Follicular Extraction Unit
FUE stands for Follicular Unit Extraction, a technique also variously known as FIT, CIT, FUSE, DHI and Woods techniques. This technique uses a microscopic punch to remove each individual hair graft, in the same way as an apple corer removes the core of an apple. FUE is a relatively new technique, and only really established itself in the early years of this century. It still has some way to go in its evolution. Like all things, it has advantages and disadvantages, sometimes depending on patient preference or characteristics. We performed our first FUE in 2003, shortly after discussing it with various doctors at the 2003 New York ISHRS conference. Both Dr Robert Jones and Dr Alan Feller were very helpful in particular.
An important point to make first is that FUE is a different extraction method for hair transplants but the technique of inserting the grafts is just the same – it doesn’t mean the grafts can be inserted any closer or that they grow any better. Neither is it a method of “hair cloning” nor is it invisible or “surgery free.” It is however, a very useful adjunct treatment which may be the best technique of hair transplantation for some patients but a waste of time and money for others.
In most cases, the donor area is just the same (although it is the method of choice for body hair HT). The scalp hair is usually shaved all over but it is possible sometimes just to shave small donor areas or to leave the recipient site long. The patient then usually lies face down on something similar to a massage couch and the scalp is numbed up. An FUE punch is used, either manually or by electric handle, to “score” around the hairs, to a specific depth (about 2mm) and angle. The hair is “plucked” out with forceps and then trimmed to a uniform size, prior to re implantation. The hair can be damaged by getting the angle, depth or “pull” wrong. This is why it is slow and expensive. Attempts to make “robotic” FUE so far are not more effective than a skilled human and doesn’t make it cheaper, although potentially a little faster.
Click here to see a short animation of the FUE technique.
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What our patients say
Dr Rogers Compliment Letter 2015 – SG
When I arrived at the clinic on Harley Street I was welcomed warmly by the staff and did not have to wait long before the Surgeon (Dr Richard Rogers) came and introduced himself. I then sat down with Dr Rogers who spent time getting to know me, asking very detailed questions. He then spent some time with me penciling on different hairlines giving me plenty of time to think, whilst giving his expert opinion and advice on what would look the most realistic. When I had decided on the placement of my new hair line Dr Rogers made sure that I was happy with the outline drawn one last time walking round showing me it from different angles using a mirror.
Through Dr Rogers being so intent on making sure I was 100% happy with the procedure before going ahead really helped me feel comfortable and sure with my decision. With my hairline drawn and having been made to feel completely relaxed by Dr Rogers I was walked to the surgery. Even then Dr Rogers continued to make me feel comfortable introducing me to each of his nurses and explaining each step to me in detail of what they would be doing whilst he performed the procedure.
Having talked through the procedure with me and going over everything in extreme detail Dr Rogers asked me to place myself on the chair and then began to adjust the position making sure that I was completely comfortable. Now that I was sat comfortably and ready for the procedure to begin Dr Rogers began to guide me through each step before doing so. To begin with he explained that he would be administering general anesthetic to numb the surrounding area, and told me that it may hurt a little like a pinch. However, I did not feel a thing! In fact I didn’t even realise Dr Rogers had begun, he was so gentle and light handed I was shocked and of course extremely pleased!
With the first part out of the way and the surrounding area completely numb, Dr Rogers told me that he would now begin to remove the strip of skin. At this stage I could honestly not believe how it was possible that I could not feel my skin being cut away. Throughout the procedure I was not once in pain and Dr Rogers continually made sure that I was ok and checked that I was in no kind of pain.
Better still Dr Rogers talked to me throughout the procedure and joined in with conversations between the nurses and myself. This really made me feel at ease and at times I nearly forgot that I was having a hair transplant. With my strip of skin removed and the nurses now taking each hair follicle from the skin, Dr Rogers began to stitch my skin back together. Even now I could not feel a thing and before I knew it Dr Rogers had finished.
Whilst the nurses continued to separate the hair follicles Dr Rogers offered me some water and asked if I had any food to eat to help boost my sugar levels. Once I had eaten a snack and topped myself up with water Dr Rogers made sure that I was comfortable before the procedure continued. He then explained that he would be administering some local anesthetic to the surrounding area for the hair follicles to be placed. With the area numbed and having been told what was to happen next Dr Rogers began to make tiny pin pricks into my skin for the hair follicles to be placed in by his nurses. I cannot stress enough how I did not feel a thing and it was over with so quickly, he was a magician with his hands! It was now time for the final part of the procedure; the nurses began to delicately place my hair follicles in one by one.
With the procedure now finished and my new hairline complete, I was given plenty of time to slowly sit myself up. Dr Rogers then offered me some water and food to help boost my sugar levels. Now that I had my bearings back, Dr Rogers walked me into a quiet room and showed me to a mirror. He then said that he would leave me for a few minutes to look at the hairline. After a few minutes had passed he knocked on the door and asked if I was happy with the outcome, to which I found myself near on speechless! I told him how happy I was with it and continually thanked him for doing such an amazing job.
He then asked me to take a seat and began to explain in detail how to care for my new hair each day and gave me a detailed plan on paper. He then gave me a spray that he explained would help to clean any blood away from the surrounding area. After making sure that I was completely happy with the outcome and asking if I had any questions Dr Rogers shook my hand and wished me the best of luck with my new hairline.