Hair Transplant Surgery using FUE/FOX Technique

Treatment information

FUE is the newest technique in the field of hair transplantation. Strips of skin are not cut out. Instead the follicle units are taken from the donor area individually, and then planted individually. The method is the most time consuming and therefore most expensive.

About hair Transplant Surgery using FUE/FOX Technique

FUE (also known as FOX) stands for Follicular Unit EXtraction and is the newest and most refined technique for hair transplantation.

FUE differs from FUT andmini-micro grafting because of the way the donor hairs are taken out. FUT and mini-micro grafting involve cutting out strips of the skin, whereas in FUE the individual follicular units are taken out, one at a time. This way there will not be a long, horisontal scar left in the donor area, but little tiny scars instead, which is far more discrete.

Generally on hair Transplantation

A surgical hair transplant involves taking hair from one area of the head, and placing them in a different area. Usually, the donor hair is taken from the neck or sides, where there are normally plenty of hair, and where a scar will be easy to conceal.

Due to the constant improvement of this extensive surgery, the interest for hair transplantation has increased in the course of the last decade.

Male pattern baldness is usually caused by a local increased level of sensitivity to the male hormone testosterone, which is created in increasing amounts, both during and after puberty. This hormone is converted by an enzyme (5-alpha reductase type II) into a different material - dihydrotestosterone (DHT). An increased presence of DHT will over the long run cause the hair to become thinner, loose pigmentation, and finally to stop growing completely.

When it comes to having a hair transplant, the result depends greatly on the amount of hair present in the selected donor area (this being an area on the patient's own head).

The hair is taken from the neck or sides, seeing as these areas rarely loose their hair. This is due to the fact that the 5-alpha reductase type II enzyme does not exist in these areas, and is therefore unable to convert the hormone to DHT.

The good thing about a hair transplant is that once the new hairs have been planted they will not fall off again.

Suitability

Whether you are suited for a hair transplant depends on your age, hair colour, type and amount of hair loss, and whether you have straight or curly hair. Only a doctor with experience in the field of hair transplantation will be able to counsel the individual patient with regards to this.

If you are already completely bald, a hair transplant will not be possible.

The procedure of hair Transplant Surgery using FUE/FOX Technique

When using the FUE technique, the hairs are preserved by planting them in follicular units, which is the way they normally grow. This is also true of the FUT method.

As with mini-micro grafting and FUT the donor hairs are taken from the neck or sides. FUE also allows for the use of body hair for the transplant, although these are not always suited for being fitted at the top of the head, since they are not of the same quality.

The difference between FUE, FUT, and mini-micro grafting lies in the way the individual follicle units are taken out. With FUE the units (containing 1-4 hairs) are taken out directly from the scalp with the use of fine instruments and an operating microscope. Hereby you avoid the long cuts, which are incurred with FUT and mini-micro grafting, and which also leave behind a long scar.

Among the downsides of FUE, there is the risk of accidentally cutting in the individual hair follicles. This can possibly result in a reduced growth in the transplanted follicles, and thereby give a less satisfactory overall result.

FUE provides a more beautiful and more natural result than with mini-micro grafting, but compared to FUT there is no difference when it comes to the cosmetic result.

The procedure of hair Transplantation

There are several different techniques for hair transplantation.

In order to understand the individual techniques for a hair transplant, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of how the hair on our heads actually grows.

Hair grows naturally in groups, often consisting of 1-4 hairs. Such a group with 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs (though most often 2 or 3 hairs) is called a follicular unit, or FU in short.

When a clinic advertises with "Single Hair Replacement", or "Direct Hair Implant", they should be inquired about what they exactly mean by this. Does the clinic actually remove only follicular units with 1 hair, or is this simply an expression for moving one follicular unit with 1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs?

Furthermore, when having an FUT or an FUE hair transplant, one should look out for the fact that some doctors only transplant follicular units consisting of 1 hair, or 1 to 2 hairs. Others combine the size of the individual follicular units, so that, for instance, follicular units with 1 and 2 hairs are only used in front at the hairline, and follicular units with 3 to 4 hairs are only placed on the top of the head.

There is a lot of disagreement among hair transplant surgeons regarding what is the most appropriate technique. The best thing to do would be to ask the individual clinic about which technique they use, and possibly why they use this technique.

The duration of a hair transplant varies greatly and is dependant of the technique, character, and extent of the surgery. It is not uncommon for a hair transplantation to take 2-8 hours. Usually, a hair transplant using mini-micro grafts takes the shortest amount of time to perform. Second to this is the FUT. The FUE is the most time consuming of the techniques.

Anaesthesia

A hair transplant - regardless of which technique used - is usually performed in local sedation and is ambulant.

Side-effects

One of the special benefits of an FUE hair transplant is, that there will not be a long scar after the surgery. Even though patients may have heard otherwise, a FUE hair transplant will leave scars, but they will be very tiny, so they can easily be hidden by a little hair in the back of the head.

After the surgery, the patient may experience slight pains (least with FUE). Soreness, swelling, redness, and contusions (bruising) may occur during the few following days after the surgery (least with FUE). These will disappear within a week's time.

Risk of complications

As with any other form of surgery, there is a risk of consequences from the anaesthesia, infection, bleeding, poor healing, and a bad cosmetic result, as well as blood accumulation.

No surgery is risk free, but please note that complications with this form of surgery are very rare.

Healing and recovery

The FUE method gives the quickest healing compared to the other hair transplant methods. The tiny wounds, formed by the excision of the follicular units, are so small, that there is no need for stitching after the surgery, and you can expect it to heal within a week's time.

How long before the patient must wait before returning to work depends on the technique used, and how comfortable the patient is with publicly displaying, that the surgery has taken place.

In principle, some patients are able to resume work on the same day the surgery was performed, although most prefer to wait until the swelling has gone down a bit.

It will usually about one year, before the new hair has grown out fully.

Duration of the result

The transplanted hairs will remain throughout the patient's lifetime, because they come from the areas of the head where the hairs never fall off.