25 years ago, hair surgeons were using 3 to 4 mm punches and the results were often not very aesthetic. In the last ten years, the cutting of hair grafts has slowly but surely replaced this technique. Since 1995, in order to avoid the linear scar, follicles are directly extracted from the scalp, using a micro punch of approximately 0.9 to 1.2 mm wide. This latest step forward in hair transplants is the so-called Follicular Unit Extraction technique. The technical difficulty involved is considerable, that is why appropriate instruments had to be developed to achieve these results.
The follicular extraction does not replace classic techniques, but it has very interesting complementary benefits.
First of all, this technique leaves few if any scars (in the shape of minute white spots covered by hair) and the scarring process is quite fast: the strip of skin removed with the grafts will in fact grow back without any trace of the intervention. Second of all, the zone in which hair can be removed is larger than with the classic techniques. Third of all, body hairs can also be used, for example hairs removed from the torso or the thighs by men. Finally, we can also transplant grafts in a former scar linked very often to a previous transplant.
FUE also allows a good distribution of the hair on the scalp. Indeed, as we reduce harmoniously the density of the donor area while raising that of the recipient area, we can balance the distribution of the hair as best as possible. This advantage is particularly interesting when the patient decides to wear long hair on the whole scalp.
The time in surgery is already quite long, but the skin quality will also facilitate or complicate the work. You should know that the average amount of grafts is limited to 1,800 and 2,000 FU per day in function of the degree of difficulty of the job and the surgeon’s dexterity. Patients must thus foresee several days of surgery to obtain the same result as a classic long session of 3,000 grafts in one day. Generally speaking, the donor area must be shaved, which can sometimes be an issue for certain patients.
FUE is recommended for:
Body hair is the hair found in men, on the chest, on shoulders, back and calves. When the quality of the donor area is rather poor or exhausted following previous hair transplants, hair from these body parts can be used.
Body hair transplants do however come with restrictions.
Body hair often has a much lower diameter than the hair on your head. It often grows alone, so this generally means single hair grafts. Moreover, body hair usually takes longer to grow.
Although body hair tends to grow a little when implanted in the scalp, it will never achieve the length of a normal hair.
This explains why results are often less spectacular than in the case of a classic hair transplant.
FUE is a new, successful technique. It is very precise and as a result is easily integrated in top-class hair transplants. As such it should be part of a surgeon’s therapeutic offer. However, it is a pity that FUT tends nowadays to be forgotten in favour of FUE.
A set of questions and answers will give you more details about the research of the best quality, about the scars, about the motorized equipment and about the robots. A FUE-FUT comparison is also available.