Follicular Unit Extraction, also known as FUE, is a hair transplantation procedure that allows the patient to keep their donor hair very short with no apparent scarring. In traditional follicular unit hair transplantation, there is always a small linear scar where the hair that is removed is covered by the surrounding hair. If the patient later shaved their head, the scar may be visible. This is not the case with FUE’s since every follicular unit is individually extracted leaving the donor area virtually scarless. The trade off is that the procedure takes much more time and usually involves few hairs transplanted at a time in comparison with a strip procedure. At Gelman Hair Restoration, we will review all options with you and help you determine the right procedure to accomplish your hair transplant cosmetic goals.
Strip harvesting produces a linear scar. The appearance of the donor strip scar can be a significant concern for patients who wish to wear their hair very short. The vast majority of patients who undergo strip harvesting have minimal scars that are easily concealed by the hair above the scar. However, some scars may widen overtime. The use of the trichophytic method of closure for strip harvesting can help improve the appearance of the strip harvest scar.
The primary rationale for the use of FUE is that a linear scar is avoided. Several proponents of FUE market the procedure as a technique that does not involve cutting, is less invasive and does not result in visible scars. While a linear scar is not created with FUE, circular scars are created and can be invisible to the naked eye but well camouflaged by the hair that surrounds the harvested areas. Those tiny scars are usually 0.8mm to 1.0 mm in diameter and it typically heals very nicely.
Strip harvesting and FUE are both acceptable techniques for harvesting donor grafts. Each technique has advantages and disadvantages. FUE is well suited for patients who insist on not having a linear scar, among other indications. It may be an excellent choice for young patients seeking small procedures. Large procedures are usually done in two days. FUE may be the ideal choice for harvesting trunk, leg and arm hair, and it is an excellent way to camouflage strip scars.
FUE can be done either manually or automated. Neograft FUE is a more recent technology of automated FUE. Automated FUE might help to offset some downsides of manual FUE procedures, such as operator’s distraction or fatigue, when performed by an experienced operator.