For more than 10 years, FUT (or FUG) has been the treatment of choice for creating natural appearing hair transplants. With this technique a strip of hair is taken from the back of the scalp (donor area) and each graft is dissected individually by a team of assistants using microscopes. These hairs are then transplanted back into small incisions that are made in the balding areas. The donor area is stitched together and heals most commonly as a thin line scar of 2mm or less in width. The scar is usually not visible even when the hair is trimmed with a #3 razor.
Similar to the strip technique, FUE is done by placing follicular units into the balding areas of the scalp to achieve a natural appearing transplant. Follicular units are the natural groupings of hair that we have in our scalp and are typically made up of 1 to 4 hairs.
Unlike the strip technique, FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) does not involve making a strip incision to remove hair. Instead, the follicular unit grafts are taken out individually with small circular incisions (called a punch) that are 1mm or less in size. The donor area (back of scalp) needs to be shaved and the grafts are taken out in a scattered pattern throughout this area, leaving tiny dot like scars that are often undetectable.
The advantage of FUE is that you may be able to keep your hair shorter than the strip method since there is no line scar. The dot like scars can be visible with a shaved head. The FUE procedure is more time consuming and is therefore more expensive to perform.
The Procedure – FUE
Upon arriving to the office, each patient meets with Dr. Giuffrida in a private surgical room. Dr. Giuffrida explains the details of the procedure and marks the areas of the scalp that he plans to transplant. Once he has your approval, you are given a surgical gown and some medication by mouth to help relax. Dr. Giuffrida has selected surgical chairs that are specific for patient comfort during this procedure. Music and TV are also provided in each surgical room so that patients can listen to or watch their selection of choice during the procedure.
Hair from the donor area (back of the scalp), which is not susceptible to balding, is shaved completely. To start the procedure, each patient must by lying on the stomach. Once you are comfortable, a local anesthetic is administered by injection with a small, thin needle while an assistant massages your scalp. This is the only painful part of the procedure and this massage technique minimizes the discomfort.
The Donor Area
After anesthesia is given, the follicular unit grafts of hair are removed form the donor area. The follicular unit grafts are taken out individually with small circular incisions (called a punch) that are 1mm or less in size. The grafts are taken out in a scattered pattern throughout this donor area, leaving tiny dot like scars that are often undetectable. These areas are left to heal without stitches. This technique allows these follicular units, or natural hair groupings, of 1 to 4 hairs to be preserved intact and healthy.
Implanting the Hair
Small, slit like openings are then made into the recipient area, which is where the hairs are intended to be placed. The openings are made with a tiny, sharp instrument after local anesthesia. The hairs are then carefully placed into each opening to preserve the hairs without damage. Each hair unit is placed precisely and strategically so that the hair appears natural.
The entire procedure can take up to 8 to 10 hours depending on the number of hairs transplanted. Patients leave the office without bandages and are often given antibiotics and medicine to help with swelling at home. Patients cannot drive home after the procedure due to the mild sedative given. Mild pain medication is given to take home for any discomfort. Each patient has Dr. Giuffrida’s cell phone number to contact him with any questions. The following day, the patient returns to our office to have the hair shampooed and can resume most regular activities that day. Exercise and more strenuous activity can resume after 1 week.
View our pre op and post op forms
The transplanted hair typically starts to grow anywhere from 4 to 6 months with full growth by 1 year. A small percentage of patients have immediate growth. Some patients can experience a small loss of hair immediately after surgery but this hair regrows.