What Is FUE Hair Transplant?
As individuals age, the natural three-phase cycle of hair growth and regrowth tends to shorten until follicles eventually no longer grow hair. Some start to lose hair very young, whereas others may encounter balding much later in life. Hair transplants offer a solution to restore hair by implanting donor grafts that can still grow hair in balding areas. Over the years, various methods have emerged, and each evolution in hair transplant surgery aimed to improve the naturalness of results and minimize the drawbacks associated with earlier techniques. FUE, the most recent and widely adopted method, has become the standard of care for many patients seeking hair transplants due to its effectiveness and reduced visibility of scarring.
FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction is a specific method through which grafts are harvested individually from the donor area, typically the back and sides of the scalp, where hairs are resistant to falling out during the patient’s lifetime. Even though FUE defines only the extraction method, the general technique is referred to as FUE hair transplant since the other two stages (incision and implantation) do not vary much between different techniques.
What Does FUE Hair Transplant Mean?
A FUE hair transplant is different from the previous technique, also known as strip procedure or FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation), because in FUT, a strip of scalp is surgically removed from the donor area, and the follicular units are prepared outside the body. After the closure of the scalp, a linear scar will be present in the donor area. The follicular units are removed individually with FUE, so there isn’t an incision and a linear scar. Instead, many punctiform scars, smaller than 1mm in diameter, allow patients to use their hair short. It’s important to say that FUE isn’t a scar-free technique, only that there isn’t a linear scar, so shaving the head may reveal small white dots.
To understand the transplant process, it’s essential to define follicles or follicular units, often called grafts. These units are the essential transplanted components of hair follicles that naturally produce hair. A follicle is a group of one to four terminal hairs on the scalp containing sebaceous glands, nerves, vessels, and the erector pili muscle (responsible for creating goosebumps.) This is very important for the success of the transplant because this is the natural way that hair grows.
Hair transplants from this area are successful because the hair from the donor site is resistant to DHT (Dihydrotestosterone – a byproduct of testosterone). DHT is the primary cause of male pattern hair loss. When hair is transplanted from the back and sides to the hair loss area on the front or top of the scalp, the hair follicles maintain their original characteristics and will continue to grow.
How Does FUE Hair Transplant Work?
As previously mentioned, the FUE hair transplant comprises three stages: harvesting, incision, and implantation. Depending on the graft count, an FUE operation usually takes 6-8 hours. Each stage plays a crucial role in the overall success of the transplant and the naturalness of the final results. Additional factors contributing to a successful result are anterior hairline design, direction of implantation, use of appropriate follicular units in each location, etc.
A detailed medical history is essential to grasp the patient’s overall health, pre-existing conditions, and potential risks for the planned procedure. Subsequently, a comprehensive examination should be conducted, and the patient’s expectations should be discussed. Understanding the patient’s expectations is essential for building a solid doctor-patient relationship. It helps manage expectations and ensures that the patient’s goals align with what can realistically be achieved through the planned operation. Once a consensus is reached on the operation plan, the following steps can be taken.
The process begins with shaving both the donor and recipient regions. The donor site is then sterilized using a disinfectant such as alcohol or iodine. Local anesthetic medications, both short and long-acting, are injected into the donor site using needles to ensure prolonged numbness. A local anesthetic ointment or a jet gun (a needle-free instrument applying medication under the skin with high pressure) may be used before needle injections to minimize discomfort. Once complete numbness is achieved in the donor region, a tumescent solution is injected under the scalp to reduce bleeding during the operation and facilitate healthy graft extraction without breakage. Some surgeons may include adrenaline in the tumescent solution to further reduce bleeding and corticosteroid medications to mitigate post-operative swelling.
