Sapphire FUE is less of a follicular unit method and more of a description of a particular FUE tool. It markets well, just because “sapphire” sounds special and intriguing. The very name leads one to images of someone hand-selecting sapphires from a mystical cave of gemstones and crafting them into a near-mythical tool. Some clinics are all-too-willing to lean into that type of imagery to make it easier to sell their hair restoration solution. The reality of sapphire FUE is considerably less exciting than the claims would have you believe. 

How are sapphire FUE harvesting tools created?

Sapphire FUE simply uses a FUE harvesting tool made from sapphire stones instead of traditional steel-cut blades, needles, or spear tips. 

The sapphire is actually lab-created synthetic sapphire instead of natural ones, as natural ones are far too malleable to create reliable blades.

Sapphire blades are known for their durability and sharpness, and so these tools can provide very nice results.

Regardless of the blade used, the method of harvesting follicular units remains the same. The doctor must still angle the tool and harvest the follicular unit correctly. There’s nothing wrong with this tool, but a tool is all that it is.

Claims About Sapphire FUE

The claims about sapphire FUE include the following:

  1. The blade creates micro-channels due to its sharpness, reducing trauma, swelling, and bleeding.
  2. Sapphire blades require hair transplant surgeons to inject less tumescence. Tumescence is a saline solution to gently inflate the upper layer of the skin to allow cuts to get a higher incision density. 
  3. The blade allows sites to be made in closer proximity to each other, improving density.
  4. The sharp blade improves proper depth management.
  5. Sapphire FUE eliminates irregularities in wounds.
  6. Sapphire FUE minimizes trauma to the follicles themselves.
  7. Sapphire blades have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. 

Many of these claims are a little misleading when addressed with some nuance. 

Is Sapphire FUE bad?

Not at all. It’s a tool of choice that comes down to clinical preference, just like other FUE tools do. However, the false marketing must be addressed with honesty. Many clinics unethically represent the capability of these tools. 

We see many clients who have been romanced by the marketing, and who ask for this technique specifically. We felt it was necessary to set the record straight. 

Sapphire blades can even be a very good thing when the client is allergic to nickel, steel, or other metals, though this doesn’t come up very often. If you are aware of a metal allergy that could complicate your surgery, please speak to our team. 

In reality, Sapphire FUE is just FUE. It’s neither especially good nor especially bad. It’s the same procedure.


The blade does create microchannels and is both harder and sharper than steel.

However, the trauma is arguably greater, as sapphire blades are nearly twice the thickness of steel cut blades.

If the sapphire blade was the same size as a regular blade, it would make the same wound, cutting the same tissue and the same blood vessels.

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Prior to FUE clinicians inject a saline solution into the scalp. This solution is known as tumescence, and there’s nothing particularly special or harmful about it.

Injecting tumescence is a precaution taken to improve the density of the cuts. Clinicians don’t inject an unreasonable amount to begin with.

Clinicians will not simply avoid using normal precautions because we chose a tool with a different blade.

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Depth Management

Sapphire FUE doesn’t improve depth management one way or the other. A human controls the tool.

It will go as deep or as shallow as the clinician makes it go, regardless of whether they use a steel blade, a sapphire blade, or a ball-point pen. Obviously no surgeon would use a pen, but the point remains the same.

Depth management is about skill, not blades.

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It’s true that sapphire is very hard and the blades are very sharp.

It is true that sharpness can improve precision. Irregularities do begin to form as blades dull.

But steel is sufficiently sharp to harvest hair follicles with pinpoint precision, and is used on far more invasive procedures every day.

A good clinician understands the tool they’re using whether the blade is sapphire or steel, and they’ll change to a new blade when necessary to ensure optimal performance.

Our surgeons already know that a stainless steel blade becomes dull within about 150 cuts, and would simply change the blade. MAXIM surgeons work with about 50 blades, precut, loaded into holders so they can be switched out during the surgery. If a surgeon feels a blade going dull during the cutting process, they’d just ask for another.

Sapphire blades also dull. They just dull a bit slower. Nevertheless, the process remains exactly the same.

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Follicle Preservation

The site making tool never interacts with the graft unless the graft is loaded  into a DHI tool.

Even then, unless the handler damages the graft, the damage factor is equivalent.

Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties

There is no supporting evidence and no studies that support this claim. It also doesn’t matter.

Any reputable clinic sanitizes all instruments, masks up before surgery, and keeps the environment and the blades sterile in order to avoid infection.

So while sapphire blades might have some inherent antimicrobial properties (and we don’t know one way or the other because the science hasn’t been done) it also doesn’t matter. No reputable surgeon would rely on “antimicrobial properties.” They’d sterilize the blade, period.

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Do MAXIM clinicians use Sapphire FUE?

We do not offer Sapphire FUE in the United States. As of this writing, we do still use these blades in our location in Istanbul, Turkey, since our Istanbul surgeons prefer it.


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