Follicular Unit Extraction
As a means of removing or “harvesting” hair from the donor dominant hair region and transplanting each follicle elsewhere, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is done. Round incisions are made into the skin surrounding follicle units with a special surgical instrument. This is a procedure done to separate the follicular unit from the adjacent tissue. Thus, a small, open hole remains where the follicle was.
The aforementioned process may take one hour or several as hair follicles are removed and transplanted. For some, this procedure may require lengthy sessions as long as two consecutive days. This process is done repetitively until an ample amount of follicular units have been moved to make hair restoration effective. The donor area will sustain wounds of about 1 millimeter wide and will take seven to ten days to completely heal. However, tiny white scars will remain all over the donor dominant hair regions.
Again, follicular units are moved one at a time from the donor to the recipient areas. This is known as donor harvesting, which makes the FUE procedure separating the FUE process from the FUT process. During the FUT process, the donor hair is extracted from the scalp in one long, thin strip and then chopped into single follicular units as done with a stereo-microscope.
Next, a fine needle-point instrument is used to form tiny “recipient sites” in the balding regions. After the follicular units have been transplanted to the recipient areas, healthy hair-producing follicles will grow. In both the FUE and FUT processes, creating recipient sites and moving grafts into them is very much the same. The quality and number of grafts will differ between the two methods.
Indications for FUE
FUE is best for those who would rather keep their hair short. This is because it does not leave a scar. Anyone involved in strenuous activities, such as professional athletes, are best to have their hair transplanted with the FUE procedure. By doing so, they can go back to their activities soon after the surgical process is done.
Anyone who hasn’t healed well from FUT or has an extremely tight scalp may be better off with the FUE surgical procedure. During the FUE process, the surgeon may not be restricted to removing hair from the donor area. He might be able to remove it from other body parts as the trunk or beard. However, there are many limitations posed when using the FUE procedure.
One of the most practical uses for the FUE procedure is to hide linear donor scars that evolved from hair transplants done in the past. When doing this, the physician removes tiny follicular units from an area adjacent to a linear scar and places them over it.