The FUE hair transplant method (Follicular Unit Extraction) was introduced in 2003. This minimally invasive method, which enables the extraction and implantation of the hair follicles one-by-one, is the most advanced hair transplantation method. Nowadays, this method is becoming very popular worldwide. Being a demanding technique, extensive experience and specialisation of the doctor in charge and the hair transplantation team is required.
Success rate of FUE hair transplantation
One of the most crucial factors that define the success of hair transplantation lies in the plastic surgeon’s experience in the hairline design and distribution of hair follicles during implantation. Furthermore, essential factors that one should take into consideration prior to hair transplant are the following ones:
- Patient’s age
- Patient’s facial features
- Patient’s grade of alopecia
- Patient’s donor area availability
- Patient’s expectations
- Patient’s prospects for a future hair transplant operation
The design and the distribution of hair follicles during a hair transplant session with the Follicular Unit Extraction method, is a completely personalized procedure, as it should respond to each patient’s needs. Moreover, the following basic conditions should be fulfilled:
- The hair transplant should have the minimum possible effects on the donor and recipient sites (no scars, uniform hair coverage)
- Follicular Unit Extraction should provide a completely natural-looking result
- The method should result in the maximum density possible, taking into consideration the duration of the session, the availability of hair follicles and patient’s needs.
When the above mentioned specifications are met during an FUE hair transplant operation then, the success rate is quite high, exceeding 95-98 % in cases performed by Advanced Hair Clinics.
FUE technique of hair transplantation – The stages of FUE hair transplant
The FUE hair transplant stages are the following:
- Pre-operatively, the donor area is defined and local anesthesia is applied.
- Hair follicles are extracted one-by-one using an automated FUE extracting device.
- The grafts are temporarily stored in a moist and cool environment of 2 to 4 degrees Centigrade.
- Design and mark up of the area where the hair follicles will be implanted.
- Implantation of the grafts by using a specialized implanting device.
The hair follicles one-by-one implantation can be performed in one of two ways:
By creating reception holes in which transplants are going to be implanted. The reception holes are created either with a needle or with a scalpel, which is a long-established method. The majority of hair transplantation clinics, regardless of whether they apply FUE, Strip or FUT method, still use the pre-mentioned old implantation technique. According to this method, the first step is the creation of hair follicle’s reception holes. Then, the implantation follows by using forceps or the implanter. This technique is frequently followed by significant bleeding and swelling, often accompanied by an unnatural looking result. This outcome derives from the fact that the doctor cannot accurately control, when forceps are being used for transplant implantation, the angle and direction of the hair follicles implantation.
By automatically implanting the follicles without creating reception holes. The implantation is performed by using an implanter device. In this way no wounds or scars are caused in the recipient area and the hair growth is naturally looking. This derives from the fact that the implanter is adjusted with respect to the specific area that the implantation is being performed, allowing for the proper control of the angle, depth and direction of the implantation process.
In Advanced Hair Clinics, the medical team apply One Step Implantation, that does not necessitate the creation of reception holes and leads to excellent results.
Results of FUE
The results after an FUE hair transplantation can vary from satisfactory to excellent depending on the doctor’s experience and training. Actually, the growth of new hair is usually over 95% and a totally natural result is expected only when a specialized doctor performs hair transplant with the FUE method.
The growth of the new hair is achieved gradually after the transplantation. The majority of hair is preserved and starts growing from the very first days post-operatively. Some hair might fall off during the next 2 to 6 weeks since they fall in the telogen phase of their hair growth cycle. The gradual regrowth of the new hair follows a process that is completed after 10-12 months post-operatively. Growth of new hair has been recorded even after 18-24 months. It is interesting to underline the fact that when hair implantation has been applied in the hair line and facial area (for example beard transplant, eyebrow transplant) hair growth is faster because of the rich blood supply to these body areas. The growth reaches 80% within the first 4-6 months after the application of FUE hair transplant.
The outcome is permanent and natural looking. For those that want to achieve the greatest possible density or wish to cover larger areas, as happens in the case of advanced alopecia, two-day sessions are usually required. The minimally invasive nature of Follicular Unit Extraction method in comparison to Strip, enables the usage of the donor area in a future hair transplant.
Follicular Unit Extraction Hair Transplant Advantages
The advantages of hair transplant applied by transferring individual hair follicles compared to the older method of FUT or Strip, are many and significant. This enhances the establishment of the FUE method and consequently it leads to the gradual displacement of the outdated FUT Strip method:
- FUE hair transplant is minimally invasive and it is performed under local anesthesia.
- The method of Follicular Unit Extraction leads to minimal bleeding compared to FUT.
- No permanent scars are left in the donor area thanks to the FUE hair transplant method.
- Minimum postoperative pain.
- Quick recovery, minimum downtime.
- No sutures are required, thus the chances of infections are minimized.
- Follicular Unit Extraction method enables uniform use of the donor area.
- Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplant method allows the accurate counting of the extracted hair follicles and the reuse of the donor area for a future operation.
- Thanks to Follicular Unit Extraction the likelihood of complications (i.e. facial swelling) is minimal.
- Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplant method allows hair extraction from body areas such as chest, back or beard without leaving any scars behind.
- This transplantation method is suitable both for limited (e.g. eyebrow) and large body areas, without scarring. On the contrary, the Strip method necessitates a skin’s strip removal and application of sutures even in small areas.