What is follicular unit extraction (FUE)?
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a type of hair transplant done by extracting an individual hair follicle from skin and moving them to another part of the body where the person could be having problems with hair loss or hair thinning. FUE is an outpatient procedure where no admission is needed and patient can go back once the procedure is done.
What is hair loss?
Hair loss is a condition where there is a thinning or loss of hair in certain parts of the body. It can be temporary or permanent. It is usually more common in males to have baldness compared to females. The most common cause of hair loss is due to genetic/hereditary issues. Someone who has a family history of having hair loss issues, can expect a 50% chance in his/her life to get hair loss at some stage of his/her life.
Who is the best candidate for follicular unit extraction?
The best candidate for FUE hair transplant is someone with thinning hair or balding who still has enough hair nearby (usually the back of the head) to use for transplant. Someone with severe hair loss or who doesn’t have enough thick hair or healthy hair to extract for transplant will not be eligible for FUE hair transplant.
How FUE hair transplant work?
FUE is a procedure where a hair follicle is extracted before transplanting said hair follicle to the area where hair growth is targeted. The old follicle will be replaced by new follicles that are still able to grow hair. After the transplant, the follicles will be nourished by blood vessels and hair growth will take place.
Procedure of FUE Hair Transplant
- The donor and recipient area will be identified and shaved down. Then, the area will be cleaned so it will be sterile for the procedure.
- The donor hair follicles will be harvested using a micropunch tool. Usually, the donor site will be from the back of the head.
- There will be a break time after extraction phase. After a short break, the doctor will proceed to implantation phase which takes up a majority of the procedure time.
- Tiny incisions will be made using a needle or an equally sharp designated tool. The extracted hair follicles will then be inserted to the incision sites.
- Once the implantation is done, the donor and recipient sites will be cleaned and the area will be bandaged for recovery.
What are the possible side effect for FUE?
FUE is a very safe procedure where very minimal side effects have been reported. There will be tiny white dots from the donor site after follicle is extracted but, don’t worry, the white dots will fade away over time.
Rare side effects include:-
- Bleeding from surgical site
- Infection/follicle swelling
- Pain/swelling from surgical site
What to avoid after FUE Hair Transplant?
Usually, the recovery period for FUE hair transplant is quick,
After FUE hair transplant, the doctor will give you some aftercare instructions:
- Don’t wash hair by yourself for at least 3 days
- Use a gentle/unscented shampoo given for few weeks once starting hair wash
- Don’t comb or brush new hair for at least 3 weeks
- Don’t wear hats or clothing that will cover the head
- Don’t do strenuous exercise or swimming for at least 1-2 weeks
When I can notice the new hair grow?
Usually, some hairs will fall out during the first few months after FUE transplant. This is normal and there is no need to worry. It will take 4-6 months for someone who undergoes FUE transplant to see the differences.