FUE In Detail
A hair transplant is a two part process. Let’s look at the method of extraction in detail first, and then we will explain implantation.
What is FUE?
Follicular Unit Extraction is a modern technique where a small punch is used to extract individual hair root groups and implant these units to the recipient balding areas. In hair restoration, these follicular units, or grafts as they are commonly known are taken from the back of the head (donor area). In cases where this area is lacking in sufficient grafts, it is sometimes possible to take hair from the beard and chest.
The hairs within the donor area are not affected by the hormone DHT (responsible for causing hair loss in males in the vast majority of cases) and so when hair from that area is moved to cover a balding area, once regrowth begins, it will remain there permanently. This makes a hair transplant far less expensive in the long term when compares to other hair loss treatments.
The specialist punches used are very small and allow the surgeon to remove the grafts delicately one by one. This minimally invasive method means quick healing and miniature scarring not visible to the eye.
How is FUE different to FUT?
Follicular Unit Transplantation or FUT is often referred to as ‘strip surgery’. Unlike FUE, strip surgery involves a strip of the scalp being cut away and stitched back together leaving a scar. The strip is then dissected, taking out the follicles which are then implanted. This is the old fashioned way of transplanting hair and due to the scarring left behind it is generally no longer the preferred option for patients looking to restore their hair.
Advantages of FUE
- Quick Healing Time
- Minimally invasive
- No linear strip scar (FUT)
- Extends the useable donor area
- Enables surgeon to individually select the healthiest follicular units
Lateral Slit Implantation
The lateral slit technique is the preferred method of implantation.
Advantages of the Lateral Slit Technique
- Grafts placed with the lateral slit method look more natural than vertically placed grafts (the old method).
- Lateral slits have the advantage of giving the surgeon the maximum degree of control of the direction that the hairs will grow.
- The method allows the surgeon to create a layering of grafts over one another which provides visual coverage of the thinning scalp.
- Patients with advanced hair loss sometimes require more grafts than are available in the donor area. The lateral slit method is excellent in these cases as the surgeon is able to create the illusion of greater density.
- Healing is improved because the grafts will fit perfectly into the recipient sites maximising oxygenation, promoting faster healing, and increasing graft survival.
In cases of hairline restoration where artistry is required and in certain cases requiring dense packing, we implement the Percutan technique.
Percutan technique is best described as a ‘one by one’ method of implantation. Unlike the slit method, the incisions are made individually using even finer needles in accordance with the natural growing pattern of the hair. Once inserted, the next incision is made for the next graft implantation, and so on.
Advantages of the Percutan Technique
- The main advantage of this technique is the density which can be achieved. Density can be double that of the slit technique at 40-60 grafts per cm2. This achieves fantastic coverage.
- In cases of hairline artistry this ‘one by one’ approach allows the surgeon to really craft a natural hairline.
- Due to the small incisions used in this technique, the possibility of any scarring is extremely minimal if at all.