Follicular Unit Extraction
Follicular Unit Extraction is one of the hair harvesting methods we use here at Hair Transplant Turkey. Commonly referred to as FUE, this method is an alternative to the traditional transplant surgery that is known as ‘strip harvesting,’ during which an entire strip of the patient’s scalp is surgically removed to retrieve hair grafts for transplantation.
In contrast to the strip method, which is formally named the Follicular Unit Transplanting technique, the FUE method does not involve removing a piece of the patient’s scalp skin. Because of this, most patients who choose the FUE method report significantly less pain and/or discomfort after their transplant.
In FUE transplants, hairs are individually harvested one follicle at a time using an instrument resembling a hollow needle, called a punch. The surgeon carefully punches out the skin surrounding the follicle. After that, he then delicately teases out the individual hair follicles one at a time using small forceps. Follicles are removed in a random fashion from all areas of the head that do not appear to be thinning or balding. Each hair follicle is then delicately placed into a tiny slit that is made in the bald or thinning area.
Follicular Unit Extraction is preferred by some patients because they do not wish to risk having any noticeable scarring. These patients typically like to wear their hair cut very short. FUE does not involve any stitching of the skin and will usually not result in visible scars. This is due to the lack of removing a strip of skin and also because FUE is performed as randomly as possible within a given section of hair that is at low risk for balding.
The FUE method is often used when a patient has very tight scalp skin that doesn’t have enough stretch or laxity in order to remove a strip while still being able to comfortably stitch the skin back together. FUE is also a wise choice for patients with a history of poor wound healing and in cases where only a small number of graft hairs are needed, like in an eyebrow transplant. Additionally, in patients with minimal hair density over their entire scalp, the FUE method has even been used to transplant body hair to the scalp.
It’s important to note that the Follicular Unit Extraction method is more time consuming than using the strip method (FUT) because each follicle is harvested individually via punch method. Also, this punch method does leave small round scars throughout the patient’s donor area, which may lead to difficulty retrieving hair from those areas if future FUE sessions are needed.
Because the FUE method involves removing hair follicles in large, randomized areas of the scalp, it is likely that at least some of those hairs would have eventually been lost in the patient’s balding process. This means that those hairs will not be permanent, leading to a need to have repeat FUE sessions. As you can see, there are many pros and some cons to the FUE method. Our hair transplantation team can help you determine if Follicular Unit Extraction is the right choice for you.