Science

Follicular Unit Extraction technique

Animation of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

FUE is an advanced surgical technique for restoring hair loss while avoiding the need for a linear scar. The Maitland Clinic utilises the very latest technology, including manual and motorised follicular unit extraction.

Our surgical team, led by Dr Edward Ball and Janna Shafer, are amongst the world’s leading exponents of FUE techniques. Achieving a natural result requires both technical excellence and an aesthetic understanding of how hair grows and what will work best for each individual patient.

 

What is FUE?

Like the FUT technique, Follicular Unit Extraction involves transferring hair grafts from the “permanent area” of the scalp where hairs are genetically programmed to continue growing for life (the ‘donor area’) to areas affected by hair loss.

The difference is that rather than removing a strip of donor skin from which to dissect the follicular units , FUE extracts individual follicular units directly from the scalp, leaving only tiny dot scars.

 

The process

At the start of the procedure the donor area of the scalp is shaved and follicular unit grafts are extracted individually, using a 0.8mm to 1mm ‘punch’. The procedure can be carried out manually or using one of several different surgical tools.

Meanwhile, the surgeon will make microscopic slits in the receiving area of the patient’s scalp, and the individual grafts will be placed into these recipient sites. In order to achieve a natural look, our surgeons pay extreme care and attention to the positioning of the grafts.

Whereas the FUT technique leaves a linear scar, following FUE there will be a series of tiny dot scars on the scalp which are so small as to be scarcely noticeable.

Again, FUE requires only a local anaesthetic and is almost completely pain-free, but it is significantly more time-consuming than FUT. A typical FUE treatment would require extracting up to 2,000 grafts and might take 10 hours, while larger cases may require more than one day in surgery. At The Maitland Clinic we make sure your time in the clinic is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible – you can relax, watch films or use iPads while in theatre.

The new hairs will begin to grow approximately four months after surgery, and will continue to grow through for the next 10 to 15 months.

Read more details about what to expect in surgery here.

 

Is FUE right for me?

Because it leaves minimal scarring FUE is ideal for people who like to keep their hair short, such as a number 1 or number 2 haircut.

It may also suit younger patients and those who only require a relatively small number of grafts in the hairline.

However, FUE will not suit all patients. Factors including your age, general health and your expected hair loss over time will all influence whether FUE is the right procedure for you. Our consultants will discuss the pros and cons with you and advise on the type of surgery best suited to you.

See more Frequently Asked Questions about hair replacement surgery here.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

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