Types of FUE
Aug, 6 2021 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Thinking of a hair transplant? Here's the types of FUE methods you should know about
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a very successful, convenient, and advanced technique to get your lost hair back or fill up bald spots on your scalp. It is a modern and minimally invasive procedure with a quick recovery time. FUE involves taking individual follicles from the scalp or other parts of the body like the chest or the back, and moving them to parts of the body like the scalp or beard area to fill up bald or thinning spots.
Within FUE, there are mainly four types or methods of performing the surgery. Here’s the types, and everything you should know about them, so that you are able to make an informed choice:
Using this method, the surgeon will use small, handheld tools or “punch” to gently and carefully cut around each graft. This is the original FUE technique wherein the doctor will administer local anaesthesia, isolate the grafts with a manual punch, and then extract them using micro-clips. The surgeon will then make micro-incisions in the balding or the bald areas with a very fine needle or a micro scalpel and place the grafts in these incisions.
It is a gentle and controlled way of performing FUE, wherein the doctor’s expertise is required. However, very few clinics today perform manual FUE. The biggest advantage of manual FUE is that the doctor can control each incision with regards to how deep it should be, how much force should be used and how the cut should be. It also helps the doctor adjust these things depending on how the grafts react during the procedure. Unlike robotic FUE, it helps the doctor make minute adjustments to the technique during the surgery.
In motorised hair transplant, much like manual transplants, follicular units are collected using sharp or non-sharp stapling. But the “punch” is attached to a small motor. This allows the surgeon to perform scalp puncture and graft separation much faster. This means that they can harvest a large number of grafts in a shorter period of time.
There are various types of motors available for these kinds of procedures. Some motors have simple controls for speed and oscillation, while others come with computer interfaces which help in personalising the procedure for individual patients. There are also some hybrid ones which allow adjustments for individual patients without the computer interface.
The biggest advantage of this method is that it reduces human error and the time needed for the transplant. However, it may cause more friction and tension in the grafts as compared to manual FUE
As the name suggests, in this method, the surgeon uses a robotic arm to assist in the procedure. It helps the surgeon in the excision process and can also scan the patient’s scalp to identify the best areas for extraction which will provide the best possible results. This is an advancement from the manual method which relies on the surgeon to find the best extraction areas. In this method as well, the actual extraction is done using forceps.
For a robotic transplant as well, the skill of the surgeon is of utmost importance, they should be adept in placing the grafts after the extraction as well as in monitoring the whole excision process and make adjustments as and when needed. The results of a robotic transplant as well, despite it being a very advanced technique, are still reliant on the surgeon’s experience and skill, who will be in control of the whole procedure.
The biggest advantage of this type of method is that it is time -efficient, reduces the number of sittings a patient might need for a transplant, and it ensures a skillful identification of the angle, distribution, and orientation of grafts for optimum results. It also reduces the rate of graft damage.
The first thing to know about this type of hair transplant is that it is not actually automatic. This means that it doesn’t completely rely on a robot or a machine for hair transplant as the name may suggest. Automated FUE involves the extraction of grafts using air or wet suction. This means that a series of tubes filled with solution are used to suck the excised grafts from the scalp and transported to storage containers. For automated FUE as well, the surgeon’s expertise and a nuanced understanding of the procedure is of utmost importance, so that they are able to handle the grafts in the best possible manner.
Now that we have spoken about the various types of FUE methods available, the obvious next question is which one is the best and most suited for you. There is no definitive answer for that. It depends on your individual needs and the surgeon you are able to find. Any patient keen on FUE transplant should do thorough research and first identify an experienced surgeon with significant experience and good reviews. Always look for a specialist, who can tell you what kind of procedure works best for your case.
Each of these methods have their unique advantages and disadvantages, but each one of them is capable of delivering very good results if your doctor is able to pick the best method for you and for them. It is also important to understand that every doctor will be adept at a certain method of transplant, and it is their individual expertise with a particular type of FUE that will help deliver the best results.