Follicular Unit Extraction – FUE Hair Transplant Services Los Angeles
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a surgical harvesting method used in hair transplantation and hair restoration surgery that involves extracting a natural group of individual hair follicles one at a time directly from the patient’s head.The procedure does not involve use of scalpels, thus avoiding the kind of linear scarring that often results from other forms of transplant. A surgeon usually extracts follicles from the sides and back of the head and before implanting them into the balding or thinning areas. Patients usually elect FUE as treatment of the most common cause of hair loss known as androgenic alopecia, also known as hair loss or pattern baldness.
What is Follicular Unit Extraction:
There are currently two broad forms of Follicular Unit Extraction:
- Basic Follicular Unit Extraction: This is the simplest and most common form of FUE, where only the back and sides of the head are used for donor sources. These methods can reliably extract straight and loosely waved hairs. However, this classic FUE has limitations for extracting curly or tightly wound hair and for patients suffering severe balding. These limitations widely restrict the number of good candidates that qualify for the procedure.
- Advanced Follicular Unit Extraction: The advanced techniques like the DrUGraft procedure have design advantages that makes it possible to reliably and consistently:
- Extract hair from the head as well as nape, peri-auricular areas of the scalp, neck and all body areas
- Extract the most tightly curled hairs and even in thick scalp skins. Most individuals with tightly curled Afro-textured hair are not good candidates for basic FUE. Advanced DrUGraft FUE tools and techniques consistently extract these types of hairs successfully.
Before FUE Hair Transplant:
Prior to the FUE method, doctors widely performed follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) as the most popular form of transplant surgery. In FUSS, a surgeon cuts a linear piece from the back or sides of the scalp to utilize as a solid donor strip. The strip is then microscopically divided by units in order to provide separate follicles for transplanting purposes. However, the surgery leaves behind a wide and long scar around the base or side of the head. Commonly known as “strip harvesting,” doctors considered FUSS the most traditional method of hair transplantation up until the introduction of FUE. However, this method posed extreme risk to many seeking a natural and more permanent hair restoration solution.
Unfortunately, FUSS has a number of disadvantages for the patient. Extracting a full strip of flesh during the procedure permanently leaves behind a linear scar at the donor site. This scar does not fade over time. Unless the patient decides to conceal the scar by wearing a long hairstyle, the linear scar also remains highly visible. Additionally, the invasive nature of strip surgery can cause possible nerve damage at the incision site. The nerves running across the incision are at a higher risk of being severed.
What is a FUE: The Evolution of a Minimally Invasive Hair Transplantation
So what is a FUE hair transplant? Restoring hair loss through transplantation originated in Japan in the early 1900s, but a variety of temporary and surgical techniques have been developed throughout the decades. Originally, the punch graft technique was solely utilized for surgical hair restoration. Unfortunately, the punch grafts created white scars on the donor site, as well as a “pluggy” doll-like appearance on the scalp. Luckily, Japanese Dermatologist Masumi Inaba introduced follicular unit extraction in the 1980s, as a way to use tiny 0.6 to 1.2mm punches rather than the original large 4mm graft size. FUE hair transplant surgery individually extracts hair follicles one-by-one from its donor site, leaving behind only miniature, tiny wounds and no visibility of surgery or scarring.
Today, doctors regard FUE hair restoration as the most ideal method for hair loss restoration. In fact, FUE hair transplantation continually yields the highest success outcomes among alternative techniques in hair density, in the creation of natural-looking hairlines and does so without leaving scars. Innovations in the FUE hair transplant method have even made it impossible to tell when a patient has had surgery, leaving behind only natural looking and natural feeling results. When comparing FUE to other alternative hair restoration options, FUE hair replacement provides the most promising long-term solution. With ongoing advances in utilizing body hair transplantation (BHT), follicular unit extraction continues to increase the odds of recovering a full head of hair even in the most extreme cases of balding.
Basic FUE Hair Transplant Methods and Their Techniques
Basic follicular hair extraction has utilized several techniques and tools since FUE was originally created. In general, doctors perform most standard follicular unit extractions using either a manual punch or powered rotary punch device. Similar to a pen, manual punches are mounted on a holder and require the practitioner to execute rotation through precision.
While some transplant clinics have refrained from the FUE restoration method due to the required precision and excess the process requires, other clinics have turned to automated or robotic punch devices for help. In this case, powered FUE extraction devices are mounted onto an electromechanical instrument that executes s continuous rotary motion, helping to eliminate the trauma to the graft that usually occurs when using manual devices. For instance, the Neograft FUE includes an electromechanical rotating punch that speeds up the FUE’s highly delicate process through a vacuum-suctioning tube. Others have relied on automated FUE machines, like the ARTAS Robotic FUE, where a pre-programmed robotic machine completes the entire hair follicle extraction process.
Follicular Unit Extraction Disadvantages
While the standard tools used in these Basic FUE hair transplants have shown some efficacy, they also carry high limitations, as well as risks. Often times, vacuum-based mass production machines and robotic FUE options have compromising results because of a lack of human precision. Furthermore, despite wide use, automatic or robotic transplant machines run the risk of bad FUE hair transplant results, espeically when compared with the DrUGraft. Automated FUE technology and FUE methods that use vacuum suctioning for “hand free” extraction also come with a number of risky factors that can damage the graft in the process. Automated FUE also limits who can qualify for treatment, as it can only help patients with dark brown or black straight hair. Advances using body hair in FUE hair transplants have not proven reliable with these forms of Basic FUE surgery techniques, either.
A Clear Advantage
Anyone can see why FUE hair restoration has become so popular in the light of today’s cosmetic concerns. The benefits that follicular unit extraction bring for many first-time hair transplant patients have left many astonished at their successful results, as well as offer hope to patients needing concealment from previous botched surgeries. Patients have an easier time saying goodbye to baldness, now more so than ever. Thanks to FUE technology hair transplants now have better results with fewer side effects.
The DrUGraft Advanced FUE Technique and Body Hair Transplantation
Today, FUE hair transplants using body hair have become more frequently accepted and practiced due to its high success rates when performed by an experienced surgeon. Advanced FUE practitioner Dr. Sanusi Umar revolutionized the FUE hair transplant process by using body and head hair in hair restoration surgeries. Expanding FUE to include these donors provides for a more promising hair restoration technique even in cases of extreme baldness. Dr Umar’s patented, revolutionary DrUGraft Advanced FUE system creates a quicker process with little to no risk of damaging the donor grafts during extraction. His state-of-the-art, patented DrUPunch tool and DrUGraft Advanced FUE system have ultimately earned Dr Umar a reputation as a world-leader in FUE body hair transplantation.
Unlike other FUE tools, the DrUPunch tool completely avoids the added risk of buried grafts that other devices carry. While traditional straight punch grafts can cause trauma to the hair graft during extraction, the DrUPunch angles away from the graft. It then creates a gentle pulling action of the graft for removal. Dr Umar’s patented irrigation system then helps gently flush any impacted grafts from the punch with no damage to the hair follicle. The DrUPunch’s fluid irrigation system creates a final seal when the gentle pulling action separates the graft from the tissue.