FUE stands for follicular unit extraction. Hair restoration refers to any medical or surgical process that reverses hair loss. This might include topical and oral medications such as minoxidil and finasteride, or a procedure like punch grafting. In Los Angeles, FUE hair restoration is the premier surgical method of getting one’s hair back. However, other procedures, some antiquated and some modern, include:
The first two on the list are nearly obsolete in the way of restoring hair. Both are highly invasive and infamous for risking permanent nerve damage, severe scarring, and other complications. Punch grafting is known for creating a pluggy “doll’s hair” look, and also for leaving large round scars. This makes hair transplantation today’s surgical procedure of choice.
FUE was invented in the 1980’s but largely developed in the 1990’s. It harvests individual donor grafts from anywhere on the scalp (or body, with advanced FUE body hair transplant). These tiny grafts—called follicular units—are excised one by one with a 0.8 to 1.2mm punching tool and needle device. They are then implanted into the recipient area with care and precision. This minimally invasive microsurgical procedure involves no scalpel, and thus leaves patients without the need for stitches or staples. It also means:
The two types of hair transplant that have risen to the forefront of today’s technology are follicular unit extraction and strip harvesting. Developed in the 1980’s, strip harvesting—technically called follicular unit transplant (FUT) and also known as strip surgery—has a very different excision process. This technique, being the first invented of the two, would be considered the less sophisticated, however it is still widely used.
In Los Angeles, FUE hair restoration aligns more with the culture of high-caliber beauty and cosmetics due to its superior aesthetic result. Strip harvesting excises an entire strip of flesh from the mid-rear scalp, to later be dissected into follicular units for implantation to the recipient area. It requires stitches or staples to close the wound, and thus results in a large linear scar at the back of the head (which is likely to stretch over time). In addition, FUT derives the hair from the thickest-growing part of the scalp, which limits the artistic creation of a natural-looking hairline.
As with most medical services, treatments, and cosmetics available, every method branches off into competing brands. Follicular unit extraction has various monikers, including:
And the list could go on. These names are each a brand of FUE that has been developed by independent pioneering physicians. They each differ slightly in procedure and tools used. Last on the list is a true Los Angeles FUE hair restoration brand; developed by Dr. Umar of FineTouch Dermatology and DermHair Clinic, the uGraft or “The Umar Procedure” is an advanced technology. uGraft enables the excision of donor hair from the head with enhanced precision, minimized transection, and minimized graft burial; which also bestows the groundbreaking ability to safely excise donor hair from the body. This revolutionary technique is the salvation that all severely bald patients have been looking for. Dr. Umar is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and is the world-leading practitioner of large-volume body hair transplant.
During the procedure, the following steps will ensue:
While FUE hair restoration is the premier hair transplant technique, it does have its disadvantages. One of the major drawbacks is that it tends to be more costly, for the following reasons:
Additionally, though some of the best surgeons in the world practice in Los Angeles, FUE hair restoration cannot treat everyone. As with all surgical procedures, there are poor candidates. People prone to keloiding, scar hypertophy or other such abnormal scarring tendencies are poor candidates for hair transplant; as well as people with blood clotting abnormalities and allergies to local anesthesia.
Among the arsenal of tools used for Los Angeles FUE hair restoration and elsewhere, there exists manual tools, powered tools, automated machines, and robotic devices.
Manual Tools: The first FUE punching tool, resembling a pen, was simple, manual and handheld. It required the surgeon to rotate the tool by hand in order to excise the follicle from the flesh.
Powered Tools: The next step was a handheld device with an electromechanical rotary punch. This refines the excision process and lowers transection rates by requiring less movement from the practitioner. Some powered tools incorporate depth control. Los Angeles FUE hair restoration methods like uGraft use a similar tool.
Automated Devices: NeoGraft has become a popular FUE extraction tool. It uses an electromechanical punch with air-vacuum technology to suck the graft away from the scalp as it is being excised. Designed to expedite the tedious excision process, NeoGraft inherently desiccates the graft, compromising graft survival. This might undermine the overall success of the transplant.
Robotics: Extraction is entirely machine-run with robotic devices like Artas. This machine uses 3-D imaging software, cameras, and color identification sensors to perform FUE like a human practitioner, without the human. Artas only works on people with straight hair that is black or brown in color. Tests have cited high damage rates with this tool, including high incidence of buried grafts and excessive transection rates.
Selecting the right surgeon will make or break your hair transplant results. Follow these steps to ensure you choose the best surgeon for you: