Hair transplantation surgery has dramatically evolved over the subsequent the last five decades. Throughout the evolution of hair transplant surgery, techniques have come and techniques have discarded. Today, single strip excision with stereomicroscopic dissection of the excised strip remains the most common type of hair transplant surgery performed according to a 2013 ISHRS practice survey. In the last decade, however, a refinement of an outdated punch extraction technique, now referred to Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is becoming more popular, and hair transplant surgery has never been the same.
FUE is a surgical technique that removes individual hair or follicular units, “one at a time” from the posterior donor harvesting site. This method of hair transplantation is a minimally invasive procedure that involves using small circular punches ( 1.0 mm) to remove the individual follicular units from the back of the scalp, and then reimplanting the harvested follicular units back into the scalp in the balding recipient areas.
FUE hair transplantation requires the surgeon to possess higher skill sets in order to perform the procedure successfully, and this technique consistently yields successful outcomes in terms of hair density, natural-looking hairline, and it eliminates donor linear scarring. Other patient concerns are that it is not easy procedure to perform by the surgeon, and it requires the patient to ethically consider the alternative single strip excision technique because of prolonged harvesting time, and a very short hair cut required by the patient when harvesting grafts.
FUE hair transplantation is generally pursued for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness. This genetic hair loss condition results in balding of the crown, frontal hairline, and temple points. The essence of the good though is, with an experience hair surgeon the benefits from Follicular Unit Extraction results in a natural hairline.
THE BAD, & THE UGLY:
Now, I am sure that you are thinking, if this technique is so great and revolutionary how can anyone think FUE is a bad procedure? There are actual blog sites dedicated to disparaging FUE hair transplantation and telling prospective patients to choose a different surgical technique, i.e., STRIP.
Selecting An Experienced Hair Restoration Surgeon
It is important to have a properly trained and experienced physician performing the procedure. I am sad to report this detail is often overlooked because patient’s are searching for “the best deal.”
Private companies promoting FUE devices are interested primarily in making a profit and not patient safety and aesthetes outcomes.
These companies may have other allied businesses that physicians may contract with. These physicians without sufficient hair restoration training hire out to non-physician operators or hair technicians, to perform the hair surgery from start to finish. No surgeon or physician is involved and the outcomes can be terrible.
Some companies market these FUE devices to plastic surgeons, dermatologists, med-spas and aesthetician skin clinics where untrained physicians use hair technicians to perform the hair surgery. Unbelievable as it may seem, without appropriate training and lacking concept of basic hair restoration fundamentals, plastic surgeons and dermatologists are practicing hair restoration surgery using hair technicians.
When at their hair surgery consultation, patients should ask if the surgeon is involved in the pre-operative, intra-operative, and post operative phases of surgery. Patients should ask if the physician harvests the grafts and create the recipients sites necessary to produce natural hairlines. Patient’s also need to remember if a hair surgical facility is offering a semi-expensive procedure at an extraordinary reduced fee, there is usually a reason, and it’s not a good one.