Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a method through which individual Follicular Units (grafts) are carefully removed one by one from the donor area in preparation for hair transplantation. With FUE, a small punch is used to make a <1 mm circular incision around a graft, which is then extracted. This process is repeated until sufficient hair follicles have been extracted to use for the hair restoration procedure.
FUE provides patients a second technique for hair restoration that also offers extremely natural results with minimal scarring. The FUE extraction process results in a tiny circular scar for each removed graft that, in general, are only discernible when the head is shaved or the hair is very short. For the purposes of this technique, hair transplant doctors are equally conscientious about preserving the donor area as they are about harvesting the donor area. The primary benefit of FUE is being able to extract the donor grafts without removing a continuous section of skin and leaving a linear scar. As with FUT, the procedure is performed with local anaesthetic.
The recipient site is the area where the hair grafts will be placed in the patient’s scalp, through incisions made with a tiny needle, and this part of the process is the same for both FUE and FUT. These grafts are placed very close together through a random pattern – the way follicular units grow naturally. Through this method, we are able to achieve the most natural results possible. We do not require you to shave the recipient areas for either FUE or FUT, however for FUE it is necessary to shave the donor area at the back and sides to allow us to extract the grafts.
FUE can be performed by specialized powered or unpowered punch devices, and even by robotic machines that can automate the extraction process. Regardless of the type – and hype – of device used, it is important to remember that these are only tools and in no way guarantee a successful hair transplant. The devices are only as good as the doctor operating them and on their own provide little influence on the outcome. An inexperienced or less talented doctor could not perform a good hair transplant with these devices any more than they could without them. To put this in perspective, think of someone with no woodworking experience or skills trying to build a cabinet, simply having the tools does not make him a carpenter and the tools alone will not build the cabinet.
Some patients are better suited for FUE and the best candidates are those with a smaller area – requiring less than 2500 – 3000 grafts – to transplant, or patients with mild to moderate thinning or receding who are unlikely to experience extensive hair loss. FUE tends to favour those with straight, dark and coarse hair characteristics. FUE is a good option for those who are concerned about the ability to wear very short hair styles at the sides and back. Patients with – or the potential for – extensive hair loss should first consider FUT.
During your consultation we will take you through all your options and provide the most accurate and honest information we can. At best it would be misleading for anyone to state that either FUE or FUT is the ‘better’ technique. With hair transplantation – as with so many choices in life – there is no ‘one size fits all’. Both FUE and FUT have their strengths and they should be judged only as they relate to your hair loss. Both FUT and FUE can produce excellent results and which technique you choose is depends entirely upon your specific requirements. After considering all the benefits and limitations of each technique, our goal is to help you to make an educated and informed decision about which method is best for you.
For additional information about FUT, click here.
To compare the benefits of FUE v. FUT, click here.BACK