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Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

Follicular unit extraction, sometimes referred to simply as FUE, is a method of hair transplant surgery that manually removes individual hair follicles from the patient's scalp. Once extracted, hairs are then implanted to bald or thinning areas around the head.

Follicular Unit Extraction

The Skinny


Average Recovery

3 days

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Minor Surgical Procedure

Surgical

Yes

Cost

$4000 - $15000

The Specifics


What is follicular unit extraction?

A follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a surgical hair restoration procedure to naturally improve the hair density, volume, and distribution through individual extraction and reimplantation of healthy hair follicles into bald areas or thinning areas.

The Anatomy of a Hair Follicle

Hair Follicle Anatomy Illustration

Unlike follicular unit transplantation (FUT), which utilizes one strip of donor scalp, FUE uses smaller donor sites to harvest hair follicles via sharp or blunt dissection. Depending on the location of reimplantation, 150 to 5,000 grafts will be harvested.

This procedure can be used on the scalp, eyebrows, or facial hair. It is ideal for patients experiencing hair loss due to a hereditary condition, age related loss and thinning, or traction alopecia which is hair loss secondary to overly tight hairstyles.

What cosmetic concerns does follicular unit extraction procedure treat?

  1. Hair Loss: Through individual harvesting and placement of hair follicles, follicular unit extraction restores volume to bald areas or thinning areas.
  2. Eyebrow & Eyelash Hair: A follicular unit extraction procedure can precisely define and contour the eyebrow and facial hair areas.
  3. Forehead Shape & Size: By rejuvenating the appearance of the frontal hairline, a follicular unit extraction can improve the overall appearance of the forehead.

Who is the ideal candidate for a follicular unit extraction procedure?

The ideal candidate for a follicular unit extraction is seeking to correct areas of baldness or hair thinning. FUE allows candidates to have shorter haircuts without visible scarring. Follicular unit extraction is not recommended for those with poor donor sites, or those with hair loss due to medication, stress, medical treatments, or any other reversible cause.

What is the average recovery associated with a follicular unit extraction procedure?

The average recovery from a follicular unit extraction is seven to 10 days. Recovery from follicular unit extraction is slightly less than that of Follicular Unit Transplantation as no large portion of donor scalp is removed so there is no suture closed incision. Most patients return to work and resume light exercise within one week. Normal hair care can be resumed within 10 days. Refraining from alcohol, steam rooms, swimming, and excessive sweating for one week post-op is also recommended.

What are the potential side effects of a follicular unit extraction procedure?

Possible side effects from a follicular unit extraction include bleeding, infection, telogen effluvium (thinning or shedding of hair), itching, scarring, cyst formation, and swelling.

What can someone expect from the results of a follicular unit extraction procedure?

The results of a follicular unit extraction will become noticeable after three to four months. At this time, grafted hairs start to shed and begin to regrow. The majority of hair growth will be seen five to 12 months following the surgical hair restoration procedure, and final results will evolve as new hair growth occurs.

What is the average cost of a Follicular Unit Extraction procedure?

A follicular unit extraction procedure can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000. The actual cost of a follicular unit extraction is dependent upon location, board certified plastic surgeon, and length and involvement of the plastic surgery. Learn more in our complete guide to hair transplant cost.

Pros

no suturesno linear scarquicker healingsmaller scarshort hairharvest additional grafts

Cons

harvests less graftsmultiple sessionslarger area of hair needs to be cut short

Invasiveness Score

mildmoderatesevere
1
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5
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10

Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


Follicular unit extraction is a method of hair transplant surgery that manually removes and implants individual hair follicles from the patient's scalp. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after a FUE hair transplant.

The Takeaway


Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a surgical hair restoration procedure to encourage new hair growth through hair transplantation from a donor area to a recipient area. The hair restoration technique in FUE utilizes small donor areas for harvesting of individual follicular units (rather than the large donor area, strip method seen in follicular unit transplantation).
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Source List

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AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association Hair Loss: Tips for Managing aad.org
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff Hair Loss Symptoms and Causes MayoClinic.org
  3. Paul T Rose Advances in Hair Restoration PubMed.gov; 2018-01-01
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