Follicular unit extraction (FUE), also known as follicular transfer (FT), is one of two primary methods of collecting follicular units, groups of one to five hairs, for hair transplantation. The other method is called (FUT) in which a strip of skin is removed from the patient and then dissected into many individual follicular units.
Follicular unit survival
The survival of follicular units taken from the scalp during the extraction is one of the keys to successful hair transplantation. The follicular units face the risk of getting transected during the extraction process which causes the death of the grafts therefore the failure of the operation.
While FUT method using strip-harvesting of follicular units typically guarantees a large number of non-transected follicular units, the FUE transects grafts most of the time that useless for the transplant.
FUE harvesting of grafts causes “pit” scarring, small, round, and typically white scars in the patient’s donor area where the grafts have been removed. FUT method causes a linear scar in the donor area where the strip of skin was removed. Both the pit scarring may be caused by FUE and linear scar caused by FUT are often hard to detect when hair in the donor area is at a normal length when the extraction is performed by a skilled surgeon.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) has a shorter patient recovery period and significantly less post-operative discomfort than (FUT). FUE provides an alternative to FUT when the scalp is too tight for a strip excision and enables the hair transplant surgeon to harvest finer hair from the nape of the neck to be used at the hairline or for eyebrows. FUE, the follicles are harvested from a much larger area. Follicles harvested from the borderline areas of the donor area may not be “permanent,” therefore, over time, the transplanted hair may be lost. Because of scarring and distortion of the donor scalp caused by the FUE, the grafts become fragile and subject to trauma during placing.
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