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14 Top Questions & Answers About Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

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14 Top Questions & Answers About Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

What to Know About Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

What is an “FUE” hair transplant?

“F.U.E.” or “Follicular-Unit Extraction” is an advanced, “minimally-invasive” hair transplant method that allows for the harvesting of individual follicles from the back of the head (donor area) without a scalpel or stitches, and therefore leaves no linear scar.

What are the main advantages of FUE over the “Strip Harvest Procedure?”

It is well-accepted that FUE transplants can heal faster and more comfortably than linear-harvest techniques which the physician uses a scalpel and removes a strip of scalp requiring stitches and a 6 week recovery time. With the minimally invasive technique FUE, the patient can usually return to work in a week and once healing is complete, the patient has the option of wearing a very short haircut without the worry of a tell-tale linear scar. Without the need for stitches, downtime is shorter with fewer activity restrictions post-operatively.

Who is a good candidate for FUE?

Patients who would like the option of wearing a very short haircut in the back or sides of their scalp, or those who want the least amount of activity restriction (e.g. athletes) after their hair transplant procedure, may be good candidates for FUE. FUE can also be used for “scar camouflage” procedures for patients who have had prior “Strip” procedures, as well as for body hair transplants.

What is a “Shave-less” FUE procedure?

This is an exciting concept, since FUE can now be completed without shaving the donor or the recipient’s hair.  This allows for a less detectable hair transplant, since both the donor and the recipient’s hair can cover the extraction and implantation sites.  Some people with less hair around the transplanted hair or with less donor density, may not have total concealment, but overall the fact that hair transplanted was recently completed is definitely not as obvious as it would be if the entire head was shaved.

Who would benefit from a “Shave-less” FUE technique?

The Shave-less FUE technique is becoming more and more popular, since you do not have to change the length of your hair and most people who undergo hair transplantation want to keep it personal and not broadcast that a hair transplant procedure was completed.  We recommend this approach for people who typically have longer hair, women, professionals with busy work schedules and increased interactions with coworkers/clients and people with a busy social schedule.

Are the final transplanted ‘results’ any different with FUE than those achieved with linear harvesting?

The results are similar. FUE procedures, by default, yield grafts that contain mainly one, two, three, or four follicles called “follicular units”. Strips or linear harvests, are removed from the back of the scalp and are then microscopically dissected by a team into grafts of one, two or three follicles, would also yield similar “follicular-unit” grafts. Provided that in each case the grafts are implanted with care, artistry and precision into the recipient area, the final transplanted results with FUE would be similar, if not identical, to those accomplished with a linear harvest. The difference is not in the area of hair growth, but how the donor area is harvested either by a strip of scalp or by small individual graft extractions.

Is FUE suitable for both men and women?

Yes. It is a viable option for both men and women looking to restore their own living and growing hair with transplantation.  Women in particular are generally not interested in a strip harvest procedure and FUE, in particular the Shave-less FUE is the most popular.

Do I have to get a total “buzz cut” to have an FUE procedure?

For men that require a large amount of hair grafts the industry standard is to do a complete buzz cut. We can work with people if this is not an option, but there is no doubt that optimal results are obtained by doing a complete buzz cut in larger cases of greater than 1500 grafts at a time. The main reason for this is to have an open canvas, to place maximal density and in the fastest time possible.  For smaller cases or even larger ones of greater than 1500 grafts, we are now offering a Shave-less FU technique to where we individually cut each hair to be harvested and leave the rest around the harvested hairs alone to conceal the donor area.  It is $1 more per graft, but worth it for people who live a busy work and social schedule that cannot afford to have a shaven head.  The other group that benefits from a shameless FUE are those that have undergone previous strip harvest hair transplant who do not want a visible scar exposed in the donor area.

What is the maximum number of grafts that I can get in one session?

The maximum number of grafts that we can comfortably do is approximately 2000 in a single day using a Shaven FUE technique and up to 1500 per day for a Shave-less FUE procedure. We recommend graft counts over 2000 be split into two days. Given the fact that the 2000 graft procedure is a long day for the patient and the staff, we often recommend doing a more relaxed and efficient two day process of attaining the 2000 or plus grafts over the two consecutive days. This may mean the first day we do 1500 grafts and the second day we finish up with 500 and it is possible to even go as high as over 3000 grafts over two days if the donor density can support it.

How long will it take for my hair to grow and when will I see the final result?

Ninety percent of people will see hair growth at 6 – 12 months. The reason for this relates to the follicle going thru a stress phase to were stem cells are unable to produce actual hair. After this stress phase, a normal growth pattern is obtained so that a typical hair is produced. The final result may be at 12 – 18 months.

When is the best time for me to have an FUE procedure?

The timing is somewhat important, since there is some required downtime for 48 to 72 hours after the procedure to allow for proper healing and reduce the chance for infection.  After this window there are some modifications mainly for strenuous activity and exercise and social and work activities can resume.  For a Shaven FUE – we generally recommend a 7 to 10 day period before going back to work to allow for growth and heading of scabs.  For the Shave-less FUE, many of our patients have gone back to work in 72 hours after the procedure.  The timing is individualized, but it is important to plan to have some downtime and also take into consideration any major events such as social or work gatherings and obligations.

How quick is the healing following FUE?

The healing following an FUE procedure is quick and relatively painless. It is rare that patients who have undergone the procedure ask for more pain medications – most do not even request pain medications and do well with over the counter Tylenol.  The main concern that we have with the healing process relates to the proper healing of the transplanted grafts.

The donor site should be left alone as well and rubbing or massaging the donor area may cause increased pain and swelling.  Our technique minimizes the chance for swelling and greatly speeds up the healing process in both the donor and recipient regions.

What is Liposomal ATP and why is it important during and following FUE?

We are now using Liposomal ATP to maximize healing and also minimize the amount of stress that the hair follicle undergoes after extraction and prior to implantation.  ATP is the energy currency of all cells and the Liposome is a protein that coats the ATP so that is can be ingested by these highly metabolic hair cells.  ATP is the end product of the breakdown of blood sugar and the combination of oxygen.  Since the hair follicle cells are getting the energy they need in e holding solution prior to implantation, the stress without blood sugar and Oxygen is greatly minimized.  It is felt that it takes up to 2 to 3 days following implantation before the hair follicle is fully connected with the bloodstream.  For two to three days after the procedure, patients are also given a solution of Liposomal ATP to spray on the implanted graft sites to provide much need ATP to assist with healing and continue to nurture the follicle until the connection with the bloodstream is re-established.

Am I a good candidate for a procedure using FUE?

The best way to determine whether you are a candidate for hair transplant using FUE is a one- on-one consultation with your doctor. Come in today or contact us  for a complimentary hair restoration consultation.

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