FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) is one of the latest methods of hair transplantation, and is fast becoming the treatment of choice among aesthetic clinics that offer various hair replacement procedures.
With the FUE method, the donor hairs are taken out with a small diameter punch drill. The resulting wounds are very small and will heal on their own, with no stitching necessary, unlike earlier hair transplant techniques.
Prior to FUE, hair transplants were commonly done by the Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) method. This method of hair transplant, where a large amount of hair is transplanted, is still used and commonly available in many aesthetic clinics.
Why choose FUE?
Though the basic principle is the same as with older transplant procedures (you’re essentially uprooting hair from one part of the body and embedding it in another) it’s popular because it delivers more natural-looking results. It’s also less painful – and downtime is minimal.
Healing time is dependent on skin-type, but the grafts take in a matter of days and redness settles in about 4 to 5 days. Patients are generally advised to avoid sporting activities for about a week, but otherwise are able to go about their normal lives.
What does it involve?
Unlike ‘strip’ transplants, where whole chunks of skin are removed and grafted elsewhere, with FUE individual hairs are taken from the sides and back of the head and are implanted individually into the patient’s balding areas.
These transplanted hairs are immune to the effects of DHT (the hormone that causes male pattern baldness) as they are taken from the ‘permanent zone’ on the back of the scalp. This means, once transplanted, that hair isn’t going anywhere.
How long does it take?
A typical FUE procedure undertaken in the aesthetic clinic takes around 8 hours. After 10 months there’s a 90% permanent ‘uptake’ (10% of hair follicles are always in a ‘resting’ phase so, as with seedlings in your garden, some won’t ‘make it’).
Advantages of FUE hair transplant
Hardly visible scars.
After an FUT procedure, patients are usually recommended that their shortest haircut should be ‘number four’ so that the remaining hair can still cover the scars. However, most FUE patients can shave their heads completely with no visible scars.
The donor hairs in FUE hair transplant are taken out with a small punch drill.Healing time is much shorter. There is also no stitching, therefore the recovery period is much more comfortable.
After the FUE hair transplant surgery, the aesthetic clinic will usually advise their patients to take a couple of weeks off work to let the treated areas heal properly so that the surgery can be undetected. They are also advised to sleep for a week reclined on the sofa with a neck support, so as not to put pressure on the recipient area; not to let the scalp get wet for 4 days, and no exercise for 2 weeks after the surgery.
The results of the surgery should start to be noticeable after about 4 months, but better results can be seen after 12 month.