FUE Hair Transplant | Procedure, Recovery, Cost, and Considerations

The hair restoration community is buzzing about a procedure known as Follicular Unit Excision or FUE. This hair transplant method has several key advantages over FUT “strip surgery” — the most established procedure for many years.

FUE has not been in the spotlight for very long, but it has made waves in the world of hair restoration, attracting the interest of many doctors and clients. 

What does FUE involve, what makes it different from FUT, and what should you know about recovery, cost, and other considerations?

Let this be your complete reference to FUE surgery, where all these questions will be answered in full. If you are interested in seeking FUE or simply curious about the process, read on to find out more.

The FUE Procedure

While FUE is by every measure a complete hair transplant procedure, the real innovation takes place in the extraction, where hair is harvested from the donor area.

Using a special surgical instrument, the surgeon will remove individual follicle units from the area, typically the back of the head near the neck, selecting the strongest and healthiest follicle units that will serve as quality grafts for the recipient area.

These harvested hairs are prepared under a high-powered stereomicroscope by medical technicians who are trained as a team to support the surgeon and facilitate the process.

Since the quality of these donor follicles is crucial to the success of the surgery overall, technicians examine and process each unit to ensure the best, long-lasting results.

When the follicles are approved and prepared, the surgeon will then make a series of small incisions to the recipient area previously designated by the client and the doctor during the consultation.

Advantages of FUE

FUE is often compared to FUT strip surgery, which is the more widely practiced hair transplant method today. While the majority of patients will opt for FUT surgery, FUE has a few key advantages to consider.

Firstly, FUE is far less invasive than traditional strip surgery, dramatically reducing the amount of scarring to the donor area on the back of the head.

While FUT requires a long, horizontal strip of skin to be removed from this area, FUE uses precise instruments – between .7 and .9 mm – to pinpoint and extract the best follicles from a much wider surface area of skin.

For patients who want to keep the back of their head shaved for personal or professional reasons, FUE offers an edge over FUT surgery, which tends to result in noticeable scarring.

The smaller, pin-prick marks left by FUE techniques are barely detectable, even from a close distance. There is also less aftercare required during the recovery process for the small and fast-healing incisions left by FUE surgery.

FUE is also ideal for “touch-up” procedures that involve fewer grafts than a full FUT strip surgery. 

Many clients have undergone a long FUT session, then returned years later to have FUE performed, filling in any hair that may have been lost in the meantime.

Is FUE Right for You?

To determine if a client is a good candidate for FUE, surgeons will look at factors like hair loss history, age, scalp elasticity, hair type, skin tone, and many other factors before reaching a decision.

However, clients who are eager to pursue FUE should keep a few things in mind before bringing up the topic with a hair restoration specialist.

The main critique of FUE is the lower yield of hair harvested from the donor area compared to FUT. For clients that want large quantities of hair transplanted – also known as mega sessions – surgeons will say that FUT is the best method.

There may also be a slightly higher transection rate with FUE, meaning that some follicles from the donor area may be damaged or not properly take root in the recipient area. FUT follicles tend to be stronger, with lower rates of transection and longer-lasting results.

Of course, the technical skill and artistic abilities of the surgeon and the technician team will come into play when undergoing FUE, and results can vary drastically depending on these critical factors. 

With that said, do your research and always opt for quality!

Surgery and Recovery

If the concept of FUE sounds intriguing, you might want to know what the actual procedure entails from the client’s perspective and what to expect in the recovery process as well.

The Day of FUE Surgery

A client undergoing FUE surgery will be in and out of the clinic in one day – anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the length of the procedure.

At top-tier clinics, the process is simple and stress-free. The client will enter the clinic, finalize the plan with the surgeon and the team, and make themselves comfortable in a chair where they can enjoy music, watch TV, or just relax.

Local anesthetics will be administered to the donor and recipient area, and the surgeon will then begin extracting follicles while the team prepares them for implantation.

For the client, pain is minimal – most report only a minor pulling sensation on the back of the neck as units are harvested. As the surgeon begins to graft new hair into the recipient area, a similar sensation of pressure or tingling may occur.

FUE is a technical procedure, but for the client, the experience is smooth and easy. Clients can take breaks, walk around, have snacks, and speak with the surgeon.

The procedure is over before you know it, and you can make your way home for a full recovery.

Recover the Right Way

No matter the extent or scope of your FUE procedure, it is vitally important that you follow the instructions given to you by your doctor for recovery.

Not only will your scalp and hairline be extremely sensitive at this time, but there may also be some minor discomfort in the donor area as well.

For the first week of recovery, clients are told to stay put at home in a low-stress environment. Neither the donor nor recipient areas should be touched, scratched, picked at, or irritated in any way, even if the urge is strong.

Aftercare protocols must also be followed, whether that includes medications (oral or topical), special shampoos, cleaning regimens, lifestyle recommendations, or anything else.

After two weeks, most of the head will have healed, and clients can begin returning to activities, like exercise and physical hobbies.

While some doctor orders will be strict rules, others will be loose guidelines. Be sure to clarify these things with your doctor and clinic if you must, and stick with the protocol to maximize results.  

Follow-Ups and Future Plans

You may have a follow-up appointment with your doctor or medical technician the day after surgery.

In this meeting, you will go over your recovery and aftercare experience so far, asking any questions and giving feedback from your perspective.

New hair will not be visible at this point, and grafts may fall out before returning – this is perfectly normal. After about a full year of recovery, your new hair will return in full, and you will have a final meeting with your doctor to review the entire experience.

