Follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplants are done by taking individual hair follicles out of your skin and implanting them elsewhere on your body. This will make the hair in the new area look thicker.
FUE was meant to replace the “classic” follicular unit transplantation (FUT) technique. This procedure was done by taking an entire piece of skin or scalp along with the follicles and transplanting the skin on the target area.
FUE has become more popular than FUT because it’s less likely to lead to a “hair plug” look, where sections of skin or hair don’t match the surrounding areas. It also won’t leave a large scar like FUT does.
The best candidate for a FUE hair transplant is someone with thinning hair or balding who still has enough hair nearby to use for a transplant.
You may not be eligible for a FUE hair transplant if you don’t have enough healthy or thick hair to transplant to the thinning or balding area.
Hair transplants Facts
- If you are completely bald it is highly unlikely a hair transplant will be achievable
- If you are still losing your hair it is best to wait until the hair loss has stopped, or you will have to continue to have treatment as new bald patches appear
- The improvements look better on thick, curly hair rather than fine hair, although it is still possible with thin hair, but it might not look as good
- You may need multiple sessions over a couple of years
- Hair growth may be slow
- Hair may not be consistent with previous hair growth
- Hair transplant procedures
Here are some things you may need to do before getting a FUE hair transplant:
- Don’t smoke for at least a day before your surgery.
- Don’t drink alcohol for at least 3 days before your surgery.
- Don’t take aspirin or blood thinners for about 2 weeks before your surgery.
- Don’t take any vitamins or dietary supplements for 2 weeks before your surgery.
- Try to avoid taking antidepressants for about 2 weeks before surgery.
- Don’t get your hair cut before the surgery.
- Do a scalp massage 10 to 30 minutes every day for a few weeks to increase blood flow to your scalp.
- Take any medications, such as minoxidil (Rogaine), that your surgeon asks you to take.
- Have an electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood tests done before surgery.
Here’s how the FUE procedure works:
- Your surgeon will shave down the hair in the area where follicles will be removed as well as around the transplant area.
- Using a micropunch tool, they will remove follicles from your skin.
- Your surgeon will then make a series of tiny incisions with a needle or other small, sharp tool where the extracted follicles will be inserted.
- They’ll insert the follicles into the incisions.
- Your surgeon will clean and bandage the area for recovery.
Recovery from FUE is quick. You may have some swelling or discomfort for about 3 days.
Here are some aftercare instructions your doctor may give you:
- Don’t wash your hair or shower for at least 3 days.
- Use gentle, unscented shampoos for a few weeks once you start washing your hair.
- Take a couple of days off work to help speed up healing.
- Don’t comb or brush your new hair for at least 3 weeks.
- Don’t wear hats, beanies, or other clothing that goes over your head until your doctor says it’s OK.
- Don’t do any strenuous physical activity for at least a week.
Some hairs may fall out during the healing process. This is normal. You’ll probably start to notice a difference after 3 to 4 months.
Depending on the health of your transplanted hair, your hair may not grow back as thick as expected.