Follicular Unit Extraction is, simply put, a novel technique of removing grafts. Standard donor graft removal employed by the majority of hair restoration surgeons
involves the removal of a strip of scalp from the back of the head. The donor site is then closed down upon itself by suturing it closed. Click here for a
discussion of standard donor harvest techniques. This leaves the patient with a thin linear scar across the back of the head from ear to ear. In some, the scar will widen
over time and can be undesirable in some patients.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) at Utah Hair Restoration involves the use of tiny punches (0.8 mm, 0.9 mm and 1 mm in diameter), by a punch device is attached to a powered extractor. This
machine is used to remove individual follicular units. The punches are so small that they do not leave a scar when healed. The hair on the back of the head is first shaved
down to 2-3 mm. The patient must be placed prone in order to allow the doctor and technicians the space to work. The working area is anesthetized and cleaned. The punch is
used to remove hair in a random or scattered manner, leaving hair in between the units harvested. The space left between harvested hair depends on hair density and thickness.
Visualization of the follicular unit angle with the skin is important to minimize damage to the growth centers of the hair. After the follicular units are harvested, they
are reimplanted into the front of the scalp using more standard techniques.
There are several situations where FUE is indicated:
patient where a small linear scar in the back of the head is not acceptable. This includes patients who shave or cut very short the hair on the back of the head.
Patients who have already had a hair transplant using the FUG method and would like another session. However, harvesting another full strip is not possible due to
tightness of the scalp from previous surgery. In this situation, several options exist. An FUE alone can be done. Or, an FUE with a smaller than normal strip (FUG) can be
combined to enable the transplantation of more hair than would otherwise be possible.
Patients who are considering using body hair for transplantation. Facial, chest and back hair can be safely used for transplantation. However, removing the
available follicles using any technique other than FUE can cause undesirable scarring. It is important to remember that using facial or body hair may be effective in
certain situations, but the hair will grow looking like body or facial hair. It will maintain the same growth characteristics of the site from which it was harvested.
Dr. Bitner at Utah Hair Restoration offers the latest in cutting edge technology for hair restoration, including follicular unit extraction. Think you are a candidate? Call or email to schedule a consultation and see if this might be the right hair restoration technique for you.