What exactly is follicular unit extraction?

Hair Transplant Surgery

Arguably the best hair transplantation technique is follicular unit extraction. In this article we will look into how this technique is performed and how it actually works.

Baldness is a huge problem for millions of people. Luckily, medicine keeps advancing as fast as possible in order to meet the needs of the patients. Techniques such as scalp micropigmentation have been developed in response to this need, however in this article we focus on a hair transplant technique known as follicular unit extraction, or FUE for short.

In order to conduct a hair transplant you would need to take some hair. There are many ways you can take these hairs and this is probably the greatest difference between the available techniques. In some of the techniques a whole patch of skin, along with the hairs, is removed and then the hairs are separated and prepared for transplantation. In the follicular unit extraction technique the hairs are taken one by one and they are not taken from only one area. This has quite a lot of positive effects on the operation itself and on the recovery period for the patient.

Follicular Unit Extraction explained

In this technique the first thing that has to be done is choose the best donor area for the needed hairs. After the area has been chosen all the surgeon needs to do is prepare the patient and start ‘gathering’ the necessary hairs. These hairs must be well separated and prepared for the next procedures; otherwise the whole process would have no result at all. The follicles should be kept under strict conditions otherwise the operation will fail and the bald areas would remain the same.

The number of taken hairs determines how the next procedure would be done. If the hairs are more than it is necessary then they can be placed closer to each other at the bald areas. This increases the chances of positive effects because even if some of the hairs do not survive, the remaining ones would cover that area. If the follicles are not enough they are more separated from one another. This is a more risky procedure because when some of the follicles do not survive, that area would remain bold. However, if the surgeon is skilled and everything has been done right, the whole process should go without any problems or complications.

One of the greatest advantages of follicular unit extraction is that it leaves almost no scars to the donor area. Of course, there are some scars but they are too small to notice. What’s more, if the area is treated properly post-operatively then the scars would only be seen if you knew they are there.

What is important about the follicular unit extraction techniques is that it is one of the least traumatic procedures for hair transplantation. What is more, it has probably one of the highest success rates among all hair transplant operations. There are also some disadvantages – the technique is quite sophisticated and the surgeon should be both skilled and experience. However, you can easily avoid this disadvantage by choosing only trusted surgeons that are well aware of what they are doing.

A good place to start is to look for a surgeon accredited by the ISHRS (International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery). You can find a list of their physicians here.


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