The survival of follicular units upon extraction from the scalp is one of the key variables of successful hair transplantation. If follicular units are transected in the extraction process, there is a greater likelihood that they will not survive the transplant, and the hair transplant will fail. While FUT procedures using strip-harvesting of follicular units typically guarantees a large number of non-transected follicular units, FUE procedures can, and often do, transect grafts, rendering them useless in a transplant. Significant efforts have been made to reduce the rate of transection in FUE procedures. T
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. FUE scarring differs from scarring from strip harvesting in that the latter procedure produces a linear scar in the donor area where the strip of skin was removed. Both the pit scarring from FUE and linear scar from strip harvesting are often hard to detect when hair in the donor area is at a normal length and the extraction is performed by a skilled surgeon.
Comparisons with follicular unit transplantation
Follicular unit extraction generally has a quicker patient recovery time and significantly lower post-operative discomfort than follicular unit transplantation (FUT). FUE provides an alternative to FUT when the scalp is too tight for a strip excision and enables a hair transplant surgeon to harvest finer hair from the nape of the neck to be used at the hairline or for eyebrows.
However, with FUE, the follicles are harvested from a much greater area of the donor zone compared to FUT, estimated to be eight times greater than that of traditional strip excision so requires patients to have hairs trimmed in a much larger donor area. Follicles harvested from borderline areas of the donor region may not be truly “permanent,” so that over time, the transplanted hair may be lost. Due to the scarring and distortion of the donor scalp from FUE it makes subsequent sessions more difficult, and grafts are more fragile and subject to trauma during placing, since they often lack the protective dermis and fat of microscopically dissected grafts.
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