FUE machines are devices to make FUE easier, faster and more accurate essentially.
Follicular unit extraction has come a long way since we introduced it into the UK back in 2003. At that time, the concept was simple – take a hollow 0.9mm sharp dermatology punch, place it over the shaven hair, give a twist and some pressure to penetrate the skin to about 2-3mm and withdraw. Hopefully, with practice, the angulation and depth chosen by the operator, would allow them to pull out a perfect hair graft. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy!
Even the name FUE has changed into a variety of descriptive or branded terminologies:
Follicular unit excision, DHI Direct Hair Implantation, FIT Follicular Isolation Technique, Woods technique. But at Westminster Clinic, we prefer calling it the Follicular Unit Extraction technique.
From those heady days, when we were advancing FUE hair transplantation, we performed 250-500 grafts as standard and took nearly all day doing it. This was a problem because the graft numbers were lagging far behind the more routine 1500 strip grafts we were doing at the time. And more hair, extracted and placed correctly, usually means more dramatic results.
A big improvement over hand punches was the simple variable speed drill. This removed a lot of the literal finger ache from performing highly repetitive and skilful, micro manoeuvres of the hand, pushing and twisting the punch. This allowed the operator to concentrate on efficient focussing on the next hair graft, removed the variability of micro movements and doubled or trebled our speed. The quality also improved.
Others experimented with different punches – sharp, dull, two stage, suction assisted – all looking for the holy grail of 100% perfect, high speed extractions. Sadly, some clinics became fixated on selling the highest numbers but worried less about the quality.
In the past decade though, many new FUE devices have become controlled by electronics, as well as incorporating the new punch designs.
Punches can now be blunt or sharp, two stages, trumpet shaped, bell shaped, combined sharp and dull edges, serrated, slotted, full suction or just suction assisted.
Controlling these punches, the electronic handpieces now offer automatic variable speed, hydration, oscillation, vibration, you name it. There even is a fully robotic device which as yet doesn’t work as reliably as a human.
What FUE machine?
At Westminster Clinic, we’re going to review a number of machines and then decide where to put our money. The various devices are:
Trivellini (Mamba) link
Watch this space!