Hair grows in natural groups of 1 to 4 hairs, with an average of 2.2 hairs per group (the avg. depend on the ethnic group and on other factors), and these groups are called Follicular Units. Each Follicular Unit also contains sebaceous (oil) glands, nerves, a small muscle and occasional fine vellus hairs. It is a self-contained unit.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a technique that involves extraction of the follicular units from a patient’s donor area, usually the back or side of the head, using a small surgical instrument.
With the strip harvesting technique, the donor follicular units to be transplanted are removed along with the skin strip from the donor area. They are then harvested using stereoscopic microscopes to ensure that the follicular units remain intact in their original form and to prevent damage to individual hair follicles. The strip technique offers lower follicular damage and lower wounding in the donor area, and thereby reducing the total scarring produced. It also enables a patient to get much larger number of grafts to the balding areas during a given surgical session.
Since the follicular unit is a distinct anatomic and physiologic entity, preserving it during the graft dissection is essential to maximize growth. Therefore stereo-microscopes are used for dissecting the follicular units with great care and they are preserved in a special solution at a cold temperature until the surgeon is ready to insert the grafts to the recipient sites on the patient’s scalp.
In the FUE Technique, the surgeon extracts the follicular units from the scalp without cutting any strip, but only a very small round piece of tissue, about 0.9mm, which contains the hair follicle inside.
Advantages of using the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique:
- No need of using stitches or staplers
- Less post operation limitations
- No linear scar
- Better technique for extracting body hair
- Skin elasticity of the donor zone does not play a factor for getting the required grafts number
Advantages with the Strip harvesting technique:
- The donor follicular units to be transplanted are removed as one group from the donor area. This ensures that the follicular units remain intact in their original form and prevents damage to individual hair follicles.
- The Strip technique offers lower follicular damage
- Lower wounding in the donor area, and thereby reducing the total scarring produced.
- Enables a patient to get much larger number of grafts to the balding areas during a given surgical session
- Faster procedure and therefore less expensive
- Under Dr. Alba Reyes supervision, her team of experienced techniques is dissecting the follicular units from the donor strip using Stereoscopic -microscopes that guaranty much better care, avoiding any trauma on the follicular units and therefore in most cases the hair quality of such technique will look better.
- Less idle time for the patient by getting in only one procedure the hair quantity that with the alternative of the FUE technique may need 2-10 extra procedures (extra days of been out from work).
- Less expensive procedure