What is an FUE hair transplant?
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a type of hair transplant surgery, where individual follicular units are extracted from the back or side of a patient’s scalp and transplanted into the balding area.
Before the procedure, patients are given local anaesthetic used in both the donor and recipient areas – in fact, 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 the balding areas. The recipient site is prepared using a fine needle, and the follicles can then be placed where they will eventually grow into healthy, hair-producing follicles. The grafts are expertly blended into the thinning or balding areas, to seamlessly match the natural growing characteristics of your original hair. FUE grafts can be vulnerable due to the fact that there tends to be less protective tissue around the roots, so it means extra care is needed when you leave the clinic to ensure that the grafts survive – we’ll thoroughly talk you through the aftercare process.
FUE is slightly more expensive than FUT surgery because the procedure is much more labour-intensive, as each hair follicle needs to be removed individually. However, one main advantage is that unlike FUT, 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, but these then fade away. FUE is a good option for men who like to wear their hair short or shaved, as FUT does tend to leave some light scarring.
Why have an FUE hair transplant?
Nine out of ten patients at Crown Clinic are men, who are seeking a permanent solution for their hair loss, whilst around 10% of our patients are women, who are struggling with thinning hair. Our hair transplant procedures can benefit both men and women who are suffering with the effects of hair loss, transforming their confidence and self-esteem.
We also treat hair transplant patients who have undergone physical trauma, facial injuries and scarring as the result of accidents and burns, as well as patients that have lost hair as the result of medical and surgical treatments, such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy. We have also treated patients who have an absence of hair on the body, due to congenital conditions.
However, by far the most popular reason is cosmetic, as a hair transplant can have a truly transformative effect on a patient’s life. Thankfully, for most men – even those in the advanced stages of baldness – they have a permanent horse-shoe of hair on the back and sides of the scalp, which gives the surgeon a stable supply of donor hair, which can cover current and future areas of hair loss. Please note that if you are under the age of 25, it is not in your best interests to undergo a hair transplant, as we are not able to establish the eventual pattern of hair loss by this age.
Will I need to shave my head for FUE surgery?
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 – but thankfully, this is not the case.
We only shave 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 detectable to those who know you have had a transplant, and obviously the hair in the shaved area grows back quickly.
Within 30 minutes of the treatment ending, you will be able to go home, although we strongly 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 should be allowed for post-operative recovery.
FUE is great 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."