- The extraction phase in FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) hair transplant involves the technician extracting individual follicular units using a motorized micro punch. This technique eliminates the outdated “plug” look associated with older instruments. Unlike the older punches with a diameter of 0.5 cm or more, FUE punches are typically less than 1 mm in diameter, just enough to incise the skin around each follicular unit. This advancement has replaced the old technique, where each punch could remove 15 to 20 hairs together, resulting in the undesirable “doll hair” appearance that is now considered a thing of the past. The harvested grafts are collected using micro forceps with delicate tips to prevent tissue damage. Harvesting grafts in an FUE hair transplant proceeds rapidly and efficiently, minimizing the graft storage period and ensuring patient comfort. The extracted grafts are organized based on their hair count (single, double, triple, multiple, etc.) and aligned on surgical pads. They are temporarily stored in a cool, sterile solution until the implantation stage.
- The next crucial step is the incision stage. One of the most critical factors for a successful and natural hair transplant result is the recipient incisions (or channels). While various materials such as sapphire blades, sharp implanters, needles, or slits can be used for creating incisions, many surgeons prefer sapphire blades for their precision and durability. Sapphire FUE hair transplant involves opening incisions (or channels) in the recipient area explicitly using special sapphire blades to create delicate and precise cuts. This ultra-sharp blade prevents tissue damage and promotes faster healing with minimal scarring. If sharp implanters are used for implanting grafts, the technique would be DHI (Direct Hair Implantation).
Incisions should be made in varying lengths and thicknesses based on the features of the extracted hair. Each incision’s angle, depth, and spacing are critical determinants of how the transplanted hair will grow. The channels should be opened in the same direction as the natural growth direction; typically, on the frontal region, the incisions are made at an angle of 30-35 degrees. As the procedure progresses towards the crown, the angle of the incisions gradually increases. In the crown area, incisions are artfully performed in a whirl shape, reflecting a meticulous approach to achieving a natural hair growth pattern. Incision depth is another critical consideration. Depending on the shape of the grafts, the required depth can change. Someone with a curlier graft may require a shallower incision to host the follicular unit, while a thinner and longer graft will require more depth.
In addition to the considerations mentioned above, it is essential to emphasize the importance of adequate bleeding control during the incision stage of a hair transplant procedure. Adequate bleeding control contributes to the procedure’s safety and provides a more apparent surgical field, allowing for precise and controlled incisions. Simultaneously, while focusing on bleeding control, it is imperative to open channels to avoid any disruption or damage to the blood circulation in the recipient area. This is vital for maintaining the integrity of the recipient area and promoting optimal conditions for successful graft placement.
Following the completion of the incision phase in a hair transplant procedure, the extracted grafts are meticulously implanted in the same order as they were initially removed. The implantation process involves carefully inserting hair follicles into the premade channels, utilizing specialized forceps. The distribution of ultra-micro-grafts should be carefully managed for an aesthetically pleasing and natural-looking hairline. Single-hair grafts are preferably placed on the front edge, while grafts containing more than two hairs are strategically positioned in the middle and toward the back. This thoughtful placement ensures a harmonious and natural distribution of hair, enhancing the overall outcome of the hair transplant procedure.
Additionally, careful attention should be given to placing the surface of the grafts slightly higher than the surrounding skin in the transplant area. After the completion of graft implantation, final checks are conducted to ensure proper placement and overall satisfaction with the distribution. After cleaning the recipient and donor areas with sterile saline spray, the donor region is covered with a medical dressing, whereas the recipient area is left open. Now, the patient is ready to be brought back to the hotel or home for rest after giving the first-day instructions.
What Is DHI Hair Transplant?
Hair transplant surgery is pretty simple when you look at the fundamentals of how it is performed. A qualified technician will use a small punch to incise a follicular unit. They will then be removed delicately with forceps and placed into a stable holding solution until they are ready for implantation. The surgeon will then place the grafts back into the scalp where hair loss has occurred in one of two ways. During a Sapphire FUE procedure, incisions are made into the scalp using a Sapphire blade, and then the follicular units are placed into these incisions utilizing small forceps.
The alternative method for placing grafts into the scalp involves using a surgical device known as an “implanter” or “inserter.” Implanters are tools for loading grafts, and a plunger is used to insert the graft into the skin. Unlike other methods, this approach does not require pre-existing incisions on the scalp. The implanter not only creates recipient incisions but also simultaneously places the grafts. Except for channel creation, the rest of the operational procedures are the same as in the FUE technique. Direct Hair Implantation (DHI) is another name for the implantation technique using implanters.
