The Evolution of Hair Transplant Techniques

Hair Density

There has been a lot of buzz lately, among our neighbours to the South, about a “new” hair transplant technique. The technique that is creating so much excitement in the hair restoration industry in the US is called the “FUE” technique. FUE is an acronym for Follicular Unit Extraction, and is sometimes also referred to as the FOX technique.

The interesting thing about FUE is that, although it is getting a lot of attention recently, it is actually a fairly old technique that has simply evolved.

FUE in the 60’s

FUE utilizes very small punches (1mm-1.5mm), in a diffuse manner, throughout the donor scalp and leaves no discernible scars. In the “old days”, punches were also utilized throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. Back then, however, the technique involved harvesting donor hair for transplant by using round punches that were 4 or 5 millimeters in diameter. The donor hair would be removed in “strips” with the punches to be transplanted to the balding areas of the scalp. Since the punches were quite large and created a large linear strip, this technique left very noticeable large scars.

Strip Harvest- 80’s

In the 1980’s, it was determined that a straight scalpel-induced strip harvest was a superior technique for extracting donor hair. A strip harvest (using scalpels) causes only one linear scar (at the back of the head), rather than a series of larger scars, and can be quite easily concealed if hair is not worn too short.

FUE’s Comeback

Within the last decade, FUE has been making a comeback in the industry because the technique is now being performed with much smaller punches, unusually ranging in diameter from 1.0 to 1.3 millimeters. Using these tiny punches, spaced out over the scalp, allows the extraction sites to heal rapidly (often in 1-2 days) and leaves little to no visible scarring.

Today’s improved FUE is a great technique for people who are in the early stages of hair loss and require a small amount of restoration to regain the density they want, especially if they prefer to wear their hair quite short.

FUE’s Limitations

FUE is not a good option for people who have reached stage 3 hair loss or beyond. FUE yields half the amount of donor hair as a strip harvest technique- an insufficient amount to restore density in people who are experiencing a moderate or large amount of hair loss. In such cases, with a bigger area needing to be covered, it would take approximately four separate FUE surgeries to regain an acceptable level of hair density. Therefore, it is better, faster and less expensive to use the strip harvest technique.

If you are experiencing hair loss and would like to know more about hair restoration techniques, schedule your FREE consultation with Larry today. You’ll be glad you did!

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