If you’ve been researching hair transplants online, you will have come across the phrase FUE transplant, but you might not know exactly what it means.
This is a short explanation of what it is, and why it differs from other types of hair transplant.
FUE stands for follicular unit extraction. This is the gold standard of hair transplant procedures. It’s the most expensive, but it gives the most natural looking results.
This is because it minimises visible scarring at the extraction site, and allows the hairs to be individually placed on the head, giving the impression of completely natural hair growth.
A follicular unit is the tiny bulb buried in the skin of your scalp, from which your head hairs grow. During an FUE transplant, thousands of these tiny follicles are individually extracted, kept alive with oxygen, and then inserted into a different place upon the head.
After a few months, these hair follicles begin to grow just as they did before, but in a new place on the head. This gives you hair coverage on the balding or thinning areas of the head.
The more old fashioned type of hair transplant, which is still used and continues to give good results, but isn’t as high-tech or neat as an FUE transplant, uses a slightly different technique to harvest hairs.
A long, narrow strip would be cut from the back of the head, and then cut into tiny grafts to insert into the scalp. This leaves a visible scar, which should in theory be covered by your remaining hair. However, should you decide to have a modern hairstyle, whereby the hair is very cropped at the back and fuller on the top, your scar may be visible.
It may also show if your hair is thinning and very light blonde or grey. An FUE transplant is either scar-free, or the scars are so tiny that they’re not visible through the hair at all.
During an FUE transplant, up to four thousand hairs can be removed and transplanted at any one time. If you consider that around ten thousand hair follicles are active on the head of healthy adult with a full head of hair, this can make quite a dent in a bald patch or receding hairline.
While any reputable surgeon will be realistic about your chances of restoring your hair to its former glory of twenty years ago, it is entirely possible for many men to restore their faded hairlines and cover their bald patch with an FUE transplant, and for the result to look entirely natural one the transplanted hair grows back.