What is FUE?

What is FUE?

Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) hair transplant surgery is a popular technique used to ensure only minimal scarring the size of tiny pin pricks occur.

During an FUE Hair Transplant procedure, the follicular units are harvested (removed) from the back of your scalp by your surgeon, using a surgical tool the diameter of .7 to .9 mm. The cylindrical surgical instrument is selected based on the size of the hair follicles. 

FUE vs FUT diagram: Notice how FUE (left) makes use of small round donor sites compared to FUT’s method of one long strip (right).

Because the hairs are removed individually, an FUE hair transplant procedure will not leave a linear scar on the back of the scalp as with FUT surgery. Instead the scars are individual scars the size of a pin prick scattered throughout the back of the scalp, that are difficult to detect, even when looking from a close distance.

The FUE technique can be used for hair transplants, hairline loweringeyebrow transplantsbeard transplants, and scar revisions. If you prefer to wear your hair extremely short, you may consider the FUE harvesting method over the FUT harvesting method to avoid the noticeable linear scar.

This patient of Jae Pak, M.D. received over 2500 grafts. Patient Story

Once the hairs have been harvested, our highly trained medical technicians prepare the donor follicles under a high power stereo microscope. The use of a stereo microscope allows our surgical team to examine each follicle to ensure it is of the best quality for transplantation. At Jae Pak MD Medical, we use the most innovative technology to ensure our patients have the best results. 

Why FUE?

If you want the option to wear your hair very short in the back of the scalp, FUE is the best hair transplant harvesting method.  Two advantages for selecting the FUE harvesting method include the minimal after care and that the scarring consists of only small pin prick size marks.

Before and After Hair Transplant results for patient Frederic Marq (Interior Designer and Real Housewives of Miami Star)

Does the FUE procedure produce the best outcome?

This patient of Jae Pak M.D. had significant recession along the corners of the hairline. An FUE Hair Transplant surgery helped fill those areas.

The implantation of the hair follicle is the same for FUE, Long Hair FUE and FUT(STRIP) harvesting methods and all are reliable methods. The technical skill of the surgeon relates to how the hairs are removed from the donor area (harvested). The artistic skill of the surgeon relates to how the hairs are placed (implanted) in the recipient area.  These two factors determine your final result. 

FUE is a harvesting, or removal technique. Your final results will depend on how the hairs are placed or implanted more than how the hairs are taken out. The surgeon’s skill level and artistic ability will factor into how good and natural the results of the hair transplant will look. The placing or implantation of the hair follicle is the same for both FUE and FUT (STRIP) harvesting. The doctor will individually plan and create sites in which each hair follicle will be placed in the correct direction and angle, and the hair grafts are distributed properly. This is very meticulous work and why it is so important to choose an experienced doctor with both technical and artistic abilities.

Pictured is an actual FUE patient of Jae Pak, M.D. after 1 year. He had a drastic recession of his hairline, but FUE was able to help fill in his hairline while keeping his hair short.

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Schedule a Consultation for an FUE Hair Transplant with Jae Pak, M.D.

If I choose to have a second procedure, does my hair transplant have to be the same type of procedure, whether it be FUT or FUE?

You do not have to choose the same type of procedure for your second surgery. Your doctor will help you determine which procedure will help you best meet your goals. Should you choose to have a second FUT procedure, Dr. Pak can remove your old scar while removing the strip of hair follicles, so you are left with only one new scar.

Actual Hair Transplant Patient of Jae Pak, M.D.

How do the surgeons’ techniques and experience impact the success of the procedure?

Experience, techniques, tools used, and quality control all affect the outcome of a procedure. Dr. Pak uses manual instruments for his FUE and FUT extractions, which produces minimal hair damage and good extraction rates. Less experienced doctors produce considerable hair damage in the grafts.

In this video, Dr. Pak works with this patient to define his hairline.

Dr. Pak’s extraction rates often vary in excess of 1000 grafts per hour. during an FUE procedure. However, many factors can affect the speed at which he is able to remove hair follicles. His focus is on quality, not speed, to ensure the least amount of transection occurs. Surgeons can range from a rate of 100 grafts-1000 grafts per hour. This is usually determined by their years of experience and technical abilities.

Before and After FUE Hair Transplant
Actual FUE Patient of Jae Pak, M.D.

How do doctors become qualified in performing FUE?

There is no certification for FUE harvesting. Few doctors have been trained in performing FUE because training is not generally available. Jae Pak, M.D. is one of the pioneers of FUE, including being one of the inventors of the technology used for the ARTAS robot. He has found though that using his artistry and technical skills to manually extract the hair follicles creates better results than the use of the robot.

Dr. Pak has 15 years of full time experience performing FUE, Long Hair FUE and FUT hair transplant procedures.

Jae Pak, M.D. performing surgery with his Medical Staff assisting him.

Who will be performing my FUE surgery?

At Jae Pak MD Medical,  your surgeon will be harvesting the FUE grafts and creating the sites for the grafts to be implanted. Experienced, well trained, full time medical technicians will prepare the grafts under special microscopes and implant the grafts based on the incision sites Dr. Pak creates. 

You should always ask your surgeon about their experience and who will be performing which aspects of your surgery.

Patient Story

FUE Hairline and Beard Transplant Results

This actor received an FUE Hair transplant to fill in his receding hairline and beard.

Find out if Hair Restoration is right for you.

Speak with Jae Pak, M.D. today!