Follicular Unit Extraction or Excision (FUE)
For the millions of men and women who suffer from male and female pattern baldness, known medically as androgenetic alopecia, finding a solution to their thinning hair can have a direct influence on their self-esteem. With the social stigma attached to going bald, especially for those at a young age or for female patients, finding the most effective treatment for counteracting age-related hair loss can be imperative for an individual’s overall happiness.
At Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center, Dr. Bernardino Arocha and his expert staff are proud to offer all manner of hair loss treatments, including advanced procedures like follicular unit excision, formerly follicular unit extraction, or (FUE). Using the latest in hair restoration methods like FUE, Dr. Arocha can rebuild your hairline and your self-confidence.
Hair Transplants and Modern Hair Restoration
While much research has been completed investigating the cause and a cure for androgenetic alopecia, hair loss experts are still struggling to understand this all-too-common ailment. Based on recent advances, experts have pointed to the male androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) as the culprit for inducing the balding and thinning effects of genetic hair loss. DHT disrupts the natural growth cycle of hair follicles and gradually kills them off, causing hair production to advance at a slower rate until it ceases altogether. Once the follicle dies, the hair is gone for good.
Modern hair loss medications like Rogaine and Propecia focus on inhibiting the effects of DHT on the scalp to slow the process of hair loss and to reinvigorate aging follicles that have stopped growing hair but have not completely died. While these medicated products can be beneficial for patients interested in preventative measures, not every patient has the advantage of being able to plan ahead. For treating hair loss that has already spread throughout the scalp, hair transplantation surgery is the most advanced and effective means of restoration.
Minimize Scarring and Maximize Results with FUE
Two methods exist for modern hair transplants: follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit excision (FUE). Both options can successfully rebuild hairlines and restore hair to balding areas of the scalp, and both are offered to patients of Dr. Arocha. FUE in particular provides results that appear completely natural without overly noticeable or distracting scars. FUE also often results in a quicker recovery, making it the procedure of choice for many hair loss patients.
FUE is used as an alternative to the strip harvesting techniques of FUT. Because no scalp excision is necessary during FUE, patients who may not be candidates for FUT can benefit from this less invasive and equally effective procedure. Patients who need a smaller amount of grafts, experience tightness in their scalp, wear their hair short or have already depleted their donor sites from previous transplant procedures all make great candidates for FUE.
The FUE Procedure
FUE is completed under local anesthesia to ensure the procedure is painless and the patient is comfortable throughout the duration of their treatment. Once the patient has been numbed, Dr. Arocha begins extracting follicular units from the viable donor sites.
Men typically experience baldness along the top and front of the scalp, as follicles found in the back and sides of the scalp are more resistant to the harmful effects of DHT. For male patients, Dr. Arocha extracts hair follicles along these areas as their DHT-resistant properties will provide lasting results. Women tend to experience diffuse hair loss throughout the scalp and do not benefit from DHT-resistant sections of hair. Not every female patient is a candidate for FUE, and Dr. Arocha evaluates them on a case-by-case basis for the procedure.
Each follicular unit contains one to four strands of hair and is extracted individually from the donor sites using a handheld punch device. Once a sufficient number of follicular units has been harvested, Dr. Arocha will begin the transplantation portion of the procedure. The follicular units are implanted one at a time along the balding sections of the scalp. Dr. Arocha takes great care to place them in patterns that resemble and mimic the surrounding hair growth, making sure the transplanted hair appears natural and blends in seamlessly.
Once all of the grafts have been transplanted, the procedure is complete. The length of the surgery can vary greatly depending on how many units are needed to achieve the desired results, but most FUE procedures last between two and four hours.
Following FUE, the scalp will be swollen and sensitive. Patients return home the same day and may resume most normal activities within a few days. Common side effects include light bleeding, tenderness, mild pain, itching and swelling. The scalp will scab over in the harvest and transplant sites, and patients will need to be careful not to touch the scalp or remove the scabs as they heal. The newly-transplanted follicles are highly vulnerable during the first few weeks of recovery and can become dislodged due to excess friction or stress.
Because FUE does not require any incisions or utilize a strip harvesting method like FUT hair transplants, patients do not need stitches and recovery is generally quicker. Patients typically return to work within one week of their surgery, although side effects may still be visible for longer. Dr. Arocha provides detailed post-op instructions to all of his patients to help them maximize their recovery and receive optimal results.
Expected FUE Results
The newly-transplanted follicular units will shed their hair two or three weeks following FUE hair transplant surgery. The follicles will then enter a dormant period as they heal and settle into their new locations. New hair growth typically begins around three to five months following surgery, although it does not truly become apparent until around nine months have passed. Results will continue to improve for 12 to 18 months, with final results generally visible at least one year after the date of the procedure.
Once the final results have developed, patients can expect to enjoy their denser, thicker hair well into the future. For male patients, the transplanted follicles retain their inherent resiliency to the effects of androgenetic alopecia and will continue to grow thick and full, although the surrounding natural hair may not be immune to further hair loss. To maintain results, Dr. Arocha recommends a comprehensive hair restoration plan consisting of both transplants and medicated products and treatments to all of his patients. Each patient at Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center has access to the most advanced treatments, including new therapy modalities and low-level laser therapy.
Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center
FUE hair transplants provide truly transformative results for both your hairline and your self-confidence. If you, like many others, are concerned about your thinning and balding hair, then schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Arocha to learn more about follicular unit excision. Dr. Arocha will determine if you are a good candidate for this minimally invasive, highly effective procedure. Call Arocha Hair Restoration and Transplant Center today at 713-526-HAIR or 713-526-4247 to book your appointment.