If you’ve been experiencing a thinning or balding head of hair in recent years and you’ve been looking for a suitable treatment, then you’ve likely come across FUE hair transplants. But you may be wondering, what is FUE hair transplant, and how does it work?

The good news is you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve put together a brief guide to everything you’ll want to know on the topic, including a few frequently asked questions, so that we can get the question answered once and for all and get you one step closer to restoring a great head of hair.

What is FUE Hair Transplant?

FUE—or Follicular Unit Extraction—is one of two predominant techniques for hair transplant treatment, along with FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant). It’s a minimally invasive treatment on the whole, especially when compared to FUT transplants.

By removing hairs one by one from a donor area on the scalp and implanting them into any thinning or balding areas, FUE treatment can effectively replace any lost hairs and restore your scalp to a full and healthy condition.

How Does it Work?

Unlike other treatments for hair loss, an FUE hair transplant is minimally invasive and fairly quick on the whole, significantly reducing the potential for complications or the need for any long stays afterward. Most undergoing the treatment are back to work the following day, and with no complications arising.

Unlike with the FUT strip method, FUE hair transplant treats the procedure on a hair by hair basis, meaning that each hair is extracted one by one as a whole unit, glands and all, and transplanted one at a time into the treatment area. While less invasive this way, it’s also much more intricate and can take a little longer in the short term, however—as previously mentioned—healing times are significantly reduced while success levels are significantly increased, making the procedure on the whole a much shorter one in the long term.

Since the hairs are taken from a donor site that’s unaffected by DHT (Dihydritestosterone, a sex hormone that contributes to hair loss), these newly implanted hairs won’t become victim to more hair loss over the years.

What are the Differences Between FUE and FUT?

FUE and FUT treatments are more or less similar for the most part, at least in theory. In practice, while FUE removes individual hairs and transplants them into the treatment area one by one, the FUT technique takes an entire strip of scalp, usually from the back of the head, and extracts groups of follicles from this strip.

Since an entire strip of scalp is removed from the head before being dissected into individual grafts, this means there’ll be a fairly noticeable scar left behind at the back of the head. There’s some degree of scarring with an FUE hair transplant too, however they’ll be so small (the size of a hair) that they won’t be noticeable.

There’s also a fair difference between the two when it comes to recovery times, as mentioned before. This is due to the fact that a whole strip of scalp will have been removed, so while FUE treatment will heal after around a week, FUT procedures can take several, as there’ll be a fair amount of bleeding and scarring that’ll need to heal.

Who’s the Ideal Candidate for FUE Hair Transplant Treatment?

It’s not always easy to know right away if an FUE hair transplant is the best treatment for you, so it’s best to consult with a specialist first before committing to the procedure.

If you are the ideal candidate for FUE hair transplant treatment, then you’ll need to have a good healthy amount of hair around the sides or the back of your scalp—this’ll be the source of the donor hairs used to fill out the treatment area. Other factors including the curliness of your hair, its colour, and texture will also be considered, as these can have an effect on the ultimate result of the treatment.

FUE FAQs

Is an FUE Hair Transplant a Painful Procedure?

While the injection of the anaesthetic will be mildly painful, there shouldn’t be any more pain or discomfort felt throughout the procedure.

Is there Much Swelling Following an FUE Hair Transplant?

There’ll be some degree of swelling to expect after your FUE hair transplant, although the severity will differ from patient to patient. Your surgeon will provide you with some medication to help with this, although it could still last for up to 3 weeks after your procedure. In some cases, bruising can even descend to the eyes; this is just gravity doing its thing, and nothing to worry about.

Are there any Age Restrictions?

While FUE hair transplant treatments don’t carry any strict age restrictions as such, most surgeons won’t recommend the treatment for anyone under 25 years of age, especially if it’s being caused by male or female pattern hair loss. Any hair loss experienced by someone of a younger age will likely only continue, and it’s difficult for surgeons to definitively know where further hair loss will occur, or to what extent. Therefore, without being able to confidently predict any hair they harvest for the treatment won’t fall out itself in a few years time, most surgeons won’t treat anyone under 25

Will My Results Look Natural?

The advancements in hair replacement treatments over the past decades have only lead to better and better results, to the point where you should expect nothing short of a truly natural look. As long as you choose a skilled and experienced surgeon for your FUE hair treatment, then there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t achieve a perfectly natural and normal looking full head of hair.

When Will I Start to See My Results?

You’ll usually start to see the results of your FUE hair transplant after around 9 months, although it can often take as many as 12 to appreciate the full results of your treatment.

What Will the Healing Process be Like?

Most describe the healing process after their FUE hair transplant as something of a dull ache around the back of their head and a tightness at the front. This should start to go away after about 48 hours, and you can take over the counter painkillers to help with any discomfort.

You’ll also notice your new hairs starting to shed. This is totally normal, and nothing to be concerned about. This tends to happen around 6 weeks after your treatment, and could be anything from all of your hairs or none of your hairs. After around 3 months your new hairs will start to grow through, and after 6 there should be enough to get a good idea of how dense your new hair will be. After around 12 months (although sometimes it can take a little longer) you should be enjoying the full results of your FUE hair transplant.

Is it True That Only Men can Get an FUE Hair Transplant?

Just because FUE hair transplants are popular with men doesn’t mean it’s exclusively for them. Female pattern hair loss is a thing too, and FUE treatment is more than suitable for women.