It’s evident that attention to detail in each stage, from donor site preparation to implantation, contributes to the success of the FUE hair transplant, providing patients with a natural and aesthetically pleasing outcome.
FUE Hair Transplant Before and After
What to Do Before Hair Transplant?
Before undergoing a hair transplant procedure, following instructions carefully to ensure optimal results and minimize risks is crucial. One week before the operation, patients are advised to inform the medical team about their medications, cease using topical hair treatments, discontinue minoxidil 5%, abstain from alcohol, and quit smoking or using nicotine products. To mitigate the risk of bleeding and optimize graft adherence, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, blood-thinning medications (after consulting with the patient’s physician), ibuprofen, herbal supplements, and multivitamins should be ceased at least 72 hours before the procedure.
Additionally, those with scalp conditions such as pimple-like lesions or scaling should consult their medical consultant for potential antibiotic treatment before the procedure. Following these guidelines is essential for a successful hair transplant, and any uncertainties should be promptly addressed with the medical consultant. Recognizing the impact of various factors on the duration of the FUE hair transplant, including the number of grafts, preferred technique, bleeding, and underlying diseases, further emphasizes the importance of strict compliance with pre-operative instructions.
After FUE Hair Transplant Process
After the transplant procedure is completed, the recovery period begins. Proper care and attention during this recovery period significantly impact hair growth. The patient should visit the clinic for control and first hair wash on the day after the transplant. During this visit, the patient received important instructions regarding hair washing in the following days. Following specific washing directions for the first ten days is crucial, as it helps grafts firmly attach to the transplant area. The most critical point during the hair wash is not to use nails, scratch the skin, or attempt to remove the scabs.
After a hair transplant, patients can expect scabs around the transplanted hair follicles for a period ranging from a few days to 10 days. Scabs may turn white due to becoming waterlogged, and patients are advised not to remove them during the initial ten days. On the 11th day, patients are instructed to wash the transplant area and remove the scabs. In case of unremovable scabs, contacting the medical team is recommended. It’s important to note that when these scabs fall off, the upper parts of implanted grafts will also shed, which is a normal part of the process. The roots underneath are alive and healthy; new and permanent hair growth will be initiated after this process. The donor area typically heals rapidly, with extraction spots recovering in a few days and remaining hairs on the donor regions growing within a month. Complete healing, including nerve and blood vessel recovery, may take up to six months.
Around 2-8 weeks post-procedure, the transplanted hair may undergo shedding, known as transient shock loss of transplanted grafts, a common phenomenon. After a month, the scalp may resemble its pre-procedure state. Hair that has fallen out is expected to regrow out of well-anchored follicles between the 3rd and 4th months, initially appearing weak and thin with different textures. Subsequent months will witness thicker and longer hair growth, usually 1cm per month, gradually returning to normal hair texture.
Considerable new growth is anticipated between 6-9 months, with hair reaching approximately two to three inches long and the hair shaft thickening. The final aesthetic result is typically achieved between 12-18 months post-surgery, marking the completion of the visible improvement. Maintaining communication and providing photos when requested facilitate the medical team’s close monitoring of the patient’s hair growth progress throughout this process.
What to Do After Hair Transplant?
Post-operative instructions for hair transplant patients include several essential guidelines. Firstly, it is advised to abstain from alcohol consumption for a week after the treatment due to its potential to thin the blood and cause bleeding. Patients should wear a button-down or zip-up shirt for the first seven days to avoid dislodging new grafts. When going out, a medical hat should be worn for 10-14 days, ensuring it does not touch the transplant area. The hat should not be worn in closed areas to promote faster healing.
