Expert Guide to FUE Hair Transplant Surgery
Baldness affects millions of people across the globe, but what causes it?
We’ve all heard certain stories and claims: poor circulation in the scalp, a lack of vitamins, wearing hats regularly, and even dandruff have been blamed for baldness in the past.
Another story is that your maternal grandfather’s hairline is an indication of how your own will change, while some believe that a man with no signs of baldness by the age of 40 will enjoy a full head of hair for the rest of his life.
Is there any truth to these claims?
Various factors affect your hairline, such as your health and genetics. However, the more pressing issue is not what causes baldness, but its psychological effect.
Hair loss leaves many people (men and women alike) extremely unhappy with their appearance. It can have such a powerful impact on their self-confidence that restorative treatment is the only solution – and state-of-the-art FUE is the best option available today.
This hair replacement surgery has the power to boost your self-esteem and return a touch of youthfulness to your appearance, but the overall results may not be as perfect as you imagined.
You need to give careful consideration to any option, and discuss your expectations with your treatment-provider.
As every hair replacement technique uses your own hair, your surgeon has to identify the most efficient method suited to your condition and expectations.
All candidates must show signs of healthy growth on the head’s sides and rear; these are the donor areas, and any flaps and grafts will be taken from these zones.
Transplanted hair may look different than before depending on the donor hairs’ colour, shape, and texture.
What is FUE Hair Transplantation?
Follicular Unit Extraction (or FUE) was the most important hair transplantation innovation of all time. This is the most effective modern hair restoration solution, able to enhance your self-confidence and appearance significantly.
While there are quite a few hair transplantation procedures available, FUE stands out a bit. This is because instead of having bits of skin stripped off of different areas and grafted onto your scalp, or having hair plugs being inserted into the skin, it actually relies on your existing hair.
Basically, some of your existing active hair follicles, located usually on the sides and back of the head, are carefully extracted, cleaned, and transplanted into areas where the hair follicles have died.
Doctors can perform FUE with a local anaesthesia, and the results are very discrete: your surgeon will focus on the two upper skin-layers only, leaving no visible signs of the transplant in the donor or recipient zones.
During FUE hair transplantation, the local anaesthetic minimises discomfort whilst keeping you awake enough to talk.
The injection is made into the donor area of the scalp (any pain from the needle is minimal and brief), before the surgeon starts to extract between one and three hairs at a time, until he or she has gathered the target amount.
It’s vital that the hair in the donor area doesn’t look thinned-out, so the doctor harvests them in a scattered pattern (rather than from just one set location).
The doctor uses a special punch with a fine needle in order to safely extract the follicle. He is careful to not create noticeable patterns in the donor areas, and not to pick the follicles that are too close to one another and accidentally create spots.
The follicle, once extracted, is placed in a special solution designed to preserve and clean it, thus prepping it for the insertion process.
Once enough follicles have been extracted and cleaned, the doctor uses another punch tool, with a different and finer needle, to carefully insert the follicles into the bald area.
Again, careful to not create noticeable patterns, or implant them too close to one another. While this is the last part of the procedure, it is also the one that takes the longest
What Happens During FUE Hair Transplantation Surgery?
- FUE hair transplants cannot create new hairs for you – they can only transfer existing hairs from one zone to another.
Hair is taken from areas which remain untouched by your hair loss, which is usually the back and sides of the head in men. Why? Because hair in these areas are unaffected by hormonal influence.
FUE hair transplantation incorporates punch needles, which are available in multiple sizes: matching the right one to your needs is essential to minimise the risk of damage. Using a fine punch needle poses less danger to the donor area, ensuring a safer, more discrete extraction.
- Our surgeons are fully aware that your hair is finite: they will exercise great caution when handling your hairs, and will keep them safe during the entire procedure.
The goal of FUE is not on taking a large amount of grafts, but instead on the hair roots’ quality. This dictates how successful said grafts will be in taking root, and how likely they are to fail.
Hairs are removed using a micro surgical extraction instrument with a diameter of between 0.6mm and 1.0mm.
- Next, micro surgical needles are used to puncture the target area of the scalp, before the donor hairs are inserted to match the original hair as closely as possible. The aim is to create a hair pattern which looks natural and authentic.
Tiny puncture scars are left by the removal of individual hair follicles, and these are virtually invisible to everyone else.
You will experience almost no pain after the FUE hair transplantation is complete, and recovery periods last between one and two weeks (on average). No linear scars are left on the scalp.
Transplanting only the most high-quality grafts is vital to ensure the highest level of authenticity and satisfaction. These are taken from the donor areas’ most permanent parts, and will be covered by a protective layer of tissue.
