Follicular Unit Extraction
FUE hair transplants are where individual follicular units are extracted from the back or side of a patient’s scalp and transplanted into the balding area.
It is expensive in comparison to FUT - at roughly twice the cost. This is because the procedure is much more labour-intensive, as each hair follicle needs to be removed individually.
The advantages are that no strip is taken from the back of the scalp so scarring is minimal. Most patients have some red spots in the harvested area for a week to ten days after the procedure - which then go away.
FUE is more appropriate for men who like to wear their hair short or shaved because of the light scarring caused by FUT.
Why have a hair transplant?
Nine out of ten patients at Crown Clinic are men seeking a permanent remedy to their baldness. Around 10% of our patients are women who have experienced problems with thinning hair, and around half of women will experience some kind of hair loss in their lives. Our hair transplant procedures can benefit both men and women suffering with the effects of hair loss, no matter what their age.
We also treat hair transplant patients for the following reasons:
- Physical trauma-facial injury and scarring resulting from events such as road accidents, industrial accidents, thermal and chemical burns.
- Medical and surgical treatments. Surgical treatment of injury or tumour that results in removal of hair and tissue scarring; radiotherapy or chemotherapy for cancer that results in loss of hair.
- Absence of hair on all parts of the body as a congenital condition.
- By far the most popular reason is cosmetic: men find their hair loss can damage their self-esteem and even their career prospects. Opting for a hair transplant is a permanent solution to this problem. The transplanted hair is permanent and will last the patient for the rest of his or her life.
- Virtually all men, even those in the advanced stages of baldness, have a permanent horse-shoe of hair on the back and sides of the scalp. This gives the surgeon a stable supply of donor hair, which can cover current and future areas of hair loss.
- We tend operate on patients aged 25 and over - by this age, we are able to establish what the eventual pattern of hair loss might be. Prior to 25, the pattern is not established and it is not in the patient's best interests to operate.
Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplants (FUE), is a harvesting technique where the individual grafts are removed from a shaved area of the donor scalp. Although there is mild scarring immediately after the procedure - small red dots are usually visible in the donor area, however they fade after a few days.
An FUE hair transplant is ideal where the patient prefers a shorter hair style, such as a Number 1 or Number 2 cut, or any hairstyle where the scalp is easily visible. The scarring is much less noticeable than with the FUT procedure. With many men wearing the back and sides of their head shaven and longer on the top, FUE is becoming increasingly popular.
The preparation is the same as FUT - patients are given local anaesthetic used in both the donor and recipient areas. As in FUT, we often find that patients fall asleep while grafts are removed and transplanted - often while watching a movie on DVD.
Individual follicular unit grafts are removed manually using a tiny round punch. These are then moved to cover an area of baldness. The recipient site is prepared using a fine needle - the follicles can then be placed where they will grow into healthy hair-producing follicles.The grafts are blended into the thinning or balding areas in such a way as to match the natural growing characteristics of your original hair. Due to the nature of the technique, there may be a slightly higher rate of wastage than in FUT. FUE grafts can also be more vulnerable due to the fact that there tends to be less protective tissue around the roots. It means extra care is needed when you leave the clinic to ensure that the grafts survive.
FUE for patients with long or longer hair
Some patients are put off having an FUE hair transplant procedure because they are worried that they will have to fully shave the back and sides of their head in order for the surgeon to harvest the donor grafts. This is not the case.
We shave only a very small section of the back or side of the scalp to obtain the donor hair. The shaved section is either in a square shape or, more likely, in small lines down the back of the scalp. An upper layer of hair is lifted and then we shave underneath, allowing the hair above to fall over the shaved area - covering it up. The shaved area is only really detectable to those who know you have had a transplant, and obviously the hair in the shaved area grows back quickly.
FUE hair transplant After-care
Within 30 minutes of the treatment ending, you are able to go home, though we recommend that you do not drive.
With modern techniques used at Crown Clinic, we can produce results that are virtually undetectable - even under the closest scrutiny. A week to 10 days is required for post-operative recovery.
The main benefit of the FUE technique is the reduction in scarring. The minute punctures caused by extracting the follicular units heal quickly and leave small circular scars, which are barely visible once the hair grows back.
FUE has benefits for patients who are particularly active, as the lack of incisions means there are no limitations on strenuous activity after the procedure. This is also helpful for patients who have very tight or very loose scalps. The procedure can also be used to extract very fine hair on the nape of the neck, which can then be used on the hairline or eyebrows.
New hair will start to grow back around three or four months after the procedure. However, it will take at least six to eight months for the new hair to make any significant cosmetic difference to your appearance.
The main benefit of the FUE technique is the reduction in scarring. The miniature punctures caused by extracting the follicular units heal quickly and leave small circular scars which are barely visible once hair grows back.
FUE has benefits for patients who are particularly active as the lack of incisions means there are no limitations on strenuous activity after the procedure. This is also helpful for patients who have very tight or very loose scalps. The procedure can also be used to extract very fine hair on the nape of the neck, which can then be used on the hairline or eyebrows.
Why have a FUE hair transplant?
- Less scarring than strip excision
- Decreased healing time
- Decreased discomfort after surgery
- No limitations on strenuous activity (great for active/sporty people)
- Better option for people with tight scalps
Calum Best - successful FUE hair transplant transplant patient at Crown Clinic
Calum Best said the FUE procedures he has had at Crown Clinic have cured his long-term baldness.
The model - son of the legendary Manchester United soccer ace - began losing his hair in his early 20s.
He found this hair loss damaged his self-esteem and could have potentially harmed his earning potential as an actor and model.
Calum said: "I am so pleased I had the procedures at Crown Clinic. Your surgeon Asim Shahmalak was recommended to me by a close friend and he has been amazing in restoring my hair."
"I shudder to think what my hair would look like without Dr Shahmalak's help. He has filled out the front of my scalp and ensured that I can wear my hair in exactly the way I want. It really does feel like a cure for my baldness."
"The work has really helped me to stay looking great and prolong my career as a model."
Dr Shahmalak said: "Models like Calum who are constantly in the public eye need to look good. How many movie stars do you see who are bald? It's why we have so many celebrities coming to Crown Clinic for treatment."
Martin Roberts - successful FUE hair transplant transplant patient at Crown Clinic
Martin Roberts is known to millions as the presenter of BBC1's popular property auction show Homes Under The Hammer.
He came to Crown Clinic after noticing that he was losing his hair around his crown.
This made him self conscious when he was filming - he likened his bald spot to a halo.
Martin had 4,200 hairs moved from the back of his head to the top of his scalp to cover up his bald crown. You can see the remarkable success of the procedure in these pictures.
Martin said: "Men are slow to invest in themselves. Instead of changing your car every three years, why not have a hair transplant? It will be give you a lot more satisfaction in the long-run."
"I was in such good hands with Asim Shahmalak - his results are remarkable."
Dr Shahmalak said: "Losing hair on his crown can shatter a man's confidence. They don't want to turn around in case people see their bald spot."