Returning to work the day after the procedure is possible for desk jobs, but for more physically demanding work, it’s recommended to rest for seven days. Post-procedure instructions involve avoiding exercise, sports, and heavy activities for two weeks to prevent swelling, bleeding, and graft loss. Special care should be taken when picking up objects and tying shoes during this period. Mild activities may be resumed after two weeks, with activities like heavy lifting avoided for another two weeks.
High-risk infection areas, such as public baths and saunas, should be avoided. Swimming is discouraged for the initial two weeks. Sun exposure should be minimized, especially in the first three months after the operation. If the recipient area lacks hair, sunscreen (SPF 30+) can be applied two weeks after the procedure. Alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited for the first seven days, as it may interfere with prescribed pain medication and antibiotics. Smoking is strongly discouraged, with a recommendation to discontinue smoking for at least seven days post-surgery.
Limiting all hair care products is advised until the scabs and crusts have completely healed and disappeared. Once the scabs and crusts are gone, it is safe to get a haircut. Hair coloring should be addressed three days before the surgery. If not done before the procedure, it is advised to wait for at least four weeks after surgery before dyeing hair. Following these instructions is essential for optimal recovery and the success of the hair transplant procedure.
What to Expect After Hair Transplant?
After a hair transplant, patients can anticipate several common post-operative incidences.
Shock loss, affecting 10-20% of individuals, results in temporary shedding of non-transplanted hair around recipient incisions or the donor area. This typically begins within the initial three months, with regrowth occurring in 3-4 months. Itching in the transplant or donor area is typical and often attributed to factors like dryness or new hairs growing in. Transplanted hairs may not grow uniformly in the first six months, and it should be noted that the crown region may show delayed growth compared to the front and middle regions.
Numbness at the donor and graft sites is a common consequence of cutting tiny nerve endings while harvesting donor grafts and creating recipient sites. This numbness usually starts resolving within a few months, although some patients may experience small areas that remain numb for up to a year. Additionally, taking vitamin B12 may not alleviate uncomfortable sensations.
During the initial weeks after a hair transplant, shedding may occur with a visible crust at the top and a bulb at the bottom. It’s crucial to understand that the bulb is not the root, which is the growth part of the hair follicle. Shedding the hair, bulb, and associated crust is a normal part of the process and does not indicate a lost graft. Following this phase, healthy and permanent hair growth is expected to grow.
Ingrown hairs, appearing as pimple-like lesions, can occur in the first few months post-transplant as new hair grows through the surface. Treatment involves applying a warm, moist cloth to the area. However, if redness, swelling, tenderness, or inflammation occurs, consulting a professional is recommended, as it may indicate folliculitis and require antibiotics.
Infrequently, the transplanted hair has some textural change. It may become curlier than it was or even somewhat wiry; often, the luster of the hair is also diminished if this altered texture occurs. This phenomenon is temporary and resolves with the regular growth cycles of the hair, often in 12 to 18 months.
Is FUE Hair Transplant Worth It In Turkey?
How Successful Is FUE Hair Transplant?
Turkey has emerged as a leading destination for hair transplants, driven by several key factors. Foremost among these is the significantly more affordable cost of procedures, making it an appealing choice for those seeking cost-effective solutions. The country’s reputation is further solidified by the presence of experienced and skilled surgeons who have gained international recognition for their expertise.
In addition to cost considerations and skilled professionals, Turkey has strategically invested in modern healthcare facilities and technology, ensuring patients receive high-quality medical care during Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) procedures. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, these facilities quickly integrate advanced techniques to stay at the forefront of medical advancements.
Turkey’s geographic accessibility enhances its appeal as a medical tourism destination, attracting individuals from various parts of the world. Positive word of mouth from individuals who have undergone successful hair transplants in Turkey contributes significantly to the country’s reputation. Many clinics in Turkey adhere to international standards and regulations, providing credibility to the growing medical tourism industry.
The rise of medical tourism in Turkey has further accelerated the adoption of new medical methods, driven by the need to attract international patients. Turkish healthcare facilities often invest in the latest technologies and offer cutting-edge medical treatments to meet the expectations of a global patient base.
