Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a method of extracting, or “harvesting,” donor hair for
transplantation in a follicular unit hair transplant. In an FUE procedure, an instrument is
used to make a small, circular incision in the skin around a follicular unit, separating it from
the surrounding tissue. The unit is then extracted (pulled) directly from the scalp,
leaving a small open hole.
This process is repeated until the hair transplant surgeon has harvested enough follicular
units for the planned hair restoration. This process can take one or more hours and, in
large sessions, may be accomplished over two consecutive days. The donor wounds,
approximately 1-mm in size, completely heal over the course of seven to ten days, leaving
tiny white scars buried in the hair in the back and sides of the scalp.
This method of donor harvesting, removing follicular units one-by-one directly from the scalp,
is what differentiates the FUE procedure from a traditional Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT),
where the donor hair is removed from the scalp in one thin, long strip and then subsequently
dissected into individual follicular units using a stereo-microscope.
After the grafts are harvested, tiny “recipient sites” are made in the balding area of the scalp
using a fine needle-point instrument. The follicular units are then placed into the recipient sites
where they will grow into healthy hair-producing follicles. The creation of recipient sites and the
placing of follicular unit grafts are essentially the same in both FUE and FUT procedures.
The difference lies in the quality and quantity of grafts obtained with each technique