strong and thick hair, getting rid of balding.
Besides the tiny white dots left after hair follicle removal, you won’t get any scars from this procedure. The tiny white dots will disappear after a few days.
The following rare side effects should prompt you to visit your doctor after the FUE hair transplant procedure:
- Signs of infections
- Signs of crust and dryness where the surgery took place
- Swelling and pain where surgery was done
- Folliculitis or swollen follicles
- Bleeding from the surgery site
- Numbing in and tingling where surgery was performed
- A huge contrast between the transplanted hair and the hair around it
- When hair refuses to grow even after treatment
Will there be any scar after the hair transplantation with FUE method?
“Scars and bald spots smaller than 1 millimeter can be formed on the donor site after this surgery. When the surrounding hair grow these spots will be invisible. Therefore hair transplantation with FUE method does not leave visible scars.”
What is the Expectation After an FUE Hair Transplant Surgery?
Unlike other methods of hair restoration, patients who have undergone the FUE hair transplant procedure should expect a quicker recovery time. Swelling and discomfort may occur within the first three day days after the procedure.
Some of the aftercare that will be required include:
- Avoid hair washing or showering for three days after the surgery
- After the three days have elapsed, the patient may start washing the hair with unscented shampoo
- Quicken recovery rate by taking a few days off from work
- Avoid combing new hair for at least two weeks when it starts growing
- Hats, beanies, and other attire that goes over the surgery site should be avoided until the doctor allows them
- Strenuous work or physical exercises should be avoided for a week at least
It is very normal for implanted hair to fall out in the healing process. A noticeable difference will happen after 3 to 4 months. The health status of your donor area will determine how thick the new hair will be in the recipient area.
What Should be Done Before the FUE Hair Transplant Surgery?
As a patient, the doctor will instruct you to do a few things before the surgery. These are some of them:
- Smocking is not allowed a day before an FUE hair transplant procedure
- Three days before the surgery, the patient should not take alcohol
- Blood thinners like aspirin should be avoided two weeks before the hair transplant surgery
- Two weeks before the surgery, the patient should not take food supplements or vitamins
- Antidepressants should be avoided for two weeks before the surgery
- The patient should not cut his or her hair before the surgery
- Blood flowing in the scalp should be increased by massaging the scalp for 10 to 30 minutes every day for a few days
- The patient should take minoxidil (Rogaine) or any other medicine that the doctor prescribed
- Blood tests and an electrocardiogram (ECG) should be done on the patient before surgery
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a hair restoration technique that involves removing hair from healthy areas of the scalp and implanting it on balding areas.