In summary, Turkey’s prominence in medical treatments, including hair transplants, is characterized by cost-effectiveness, skilled professionals, modern facilities, and a proactive approach to medical tourism.
FAQS About FUE Hair Transplant
How much is FUE hair transplant?
The cost of FUE hair transplant varies depending on various factors such as the clinic, location, and the extent of hair loss. Generally, the cost ranges from $2,500 to $3,500.
How much does FUE hair transplant cost?
The FUE hair transplant cost depends on several factors, including the clinic’s location, the surgeon’s experience, and the number of grafts needed. On average, it can range from $2,500 to $3,500.
How long does FUE hair transplant last?
FUE hair transplant results are usually long-lasting. The transplanted hair generally takes root and continues to grow like normal hair. However, it’s important to note that natural aging can still cause thinning or hair loss in non-transplanted areas.
How long does FUE hair transplant take?
The duration of an FUE hair transplant procedure can vary depending on the number of grafts required. Typically, a session can take several hours, ranging from 4 to 8 hours.
How to sleep after FUE hair transplant?
It is recommended to sleep with your head elevated on a pillow for the first few nights after an FUE hair transplant. This helps reduce swelling and discomfort. Avoid sleeping on the transplanted area to prevent any damage or displacement of the grafts.
How painful is FUE hair transplant?
FUE hair transplant is generally not very painful. Local anesthesia is used during the procedure, so you should not experience significant discomfort during the surgery. However, some mild soreness or discomfort may be felt in the following days, which can be managed with pain medication prescribed by your doctor.
Which is better FUE or FUT hair transplant?
The choice between FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) depends on individual needs and preferences. FUE involves extracting individual hair follicles one by one, while FUT involves removing a strip of scalp containing multiple follicles. FUE leaves minimal scarring and allows for a shorter recovery time, while FUT can provide higher graft yield in a single session.
Where to get FUE hair transplant?
Qualified hair transplant surgeons in specialized clinics or medical centers commonly perform FUE hair transplant procedures. Researching and choosing a reputable and experienced surgeon specializing in hair transplants is important.
Is FUE hair transplant painful?
FUE hair transplant typically involves minimal pain or discomfort during the procedure. Local anesthesia numbs the scalp, making the surgery relatively painless. Some mild soreness or discomfort may be experienced in the days following the procedure, but it can be managed with prescribed pain medication.
Is FUE hair transplant permanent?
FUE hair transplant results are generally considered to be permanent. The transplanted hair follicles are typically taken from areas resistant to balding, so genetic hair loss does not affect them. However, it’s important to remember that natural aging can still result in thinning or hair loss in non-transplanted areas.
Is FUE hair transplant worth it?
Whether FUE hair transplant is worth it depends on individual circumstances and goals. It can be suitable for those experiencing hair loss and seeking natural-looking results. However, it is essential to have realistic expectations and consult a qualified surgeon to determine if it is the right solution.
Can FUE hair transplant fail?
FUE hair transplant procedures generally have a high success rate, but like any surgical procedure, there can be risks and potential complications. Factors such as poor healing, improper aftercare, or individual characteristics may contribute to the failure of the transplant. Consulting with an experienced surgeon and following post-operative instructions can minimize the risk of failure.
FUE vs DHI which is better?
The choice between FUE and DHI for a hair transplant depends on various factors, including the individual’s unique needs, the surgeon’s expertise, precision, and cost. Both techniques can have high graft survival rates. However, DHI may allow for more precise placement of the hair follicles, resulting in a more natural-looking hairline. Recovery time is generally similar, although DHI may have a slightly faster recovery period due to the absence of recipient area incisions. It is important to consult with a hair transplant specialist who can evaluate your condition and provide personalized advice.
FUE vs FUT hair transplant which is better?
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) are popular hair transplant methods, but their choice depends on individual factors. FUE involves extracting individual hair follicles, resulting in minimal scarring and faster recovery time, while FUT involves removing a strip of scalp for transplantation but can yield higher graft numbers. Ultimately, the best method will depend on the patient’s needs, donor area, and the surgeon’s expertise.