Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a method of extracting, or “harvesting,” donor hair in a follicular unit hair transplant procedure. In FUE, an instrument is used to make a small, circular incision in the skin around a follicular unit, separating it from the surrounding tissue. The unit is then extracted (pulled) directly from the scalp, leaving a small open hole.
This process is repeated until the hair transplant surgeon has harvested enough follicular units for the planned hair restoration. This process can take one or more hours and in large sessions, may be accomplished over two consecutive days. The donor wounds, approximately 1-mm in size, completely heal over the course of seven to ten days, leaving tiny white scars buried in the hair in the back and sides of the scalp.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a minimally invasive hair transplant technique in which follicular units are individually removed from the patient’s donor area and individually transplanted to the recipient (thinning) area. The grafts are removed using an automated extraction tool and then placed in the recipient area.
No linear scar is left and no stitches are needed.This method of donor harvesting, removing follicular units one-by-one directly from the scalp, is what differentiates the FUE procedure from a traditional Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), where the donor hair is removed from the scalp in one thin, long strip and then subsequently dissected into individual follicular units using a stereo-microscope.
Before the grafts are harvested, tiny “recipient sites” are made in the balding area of the scalp using a fine needle-point instrument. The follicular units are then placed into the recipient sites where they will grow into healthy hair-producing follicles. The creation of recipient sites and the placing of follicular unit grafts are essentially the same in both FUE and FUT procedures. The difference lies in the appearance of the donor area and in the quality and quantity of grafts obtained with each technique.
Just like with the traditional FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) or Strip method, FUE uses the harvesting of follicular units containing one to four hair follicles which are then transplanted to the areas of the scalp where more hair is needed. The follicular units are individually placed utilizing the time-tested Bosley process of natural graft placement. Natural graft placement ensures that the recreated hairline is tailored to the patient’s hair-growth pattern to look and feel natural.
Difference between FUE and FUT
Follicular Unit Extraction is different from the traditional FUT hair replacement procedure, in one key way: follicular units are individually removed directly from the scalp in FUE, whereas in FUT, follicular units are microscopically extracted from tissue that has already been removed from the donor area.
How Follicular Unit Extraction is Performed
During the FUE hair transplantation procedure, individual follicular unit grafts are excised one at a time using a tiny one millimeter in diameter (or less) instrument. The device is used to make a tiny punch (circular incision) in the skin around the follicular unit to isolate the graft. The graft is then extracted directly from the scalp and prepared for implantation.
Typically, the patient’s hair in the donor area where these grafts are being removed is clipped, cut short or almost shaved so that the physician is able to optimally visualize the patient’s scalp.
The tiny incisions left behind after the follicle units are extracted heal completely in a few days. The tiny apertures contract as they heal, making the resulting round incision marks barely detectable.
Benefits of FUE
No Scalpel incision = No Linear Scar
No Stitches – Donor area appears mostly unchanged
Faster Recovery time – Little or no downtime (most patients return to work next day)
State of the art minimally invasive hair restoration technique
Best Candidates for FUE
Those who want to wear their hair short
Those who do not want a linear scar
Those with limited donor supply or scalp elasticity