Centers such as DHI in Greece, The Feller Clinic or Dr. Cole in the USA, Alvin in Canada and injertocapilar.com in Spain began to investigate new materials that make the follicular harvesting quicker and of better quality, as well as diminishing the size of post operatory wounds, thus bettering the recovery period.
The principle behind the FUE technique is very simple
If normal hair transplants consist of extracting a strip of skin with hair from the back of the head which is later dissected (under the microscope) to obtain the follicular units needed to transplant into areas with no hair, then why not extract the follicular unit directly from the scalp and then insert it into the unpopulated areas.
The previous punch transplants were still there (the famous doll hair), very unnatural as it used circular scalpels of 1 to 2 cm which extracted and inserted many follicular units joined close together and left the donor area fairly worn out.
At first, circular micro scalpels of surgical steel measuring 1 mm were used, but evolution brought us micro scalpels made of titanium which were increasingly smaller, 0.8, 0.75 and even 0.5 mm.
Currently the 0.75 mm is the one most used, as it easily allows for the extraction of follicular units of 2 or 3 hairs leaving them completely healthy and leaving only a tiny scar which heals between 24 and 48 hours. It all depends on the caliber of the hair, the number of hairs per follicular unit which we want to extract and the ease with which the units can be extracted.
Therefore we can summarize the advantages of the FUE technique:
If at the beginning the difference was more than double, the prices are now equal and in large macro sessions, FUE is cheaper.
- There is no incision, nor any visible signs of the transplant. There is no strip or flap extracted, no stitches and the scalpel is never used
- There is no scarring, therefore we can cut our hair without any type of restrictions, even allowing us to shave the donor area if so desired
- The post-op recovery is very quick, the post-op recovery period is minimal, which allows us to plan procedures on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, according to whatever best suits the patient.
- We can use hair from different parts of the body, (chest, arms, legs, pubic area) to give additional density, a method known as BHT (Body Hair Transplant), although it’s always preferable to use hair from the scalp.
See more advantages in: Strip vs. FUE
But it’s not all advantages; the disadvantages are at the moment (and hopefully not for long more):
Time: this is also being solved. At first, it was unthinkable to be able to insert more than 600 units in one day, but today we are inserting between 1500 and 2000 FU´s per day, depending on the type of hair and skin. The possibility of shaving the head in individual cases allows us to perform macro sessions of between 3000 and 4500 FU´s over 2 or 3 days.