This minimises any mechanical damage caused during the implantation phase, and stops them from drying between extraction and insertion.
Dehydration poses a risk to grafts, and ongoing cellular metabolism has been known to cause problems akin to self-poisoning.
- As a result, extracted hairs are stored in a physiological solution before implantation, creating a similar environment to the body. The hairs are always kept damp during examination too.
A natural, authentic result can be achieved by carefully regulating the depth, angle, and direction of the hairs to be inserted during FUE. How is this done?
- Before your FUE procedure, our specialists will perform a comprehensive mapping of your hair’s growth.
This enables them to identify the proper angle and placement for every follicle, creating the most organic finish for maximum satisfaction.
The complex nature of this process demands our specialists have extensive experience and training, and the results speak for themselves.
Donor hair roots have to be prepared with caution after being extracted, and implanting them is, of course, a delicate process.
- Following a successful transplantation, your donor hair will grow and feel just as your original hair did.
- You can enjoy the results in total freedom, without the need for pills or lotions to keep your hair healthy.
The Ongoing Evolution of FUE Hair Transplants
In recent years, technological progress has given surgeons far more effective ways to achieve natural results.
The risk of complications has been reduced considerably during FUE procedures.
The regrowth ratio of grafted hairs is higher when using the most cutting-edge techniques than in standard procedures: before, the sharpness of the FUE needle had been known to damage grafts while harvesting was performed.
This meant injured grafts may have failed to grow along with the healthy grafts, and just 65 – 70% of hairs inserted during surgery might have grown back in some cases.
However, these worries are a thing of the past since James Harris MD (owner of the HSC Colorado clinic) created the S.A.F.E Scribe tool.
This revolutionary piece of equipment functions like a tiny rounded drill, but actually makes no incision. This virtually elimintates the danger of damaging grafts during transplantation, and leads to between 95 – 100% of all implanted hairs growing back.
It also means people who may have been unsuitable candidates for FUE (including patients with grey hair and Afro-Caribbean hair) can undergo the treatment.
S.A.F.E. Scribe’s depth-blocking function stops the doctor operating it from cutting into the skin too deeply, posing a reduced risk to the scalp.
The healing process is also halved compared to the standard FUE transplantation, and there are no visible scars.
The FUE SafeSystem is a new patented method, the perfection of the FUE method. Today the doctors of our clinic belong to the small number of surgeons in the world who offer this revolutionary new technology to their patients.
Through this technical breakthrough, an opportunity arises to harvest hair follicles precisely, without unnecessarily damaging the scalp or the hair follicles which could not be avoided during the traditional FUE procedure.
For those patients who do not have enough hairs at the back of their head, the SafeSystem makes it possible to harvest or remove hairs from the other parts of the body: from the chest, the back or even the stomach area. Taking into consideration that the quality of hairs on these regions is less than on the scalp, this procedure can only be employed as the “last resort”. Of course, the patients have the opportunity to discuss the right application of the hairs on their body with the doctors of our clinic.
With the help of the SafeSystem, at our clinic it is possible to isolate and remove such hair follicles that can contain even 6-7 hairs. During the procedure, with the help of the so-called SAFE Scribe device, it is possible to remove the hair follicles precisely, with minimal damage to the tissue and the follicles.
The advantages of the FUE Safe System method summarised:
- The FUE SafeSystem is the latest hair transplant method. We were among the first clinics to introduce it in Hungary. Thanks to this new method, the smallest disturbance, and the most precise result possible can be achieved during hair transplant. At our clinic, many important innovations are part of the procedure which are not applied anywhere else.
- Due to the fact that the grafts (follicular groupings) are removed through the FUE SafeSystem hair transplant procedure, and then stored in a special regeneration liquid for follicular groupings, we can achieve an earlier hair growth, a stronger, more potent, and 10-15% greater growth of the transplanted hair.
- Using this method, the scalp will recover more quickly and the period before returning to your normal routine will be shorter as well. Doctors and tissue specialists worked out this new procedure. It reduces the damage of the follicular groupings during the removal, storing and implant of the hair, to a minimum.
- Due to the precise removal of the hair and to the special storing process, complete, healthy hairs will be implanted during your hair transplant. So in this complex way, the FUE SafeSystem has become a procedure of a much higher standard than the former FUE.
- Today the FUE SafeSystem is the most advanced hair transplant procedure all over the world. At our clinic we offer this method to all our patients.
The advantages of the FUE Safe System procedure for our patients:
- The procedure can be carried out for anyone.
