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What is FUE?
Male or Female Pattern (Genetic) Hair Loss only affects the top and front of a person’s scalp. This is because it’s only the follicles in this area that contain receptors sensitive to the hormone that causes hair loss. If hair is taken from the back or even from the side of the scalp (areas where the hairs are not sensitive to genetic hair loss), and transplanted to the top or front, the hair usually continues to grow and produces hair for life. Hair transplant techniques have come a long way in the past two decades.
The surgical procedure
The specialised punch, less than 1mm in diameter, extracts hair from the scalp one at a time. This is done in a multiple step process. Firstly, a small sharp punch scores the skin around a follicular unit. Secondly, a small dull punch is used to go deeper into the soft tissue surrounding the follicular unit.
The reason for the use of a sharp and a dull punch is important in FUE. The direction and angle of the follicular unit beneath the skin is not visible and is often different from the direction of the hair on the surface of the scalp. Therefore if a sharp punch was used below the surface of the skin it might sever the underlying follicular unit. The dull punch, on the other hand, is more likely to envelope the follicular unit while separating it from the surrounding soft tissues. Once the underlying follicular unit is separated from the surrounding tissues it can then be extracted, usually by a forceps gripping the hair above the surface.
The small hole left behind after the follicle is extracted takes a few days to heal and as it does so the small wound contracts which makes the remaining scar much smaller and less noticeable. The patient often has hundreds of small round white scars which are typically invisible to the human eye after his or her hair has grown out. Today’s ‘mini’ and ‘micro’ graft technique allows single hairs or a natural group of 2 or 3 hairs to be re-planted in the direction of the individual’s natural growth pattern
Who is an ideal candidate for FUE?
People with mild to moderate levels of baldness will be suitable for FUE. The amount of hair transplanted was limited in the early days of FUE, but now up to 7,000 hairs can be extracted in one day – that would account for a fairly large area of hair loss or baldness.
Is FUE widely available?
Hair transplants procedures are already a multi-billion dollar industry in the US and FUE is by far the most popular and successful technique simply because the results are so impressive, the speed of recovery is short and effects at the donor site almost invisible. Liberty Clinics are one of the UK’s leading lights in FUE transplants.