Who Is a Good Candidate for Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)?

April 3, 2015 — by Robert True
Tags: Hair Loss Hair Transplants

Close-up of handsome middle-aged man with full head of hairFollicular unit extraction (FUE) is an effective hair restoration option for people who have suffered from hair loss. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the FUE surgical procedure may not be the right option for all patients. There are many factors that must be considered for each patient, including age, family history, area of baldness, donor characteristics, and whether FUE will realistically help the patient reach his or her goals. Fortunately, potential follicular unit extraction candidates can contact our New York practice to speak with Dr. Robert H. True and Dr. Robert J. Dorin about treatment.

What Is FUE?

In a FUE hair transplant procedure, a small, circular incision is made in the donor scalp, enabling the surgeon to extract a follicular unit. Each follicular unit contains one to four hairs. The surgeon continues to extract donor areas until enough follicular units have been harvested. The extraction process can take a few hours.

The incisions that are made in the donor area are about 1 millimeter in size. These will completely heal in about a week, leaving behind tiny scars that will be hidden by the rest of the hair.

If patients aren’t good candidates for FUE, they may be eligible to undergo the traditional follicular unit transplant (FUT). In FUT, hair is removed from the donor’s scalp in a long, thin strip, and then dissected into individual follicular units. Placing the follicular unit grafts is the same in both procedures; the primary difference is in quality and quantity of grafts that are obtained, as well as the impact on the donor area.

What Are The Disadvantages of FUE?

Although follicular unit extraction is the most refined approach to hair replacement and the procedure offers a higher follicle survival rate, there are still disadvantages to consider. These include the following:

  • Surgery for FUE takes longer because each follicular unit has to be extracted individually.
  • The follicular units are extremely fragile and more susceptible to trauma.
  • Recovery times are longer because fewer follicular units can be harvested at the same time.

Who Is a Good Candidate for FUE?

There are certain people who are better candidates for FUE than others. FUE is a better fit for patients who:

  • Need to get back to work or resume other duties quickly. Recovery from FUE generally takes about one week.
  • Have limited scalp elasticity, making the small diameter punches the best option.
  • Do not need the transplantation of thousands of grafts.
  • Have straight or wavy textured hair.
  • Plan to wear their hair very short as this will help camouflage any scarring.
  • Have hair restoration goals that can be obtained in the long term using this process.

Patients should be aware that follicular unit extraction is not a procedure that will provide immediate gratification, so they must have realistic expectations. Additionally, FUE is an effective way of filling in thinning hair while getting patients back to their normal lives after just about a week.

Contact Us to Discuss Your Options

We offer numerous options for hair loss treatment, and we can discuss which might be best for you and your needs. Contact True & Dorin to learn if surgical or non-surgical treatment will be better for you.