The new advanced technology for hair transplant is FUE also known as Follicular Unit Extraction. It is a modern hair restoration technique. FUE is a process of donor hair extraction by which individual follicular units, (physically happening groupings of hairs also called as grafts) are removed one-by-one and then transplanted into the recipient area.
The hair are transplanted in groups of 1-4 hairs – exactly as they grow in nature. In FUE hair transplantation, individual hair follicles are extracted without causing damage to the scalp. This procedure is performed by very small punches that hardly leave visible scars. Since each single follicle is extracted individually this is a time consuming procedure. The benefit is that controlled and careful extraction of donor hair is very soft to the skin and scalp. It is very hard to notice for scars even after only a few weeks. Complications are very rare. FUE hair transplant surgery is better and comfortable as compared to the older hair transplantation procedures that used larger grafts and often produced a plugged, unnatural look.
How a FUE Hair Transplant Works
The follicular unit extraction is removed using a multiple step process. During the first step, also called FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction), direct extraction of follicular units from the patient’s donor area is performed. It allows the surgeon to select individual follicular units from a donor region in a pattern that virtually solves the potential problem of visibly lower donor area density after the procedure.
The surgeon uses a small punch (a sort of a special needle) (0.70 – 1.30 mm diameter) to extract the follicular units, eliminating the need for removal of skin from the back of the head. The benefits of FUE are: a quicker healing time, far less trauma, no strip scar, and the surgeon’s ability to individually select follicular units. Discomfort in the donor area has been practically eliminated. There are two types of punches which are being used : Sharp and the Dull punches. As the route and angle of the follicular unit under the skin can’t be seen and can often vary from the direction of the hair on the surface, a sharp punch if used below the surface of the skin might transect or severe the underlying follicular unit.
However, the dull punch tends to cover the follicular unit, while separating it from the surrounding soft tissues. This process is typically referred to as “blunt dissection”. Once the original follicular unit is separated from the adjacent tissues in the skin, it can then be extracted, often by a forceps gripping the hair above the surface. After the follicle is extracted a small hole is left behind which heals over the next few days. Later on after some time this tiny wound contracts as it heals making the resulting round scar smaller and less noticeable.
The FUE patient typically ends up with hundreds of small round white spots, which are normally not detectable to the naked eye once the patient’s hair grows out. To puncture the sites the surgeon uses a fine needle for implanting the grafts, creating micro-holes (incisions) with predetermined density and pattern, and angling them in an even style to promote a rational hair pattern. This is then followed by the final phase when the surgeon inserts the grafts in the prepared incisions. FUE is a simply persistent surgical procedure that benefits from a reduced recovery time and lessens risk of complications. Other similar techniques are also known to be normal aid in the field; however there are only few surgeons who have mastered this procedure in all its aspects because this technique takes much practice and a number of years to perfect. A skilled and experienced doctor can transplant 1000 to 1200 follicular unit grafts in a day. However, some surgeons do megasessions upto 2000-2500 grafts in one day. The cost per graft of FUE is also typically twice the cost of the standard follicular unit hair transplant procedure in which a strip of donor tissue is removed from the back of the head and trimmed under magnification into individual follicular unit grafts. With the advent of FUE, now it is possible to have hair in the front forever without any linear scar at the back.