If you’ve been doing your research about hair loss and the benefits of hair transplant surgery, you’ve likely already come across a number of terms you had to pull out the dusty dictionary to see what they meant. One common term that is discussed with hair loss and transplants – and one that is particularly important – is FUE, or Follicular unit extraction. This term refers to a method of getting hair follicles from a donor area on the person’s scalp where healthy hair exists and then transferring it to the balding areas.
FUE uses a punch method to extract follicles one at a time for transplanting. For this procedure, it is necessary to shave the back of the scalp where the donor follicles will be harvested. Then depending upon how many transplants are being done, from 1000-2000 puncture sites are made in the donor area.
The average hair transplant using the FUE method takes around 8-10 hours. Considering that you are only getting one hair follicle grafts, this procedure can become very costly since it will generally take several sessions to achieve the density necessary for a satisfactory result. This method has been used for years and is still very common, however now it is being offered using an automated system rather than the traditional hand held drill.
An additional concern with this method is that the quality of each follicle is not known so there is a chance that a damaged follicle could be transplanted. Since the graft is being harvested blindly, the tip of the follicle can be damaged leaving a graft that will not produce a viable hair. And if you have enough of those transplanted into one area – there is a potential to end up with less than satisfactory results from your hair transplant.
There are new technologies on the horizon for FUE. The robotic system of FUE transplantation is slowly being introduced around the world. Although, presently it is extremely expensive and time consuming as the technology progresses and prices become more reasonable it may find its place in hair transplantation.