Hair Transplant FUE vs FUT

What is a Hair Transplant (FUE)?

FUE stands for “Follicular Unit Extraction.” It’s one of the hair transplant methods carried out by extracting individual or single hair follicles from regions of the skin where you have healthy hair and implanting them in the skin area where there is little or no hair. 

Surgeons with micro punches carry out the FUE; there is virtually no scars left where the hair follicles were extracted. 

Over time, the FUE procedure has become a lot more popular than the classic method it’s designed to replace – the “Follicular Unit Transplantation” (FUT). 

The FUT entailed taking out a whole patch of skin or scalp together with the hair follicles and transplanting it to the target region. 

One reason the FUE gained popularity over the FUT is that there is a lesser possibility that the transplant will result in a “hair plug” look, which happens when the transplanted hair patch does not match the target region where the patch was transplanted.

The FUE transplant is most suitable for a person who has a region of hair that is thinning or bald but still has enough hair close by (on the back of their head) for the transplant. 

What does it cost to carry out a Hair Transplant (FUE)?

Typically, an FUE transplant’s price range is somewhere between the low mark of $4,000 and about $15,000 for a session. 

If you were to hold multiple sessions, you might spend as much as $30,000 or even higher.

Overall, the price of an FUE transplant is dependent on certain factors:

  • The volume of hair that is to be extracted, and then transplanted
  • The number of surgeons that will be available to carry out the procedure
  • The frequency of FUE hair transplants your surgeon is capable of handling
  • The level of experience and expertise of your surgeon

However, you need to keep in mind that you might also have to spend money on some prescription medications to take care of any pains or side effects that may occur from the procedure.

You might also need to take into consideration that procedures like an FUE are not covered by a majority of the available health insurance policies. Almost all patients pay cash or use credit & pay it off over the time they’re healing.

You may also need to take several days off to fully recover, typically 2 to 3 days after the procedure has taken place.

How does the Hair Transplant (FUE) work?

In short, certain males have the genetic code for the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) to convert testosterone into DHT, which prompts hair loss. As a person ages, the three-phased hair growth and regrowth cycle get shortened until it gets to a stage where the follicle cannot regrow new hair.

The way this process occurs differs from person to person, so not everyone develops it the same way. 

For some people, the process occurs earlier, and they start getting bald as early as their teens or 20s, while for others, this may occur later on in life.

The hair transplant FUE method helps to renew the hair as the old follicles are replaced with new follicles that still can grow hair. It is performed under magnification for precision. This is because it is based on individual hair follicles, and it takes longer periods compared to the FUT method. 

The recovery period is also shorter than the period it takes to recover fully from the FUT method.

When the transplant is done, over time, the newly transplanted follicles will get nourishment from the blood vessels, and they will start to grow hair where there used to be little or no hair.

How much hair is transplanted?

The amount of extracted and transplanted hair is totally dependent on the size of the target region. 

Other factors that could come into play are hair color, hair structure, and natural hair density. 

You should get specific details from your doctor or surgeon during consultation before the transplant procedure is carried out.

How convenient is a Hair Transplant (FUE)?

Most times, there are two options: you have the FUE transplant procedure in multiple sessions of about 2 hours to 4 hours within several days or you could have a “mega session” –a session that may last as long as 8-12 hours. 

Based on the fact that the FUE transplant procedure is an outpatient one, it means that you do not have to be admitted to the hospital, and you can go home immediately, typically. 

After the FUE procedure, there shouldn’t be too many disruptions to your schedule and routine. 

Nonetheless, you should avoid immersing the area where the transplant was carried out in the water for about 7 – 9 days. You should also avoid any form of strenuous activity for the same period.

Also, to have a hitch-free experience, you should consider consulting a dermatologist whose specialty area is hair loss, or you could meet with a certified hair transplant surgeon. (You can also consult with us here at Hair Lens.)

How effective is a Hair Transplant (FUE)?

The hair transplanted through the FUE method into a new region on the skin should typically start growing back within 8 to 16 weeks.

Overall, the FUE transplant is very effective, and you should anticipate 70% to 80% of the hair that was transplanted to regrow. The effects of the FUE transplant procedure can last as long as a lifetime.

The transplanted hair can last a lifetime because they do not have the genetic code that causes baldness, which is present in the follicles of the target region.

