Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a method of hair transplant with 95% success rate. Hair grafts are removed one by one from the back of the head and injected in balding areas. This method applies to beard, mustache and eyebrow areas as well. The procedure results in very little scarring, making it preferable to Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT). In this article, we will give as much information about this procedure as possible.
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What Are Hair Grafts?
Grafts are tissue that hold hair follicles. There can be 1 to 4 hair strands inside a follicle. With the FUE method, doctors can transplant up to 2500 hair grafts in one day. A full head of hair corresponds to 6000 grafts. If the patient wants to transplant more than 2500 grafts, multiple sessions would be necessary.
What Are the Procedure Steps?
First, depending on the required graft amount, the doctor will trim the patient’s hair and apply local anesthesia. Then, using a micromotor or a manual punch, they make small cuts and remove the grafts with tweezers. Afterwards, they store the grafts properly to keep them alive. Finally, the recipient area is prepared for implementation. They make small cuts in a natural looking pattern and inject hair grafts into the cuts.
As the doctors are dealing with very small and sensitive subjects, the procedure requires a lot of attention and expertise.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
Duration of the procedure depends on the amount of grafts to be transplanted. With FUE, 2500 grafts can be transplanted in a day, which takes 7 to 8 hours in total. However, if the graft amount is larger, the procedure can take 2 days. For such cases, the patient can leave for the night and come back the next day.
Since FUE requires local anesthesia, the procedure doesn’t hurt. But, it can be tiring or uncomfortable for the patients as it takes several hours to complete.
How Soon Does The Hair Start Growing?
This factor is dependent on many factors such as age, diet and general health. Since the grafts take about 2 weeks to hold on, earliest the hair can grow is in 1 to 2 months. For full growth, patients should wait up to a year. Below, you can see a patient’s 12 month before and after journey with FUE.
Does It Leave Scars?
Follicular Unit Extraction procedure deals with individual hair follicles. This leaves small, white and dotted scars that can sometimes even be unnoticeable. However, Follicular Unit Transplant leaves a large strip scar or a long line of stitches. Compared to FUT, FUE leaves very little scarring. And as the final results of the two procedures are similar, FUE is generally preferred over FUT.
Are You a Good Candidate?
There are several criteria that potential patients should meet. Follicular Unit Extraction requires strong, existing hair grafts to inject in balding areas. With this method, doctors can transplant grafts between facial hair and the scalp. So, patients should have some hair that can serve as donors, whether on their head, brows, mustache or beard. There is no specific age restriction, although 20 to 60 is the ideal age gap to get this procedure done.
How Quickly Does It Heal?
It usually takes 2 – 3 days for the scalp to recover completely, although patients can go back to work the next day. FUE also requires some aftercare as the scalp will be very sensitive. Patients can’t wash their hair for a few days after the procedure as hair grafts might fall out. Patients should also take it easy and avoid exercise and heavy work for a month. Applying pressure to the scalp must also be avoided as much as possible.
How Much Does It Cost?
Depending on the clinic and number of grafts, Follicular Unit Extraction can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000. The country you can get the cheapest transplant in is Turkey, where a single graft price is about $1.50 – $5.
Are There Any Risks Or Side Effects?
Follicular Unit Extraction only has one unavoidable side effect, which is small scarring. Other side effects include;
- itching and swelling
- losing sensation in the scalp
If the patient experiences any of these, they should contact the clinic or hospital. Usually, the doctors will suggest using painkillers after the procedure.
Does It Cure Baldness?
Hair transplant of any kind doesn’t cure baldness. Follicular Unit Extraction doesn’t fix balding, it only transfers existing hair grafts to bald areas. If the patient is balding, they will continue to lose hair at the same rate after the procedure.
📌 To learn more about hair loss, read our article about PRP Treatment.
Where Should You Get FUE?
Most countries have clinics that offer hair transplantation services. Although Turkey is the leading country in FUE procedures. Clinics and hospitals in Istanbul offer low cost and high quality service This attracts many patients all over the world. Especially Europeans and Middle Easterners find it easier to travel to Turkey for the procedure.
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