The acronym “F-U-E” stands for “Follicular Unit Extraction,” which is a surgical procedure for hair restoration. In this particular type of procedure, a hair transplant doctor excises individual hair follicles from the donor site for transplantation into the recipient site. This is a fairly time-intensive process, but this technique is designed to ensure that the patient has no visible horizontal scarring remaining in the donor site following the completion of their hair transplant procedure.
This is one of the key differences between the two most common and most effective surgical procedures, as the other, a Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), is often referred to as a strip hair restoration due to the thin horizontal scar left in the donor site. Although doctors are able to obscure this scar with the patient’s existing hair, some patients simply prefer a no-stitch, no-linear scar procedure. There are other benefits to the fact that this hair restoration procedure can be completed in this way, including a quicker recovery time that permits a return to regular activity within a day or two.
Although there are several advantages associated with the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), this procedure does include some limitations as well. The principal limitation is in the number of grafts that can be transplanted during a single session. This is due to the time-intensive nature of the procedure, and a single session in which 1,000 to 1,500 grafts are transplanted may take up to eight hours. 2,000 grafts can take up to 10 hours and 2,500 grafts can take up to 12 hours. Since Follicular Unit Extractions (FUE) also feature a rapid recovery time, it is possible for patients to undergo sessions on consecutive days.
The Strip or FUT procedure tends to have a higher yield, i.e. a higher percentage of grafts survive and grow, making the results more predictable. Also, FUE may not work as well for hair that is very curly. Finally, FUE is slightly more expensive than FUT.
When selecting between two surgical procedures with a long history of effectiveness, it is exceptionally important for patients to understand the subtle differences and nuances associated with each procedure. Hair transplant surgeons continue to be the best resource for explaining all of these subtleties and nuances, so patients should conduct as much research as possible so they can ask any relevant questions of the doctor during the initial consultation process.