- Because of the smaller injuries to the hair follicles, the number of removable donor hairs increases
- Hair transplant results look much more natural, as the surgeon can also choose the characteristics of the hair, besides the number of the hair follicles transplanted.
- Removable hairs from areas offering better quality hair, e.g.: from the back of the head or behind the ears
- Recovery time decreases
- No visible scars
- The method can be applied by FOX negative patients as well
- The method is also ideal for patients for whom previously there has been no hope for a hair transplant
- SafeSystem also means a guaranteed solution in case of fair or thin hair, or if follicles are not thick enough
What Happens After FUE Hair Transplantation?
- After the procedure is done, the patient undergoes a short healing process, depending on the severity of the actual procedure.
- While the scalp is healing, the patient has to be very careful to not touch or exert any kind of stress or friction on the transplant area.
- There is also moderate swelling that the patient will experience after the procedure, however, that will subside with time.
- Another thing that will happen is minor hair loss in the transplanted area. This is because, in 98% of the cases, not all the follicles will survive the transplant, and will fail to grow.
- The degree of hair loss varies; however, the vast majority of cases have minor and barely noticeable hair loss.
- Regardless of the process used, hair loss may start to occur between two and six weeks after the treatment. This usually affects those hairs which have been grafted only, but it can impact existing hair too. For 98% of patients, most transplanted hairs can fall out – but don’t panic!
- As strange as it may sound, this process is absolutely, 100% normal. It’s only those hairs which have been weakened during the transplantation process which fall out, while their roots stay in place. These grow stronger and start developing fresh hairs between three and six months later.
How does FUE compare to other procedures?
While there are a lot of other procedures and treatments out there, FUE stands out on its own merits.
It has the shortest recovery and healing time of all hair transplant procedures
FUE is a medical procedure and, like all medical procedures, it has a recovery time that you will need to go through. This is to give the body time to heal, give the follicles time to set properly and grow, and the swelling from the procedure to subside.
While it is true that the healing time is heavily dependent on the size of the area, the number of follicles used and the overall health of the patient, it is still rather short. It can vary from 2 to 14 days, even longer in extreme cases; however, it is not as painful and as long as the recovery time of other transplanting procedures. While you still need to be careful during the recovery period and deal with some swelling, all in all, it is a lot more comfortable and a lot less problematic.
It is the least invasive hair transplant procedure
One of the main worries that patients have when it comes to procedures is how invasive they are. This is because they are more or less exposing themselves up to all kinds of risks such as infections and imbalances.
This procedure relies only on your own hair follicles, without any added substances or any extra elements. In all fairness, the punch used to extract and implant the hair follicles does not even penetrate through all the skin layers, to begin with.
It has the lowest risk of complications
Make no mistake about it, this is a medical procedure, which involves extracting cells from one side of your scalp and implanting them onto a different one. It is commonly known that medical procedures often carry the risk of complications and problems.
FUE is generally regarded as the hair transplant procedure that is the most unlikely to develop any complications. These complications can range from minor infections to major ones, from clotting to full-blown autoimmune responses, and FUE has the lowest probability of them occurring. So low, in fact, that it is often considered to be the safest transplantation method out there.
It is the least noticeable procedure
One of the most important aspects of getting a hair transplant is that nobody really notices that you’ve had one. That being said, you’re looking for something that leaves as little marks and signs as possible.
FUE leaves behind nothing but a few white pit scars which are barely noticeable at best. No other scars that actually stand out, no weird growth angles and without any thin base patterns. This is because of the fact that the procedure uses your own follicles, as well as the fact that it uses the ones off the back and sides of your head.
This means that the hair itself will never look out of place, will have the same consistency all around, and will always match properly.
It has the lowest failure rate out of all the hair transplantation procedures
By far one of the most asked questions when discussing a transplantation procedure is what the success rate is.
While there is no such thing as a perfect 100% success rate, FUE still boasts the highest success rate out of all the hair transplantations procedures currently available to patients.
With a whopping 99.5% success rate, it is currently considered one of the most reliable procedures that you can get for your scalp. This is with the occasional minor hair loss that can occur during recovery.
Baldness and hair loss are things that not every man can deal with, and that is okay, there is no shame in it.
The right to seek happiness is one that is guaranteed by every constitution in the world, and if having hair brings you happiness then you should do all that is within your power to pursue it.
There are quite a few options out there for you to choose from. If you feel that FUE is the best choice for you, and you feel that you would benefit the most, then it might be a good idea to start looking for doctors that specialise in this procedure.
Want to know more about our FUE hair transplantation procedures? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.