Procedure for Hair Transplant (FUE)

When you think of getting an FUE hair transplant, you want to ensure you consult a clinic that deals in hair loss or a surgeon in the same area. 

The consultation is necessary to determine your eligibility for the procedure. You’ll also want to be aware of the required precautions and any other things you need to watch out for.

So, this is basically what the procedure for an FUE hair transplant looks like:

  1. The surgeon carrying out the procedure will start by shaving down the hair from both where the follicles are extracted and the transplant’s target region.
  2. The surgeon and team will then administer local anesthetic to numb the entire scalp.
  3. The surgeon will proceed to remove hair follicles from the skin with the use of a micro punch tool.
  4. The extracted hair follicles are then placed in a designed solution to ensure the hair follicles’ vitality and prepare them to be transplanted.
  5. After this, a series of small incisions will be made on the target region where the follicles that have been extracted will be placed, with either a needle or another sharp tool.
  6. Next, the extracted follicles will be inserted inside the incisions made earlier.
  7. Lastly, the surgeon wraps up by cleaning and bandaging the region for recovery.

After the procedure, around 80%+ of the transplanted hair will fall off by the sixth week.

Targeted regions for treatment

The most common region of the skin where the FUE transplant is carried out on the scalp is the top of the head.

It’s possible to have an FUE transplant anywhere else where there is little or no hair. This could include your face, your arms, or even anywhere on your skin. 

Possible side effects or risks

Luckily, there are no long-term side effects. 

Typically, you will not sustain any form of scars from the procedure except small whites dots on the region where the follicles were extracted. And they should ordinarily fade over time. 

You may also experience some sensitivity and/or bruising. But it should subside after the recovery period, which is typically the week after the transplant.

However, you should contact your doctor should any of these uncommon side effects persist for more than a week or two:

  • Symptoms of an infection
  • Drainage at the region the surgery affected
  • Continuous balding even after the procedure
  • Numbness around the region affected by the surgery
  • Folliculitis (a condition of swelling of the follicle)
  • Swelling around the region of transplant
  • Failure of the transplanted hair to resemble the hair surrounding it

What should you expect after an FUE transplant procedure?

You should recover from the FUE procedure quickly. Though, you might experience slight discomfort for up to 3 days thereabout.

Below are instructions you should get from your doctor or surgeon to put into practice after the procedure:

  • Avoid washing your hair or taking a shower for a minimum of 2-3 days.
  • When you eventually return to washing your hair, make use of mild and unscented shampoos for the initial few weeks.
  • Take a few days to rest after the procedure to quicken the recovery process.
  • Avoid combing or brushing your hair for a minimum of the first three-four weeks.
  • Avoid headgear and hats until your doctor gives the go-ahead.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or activity for the first 30-days.

It’s normal for a few strands to fall off after the procedure during the recovery period. In about four months, the results will begin to show properly, though it might take as long as 12 months to see maximum results. However, this varies from person to person.

Another noteworthy point is that the hair might not regrow as thick as you would expect based on the transplanted hair’s health. However, if your donor area is healthy, you’ll be fine.

Steps to take in preparations for an FUE transplant procedure

  • Avoid taking in any aspirin or any form of blood thinners within the preceding two weeks of your transplant.
  • Avoid any dietary supplements or vitamins within the preceding two weeks to your transplant.
  • Try not to take any antidepressants within the preceding two weeks to your transplant.
  • Avoid taking in any alcohol for a minimum of 3 days before your transplant.
  • Avoid smoking for a minimum of 1 day before your transplant.
  • Carry out an electrocardiogram (ECG) and several necessary blood tests before your transplant, if you have pre-existing conditions (high blood pressure, heart conditions, etc.)
  • Avoid getting a hair cut prior to the transplant.
  • Perform a massage on your scalp for about 10 to 30 minutes every day for a few weeks after the transplant to increase your scalp’s blood flow.
  • Complete use of all medications prescribed by your surgeon.

Conclusion

While this was an overview of the FUE hair transplant process, we hope it was useful in learning more about everything that goes into the decision.

If you want to learn more about getting your own FUE hair transplant, check out a free virtual consultation Hair Lens offers here. We’ve worked with thousands of clients and work hard to provide the best results in the industry.