Would FUE Transplant Work For My Receding Hairline?
Hair loss is a worrying condition that affects the person in a life-changing manner. While it can have an effect on a person’s confidence, the good news is that there are a lot of available treatments that were developed to address balding.
For those who consider getting hair transplant done as a means to restore their lost hair, the question on which technique is best for their specific condition comes as a major decision making factor. Should you go for the traditional Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or the latest Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)?
To help you with your decision, here are information that you need to know if FUE hair transplant technique will address your receding hairline concerns.
What is FUE?
Follicular Unit Extraction, otherwise known as FUE is a hair transplantation method that requires the “harvesting” donor hair (the hair to be transplanted to the balding area) with the use of an instrument that creates a tiny incision in the skin surrounding the follicular unit, which separates it from the neighboring tissues. After which, the unit is pulled straight from the scalp and a small open hole is left.
The said process is repeated until the number of harvested units is enough for the surgeon to proceed with the planned hair restoration. Such a process can take hours to two days to be finished, depending on the amount of hair that needs to be harvested and transplanted.
Donor wounds are expected to heal after ten days. These will leave tiny white scars that eventually get buried by hair from the back and sides of the scalp.
Difference between FUE and FUT
Though both are donor harvesting methods, FUE involves the individual removal of follicular units from the scalp, while Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) is the removal of the donor hair from the scalp per strip which is then dissected individually to extract the individual follicular units with the use of a stereo-microscope.
To prepare for the harvested grafts, the recipient sites are created first with the use of a needlepoint instrument. Once the area is done, the follicular units are then placed in the sites where they are expected to grow into hair-producing follicles. As far as the preparation of recipient sites are concerned, they are basically the same but the appearance of the donor area is more prominent with FUT that with the FUE. After all, strips are more difficult to conceal than miniscule dots.
Healthy and Productive Follicular Units
One of the defining criteria for considering a hair transplant to be successful is the survival of the transplanted follicular units in its new environment. The transection of the follicular unit often guarantees its inability to survive, ultimately rendering the entire hair transplant a failure.
Though FUT is known to produce more non-transected follicular units, FUE has started to modify its procedures to succeed in the transplant of the said units.
As with any surgical procedure, the skills of the surgeon and his or her team are key factors to watch out for. The instruments used also carry a big weight in the equation. Tried and tested expertise and experience would enable the team to bring your hair back to life.
For the grafts to survive, one should also consider the period of time when the graft was out of the scalp and its consequential exposure to air. To reduce this amount of time, some methods were used like the elimination of capturing devices and increasing the time the grafts are left on ice. New devices have also been developed for the faster transplantation of the grafts and the results include less trauma for the follicles and a much higher success rate of implantation competed to the previous techniques and devices.
The Benefits of FUE
Unlike FUT, which is known to leave visible scars, FUE does not leave the linear scar that FUT is associated with. However, scarring from FUT has now since improved by employing the use of trichophytic closure, which is refined closure technique that helps to achieve undetectable “strip scars.” Aside from the limitations of the procedure, there are some patients with physiology and post-operative activities that can encourage unnecessary stretching and poor healing of the FUT scar. Such an uncontrollable development leads to a raised and wider scar in the donor area.
Though FUE also produces scars that are actually small and circular, they can be rendered almost undetectable in the hands of a very competent surgeon. Such expertise allows the patient to wear any type of hairstyle without worrying about these scars.
Not as Intrusive
Compared to FUT that takes off a strip of follicular unit-bearing scalp and dissects it that leaves wounds that are closed with the use of a 2-layer suture or staple technique, the FUE procedure individually extracts the grafts and the surrounding tissues with the use of punches that range from 0.7-1.0mm. These holes are so small that there is no closure needed for this hair transplant method. This makes people see FUE to be less invasive and is a selling point for a lot of people who don’t want to see any reminders of their procedure.
Possibility to “Cherry Pick” Grafts
The success of the procedure is enhanced by the possibility for the surgeon to choose the optimal follicular units for transferring to the affected area. As easy as it sounds, this part is complicated because it involves the identification, isolation, and individual selection of the single haired follicular units. This is particularly important for critical hairline areas that require stronger and thicker follicular units. This is the limitation that FUT faces because their surgeons are limited to the follicular units found in the strip. With this situation, it is required to sub-divide 2,3, and 4 follicular units to produce additional singles for the affected hairline.
Best for Small and Specialized Cases
Due to its less intrusive nature, and lesser amount of time required for its application, FUE becomes very ideal for the small are ally unique cases. A good example of cases that would benefit the most from this method are the younger hair transplant patients.. It is also good for other hair transplant functions like eyebrow reconstruction that requires minimal scarring and the capacity to extract a small number of grafts.
Less Painful and Heals Faster
Since it is actually less invasive, the wounds involved in the procedure heal and recover than their FUT counterpart. And because there is no need for would closure and other concerns like staples and sutures, the increase of the tension is eliminated in the donor area while it is in the healing stage.
Another big and important come-on is the decrease of pain level and discomfort on the affected area. For the patients, this means that they could sleep better and go back to their daily routine without worrying about any feelings of pain or discomfort. Performing strenuous activities can be done earlier compared than having an FUT method done.
Better Healing and Recovery Times and Reduced Post-operative Pain
Many hair transplant surgeons agree that the less invasive nature of FUE hair transplant surgery leads to better healing and recovery times over FUT. Because of the lack of wound closure, staples or sutures; and no increased tension in the donor area during healing; FUE generally creates less pain and discomfort in the donor region.
Follicular unit extraction patients typically sleep better after surgery and return to work and their daily routine/ activities earlier.
If you are in Singapore and is considering an FUE hair transplant done, seek consultation with Dr. Tyng Tan of Aesthetic and Hair Laser Clinic. Dr Tan is approved by the Singapore Medical Council to perform FUE technique. She was trained by one of the pioneers in the FUE technology, Dr. John Cole.
Call us now or fill-out our inquiry form to schedule your consultation today!
Avram, M. R., Rogers, N., & Watkins, S. (2014). Side-effects from follicular unit extraction in hair transplantation. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 7(3), 177–179. http://doi.org/10.4103/0974-2077.146681
Rassman W, Pak J, Kim J (2016) Follicular Unit Extraction: Evolution of a Technology. J Transplant Technol Res 6:158. doi:10.4172/2161-0991.1000158