Understanding Follicular Unit Extraction


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The biggest enemy of both men and women is progressive thinning of hair which eventually leads to a balding pattern. Luckily, for all of us, hair transplant techniques have seen to it that hair loss is managed permanently. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is one of the advanced techniques used for hair restoration procedure. It is a process that extracts hair follicles from a stable donor site and grafts them to the balding site. A stable donor site is either the back or the sides of the scalp, whose hair follicles are dihydrotestosterone(DHT). DHT is a byproduct hormone of testosterone that is responsible for hair thinning and gradual fall out of hair.

How Follicular Unit Extraction works

The FUE procedure takes place in three steps:

1. Preparation of the donor area

The donor site is identified. As mentioned above, the sides and the back of the scalp are the most preferred areas to extract hair from. But there are also a few cases where hair is removed from other parts of the body. The site is then trimmed to ensure only strong and healthy hair are extracted. An anesthetic is then used to numb this area.

2. Extraction of hair follicles

Fair follicles are removed from the numbed donor site. The number of hairs removed is determined by the procedure used. An automated process that uses neo graft removes up to four hairs. A manual method uses a tweezer-like instrument to remove individual follicular units. The extracted hair is then examined and prepared for the placement procedure.

3. Grafting the removed hair

Transplant marks are made on the balding site and small incisions made. Whether the hair follicles were extracted manually or automated, they are placed manually in the incisions made to make sure that it matches the pattern of your hair growth.

What areas it works for

FUE procedure uses hair from your body. This could be your scalp and other body parts as mentioned above. It all depends on the extent of your baldness. Since the crown, the hairline and temple points are the balding areas, the follicles extracted are transplanted into these regions. The purpose of the FUE procedure is to make hair grow for the people suffering from scalp hair loss.

Aftercare instructions

After the procedure, patients are given medication for pain and sleep. They are encouraged to sleep with their heads elevated on pillows. Both the donor and recipient slowly should be washed gently with the recommended shampoo. Avoid smoking and alcohol for the first two weeks after the procedure and wear a hat under sunlight. Generally, for the first 10 to 14 days, avoid any activity that will put direct pressure on the scalp. Routine brushing and shampooing can resume after this period.

Recovery after the FUE procedure

After the hair is extracted from the donor site, it takes about 8 to 10 days for the area to heal completely. If it doesn’t recover after this period, remember that each patient heals differently. After a hair transplant, it takes a period of 8 to 12 months for hair to grow on the recipient site. During the first four months, the original hairs of the transplanted hair shed off. New hair starts to appear after the first four months. By the 8th month, 80% of hair growth and thickens after that.

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Who can have FUE

The procedure is suitable for people over 25 years old. The procedure is not advised for people younger than 25 years. Below that age, it cannot be determined accurately whether the donor site will be DHT resistant over the long-term. The result of this instability is the disappearance of the transplanted hair. It won’t grow on the recipient site, and the donor site will reveal scars. For this reason, only people 25 years of age and above can have FUE procedure.

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