Follicular transplantation is a hair restoration surgery that is based on the fact that hair grows in groups and not as individual strands. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a hair transplant procedure where natural groups of hair (follicular units) are individually extracted from hair-bearing areas on the back or sides of the scalp (regions more resistant to balding), chest, or back (donor sites) and transplanted to the balding areas of the head (recipient sites).
The procedure is carried out under sedation and local anesthesia. The hair on the donor site is cut short or shaved. Follicular units containing 1-4 hairs along with nerves, blood vessels and muscle are extracted microscopically as a whole using micro needles (cylindrical punches) directly from the scalp.The follicles are extracted over a wide area so as to not reduce the hair density too much. The extracted follicle units are kept viable in a holding solution while they await transplantation. Antibiotic ointment is applied over the donor sites.
The size of the recipient area is determined by your natural hairline, facial appearance and ethnic background so as to make the transplant as natural as possible. The recipient site is prepared by making slit incisions with custom-made blades or needles,which can be adjusted to match the size of the follicular units. These slits are made so as to orient the transplanted hair to match natural hair growth. Most of the incisions are made in the planned recipient site after which implantation is done. This is followed by a phase of fine tuning where more incisions are made and follicles transplanted to perfect the hairline and appearance. No sutures or bandages are necessaryafter the procedure and the head can be covered by a cap or bandana.
Follicular unit extraction is advantageous as it does not leave a scar and is less painful compared to other follicular unit transplant procedures where a large section of the scalp is removed from the donor site. However, the procedure is time consuming and is not indicated where extensive hair transplant is required.