FUE Hair Transplant
With follicular unit excision (FUE), individual hair follicles are extracted and transplanted one-by-one to sparse locations on the scalp. The FUE procedure results in tiny, circular scars (about 1 mm around), which can be desirable in some circumstances.
FUE is an alternative to the more traditional strip harvesting of a follicular unit transplant (FUT) procedure, in which a strip of scalp is removed and separated into individual follicular units under a microscope.
How do you know if an FUE procedure is right for you? Talk to your doctor about your expectations and desires.
The advantages of FUE include:
Scar appearance. Compared to a linear donor scar involved in FUT procedures, the “mosaic” of dot scars created by FUE is favored by patients who:
- Prefer short hairstyles
- Notice scalp showing through their hair even with a longer hairstyle
- Are at risk for thickened donor scars due to excessive scalp tightness or laxity
Scalp comfort. Multiple small, round FUE incisions are spread out over a larger portion of the donor scalp compared to a single strip incision, so FUE patients experience:
- Less pain in the donor scalp
- Faster healing and no sutures or staples to remove
- Return to physical activity more quickly
Added value. FUE is an excellent method to disguise scar tissue that can’t be simply excised. Using FUE, bald scar tissue can be removed and replaced with hair-follicle-bearing grafts.
Expanded donor hair supply. Patients with excessive donor scars, scalp tightness, and/or patchy donor density have very limited options with traditional strip harvesting. FUE accesses areas that FUT can’t, including the upper and lower fringe of the donor scalp, beard, and body hair for patients who have a shortage of donor scalp hair. In addition, fine hair from the nape of the neck or temporal scalp can be harvested for eyebrow and eyelash restoration.
The disadvantages of FUE include:
Shaving donor area. An FUE procedure may be more conspicuous immediately after surgery, because the entire donor area needs to be shaved for most FUE procedures. If your hair is not already trimmed high and tight, your new hairstyle can bring unwanted attention after surgery.
Tight curls may be problematic. The FUE procedure is not as successful for patients with tightly curled hair because the curved root of the follicle is too easily transected – unintentionally cut in two – during excision.
Graft quality. FUE often strips fat and other connective tissue from the lower portions of the hair follicle, making the grafts more susceptible to damage from dehydration and physical injury during placement into the recipient sites.
Graft quantity. With the FUE method, the average number of hairs per graft is reduced due to difficulty removing the entire follicular unit.
Convenience. The number of grafts placed during a single FUE transplant session is limited due to the additional time required to precisely remove each individual graft. Transplants of 1,500 grafts or more may need to be performed over consecutive days.
Financial. The FUE procedure is usually more expensive than the FUT procedure.
Graft harvesting, whether done via NeoGraft, power punch, or any other tool, is only half of the equation: excellent hair transplant results depend on the intricate process of creating recipient sites for the grafts. Only artistry and surgical skill can determine:
- The direction and angle of transplanted hair growth
- Shape and composition of the hairline
- Integration of transplanted follicles with existing hair
- Overall natural appearance
There is no substitute for experience – which is why you should rely on Dr. Robert Niedbalski at Northwest Hair Restoration of Tacoma, Seattle, and Spokane, Washington, for your FUE hair transplant surgery needs. Call us at (253) 572-2949 to schedule your complimentary consultation or you can request one online.