Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplants (FUE) can be a rewarding choice for those wishing to restore their hairline and hair density. It’s a popular choice for many.
FUE uses a series of specifically designed instruments to remove clusters of hair follicles from the scalp. These follicular units exist in families of one, two, three or four hairs. Once removed from the back and side of the scalp, they can be implanted into the sparse areas of the scalp to restore density where it’s needed.
In Strip Harvesting (FUT/FUG), hair follicles are cut from the back of the scalp in a long strip of skin which could be 15-20cm in length. The donor follicles are dissected into individual grafts under a microscope and implanted into the desired area of scalp. However, FUT/FUG leaves patients with a permanent linear scar across the back of the scalp, which can be difficult to cover up, unless you grow your hair longer at the back to cover it. Click here to find out more about why we don’t do FUT/FUG at the Melbourne Hair Transplant Clinic.
We believe FUE is the best way to go to achieve a natural looking hairline, without the drawback of a prominent linear scar. How do you know if you are suitable candidate for this kind of transplant?
The Conventional Method
The standard method of FUE involves harvesting hair follicles from the back of the head and transplanting them to the designed locations of the scalp. In most cases, the back of the scalp is the perfect place to harvest follicles for FUE transplant. This area of hair is usually not susceptible to the hormone that causes male pattern hair loss on the front and crown of the head. Despite this, the area may still not be an ideal donor area, here are a couple of examples of why:
- If hair density at the back of the head is too thin - If donor grafts/follicles are removed from the scalp when there is a lack of density, the thickness of this area will be impacted, appearing thinner than pre-surgery.
- If the patient has had FUT/FUG surgery in the past - This procedure leaves noticeable scars after the transplant. This method reduces hair density as it can damage hair follicles near the extracted strip of skin.
- There may not be enough follicles in the back of the head to harvest - We cannot perform FUE if we have no hair to extract.
An Alternative Method
If the back of the scalp is not suitable to harvest follicles, the next step is to explore a Body Hair Transplant (BHT).
BHT harvests hair from the neck, chest, back or thigh and implants the individual grafts into the head. Although it is a relatively new option, the results have shown it to be a powerful alternative. Generally, we expect to see an 80% success rate from this solution, giving people the chance to restore their hairline even when follicles from the back of the head cannot be used.
The BHT procedure is more complex than standard FUE, because of the nature of body hair. Naturally, body hair doesn’t all grow in the same direction as it does on the head. The skin also varies greatly in elasticity, which can make the extraction of these follicles more painstaking for the hair transplant surgeon and therefore a more costly procedure.
The Key to Success
Because of these additional challenges, it is recommended that anyone considering BHT receives a test patch. By doing a test patch, the surgeon can assess the quality in the growth of the hair and assess the potential for success before the patient undergoes a full body hair transplant.
Overall, the most effective way to find your suitability for both FUE and BHT is to speak to a qualified surgeon, such as our own highly skilled Dr Peter Paraskevas. This is the only guaranteed way to fully understand which solution can be tailored to you.
- FUE generally uses donor hair from the back of the head, but there are sometimes cases where this hair cannot be used, such as low hair density at the back of the head, or prominent scarring from strip surgery (FUT/FUG).
- BHT is a good option for those not suitable for traditional FUE.
- It's essential to get a test patch transplanted first to measure the potential success of the BHT surgery.
- It is always best to discuss your options with an experienced surgeon.
- If you are interested in exploring your suitability for BHT or FUE, book a consultation today and let our knowledgeable team guide you.