Dr. Raymond J. Konior and Dr. Sahar Nadimi perform follicular unit extraction, or FUE, at our Oakbrook Terrace, IL, practice as an effective option for hair restoration. Follicular unit extraction was developed to avoid the scarring that typically accompanies elliptical strip harvesting. With FUE, the extraction sites heal with small, circular scars that are easier to conceal, especially for patients who prefer shorter hairstyles. This procedure has risen in popularity in recent years, especially among male patients, and Dr. Konior has extensive training and experience in FUE.
What is Follicular Unit Extraction?
You may be surprised to learn that follicular unit extraction dates back to the late 1930’s. A doctor in Japan developed the technique and published his work in 1939. Since then FUE methodology has evolved significantly, especially over the last decade. Follicular units are comprised of one to four hairs. In an FUE procedure, these units are extracted one at a time from the donor area. This procedure is much different than elliptical strip harvesting, which removes an entire strip of skin that is then broken down into the individual follicular units. For patients who lack sufficient hair on the scalp for a donor site, FUE can also transplant body hair.
When Is FUE Recommended?
Candidacy for FUE is primarily determined by the state of the donor site. While body hair is sometimes a viable option for a transplant, it may not be appropriate for everyone. Ideal candidates for FUE are patients who:
- Have scarring from previous procedures
- Experience excessive tightness in the donor region
- Prefer to sport closely cropped hairstyles
- Lack sufficient hair in the donor region following prior procedures
- Require a shorter recovery period to return to work
- Are willing to shave the donor area
There are a number of circumstances in which Dr. Konior may recommend an alternative treatment option. Follicular unit extraction is typically not recommended for patients whose follicular units do not extract properly. Additionally, women with longer hair typically do not opt for FUE because it requires shaving the donor area. Because this is a highly complex treatment performed by a few select surgeons in the world, it is more expensive than other treatments. Patients should discuss their budget and financing concerns with Dr. Konior, as this can affect his recommendations for treatment.
What to Expect with FUE Treatment and Recovery
Grafts can be extracted manually, mechanically or robotically with a .07 to 1.2 millimeter punch. While robotic extraction can speed up the process significantly, it does not always produce satisfactory results. Dr. Konior’s focus is on quality, so he prefers manual and specialized mechanical methods to achieve the desired outcome. Prior to treatment, the donor site is shaved to two to three millimeters in length, allowing for closer examination of exit angles and direction of protruding hair shafts. The punch is then used to harvest the grafts, following the paths of the hair shafts to avoid follicular transection. Transected, or damaged, follicular units are not viable for grafts. Each follicular unit is carefully examined under a microscope before it is placed.
Unlike most other hair restoration methods, recovery from FUE is relatively quick. The procedure and recovery involve far less discomfort than other procedures as well. Because the donor area is shaved for the procedure, results are gradual.
Advantages and Disadvantages of FUE
Follicular unit extraction is a highly customizable procedure that produces natural-looking results with minimal downtime. Although the procedure results in less visible scarring than other methods, scarring does still occur, even when the procedure is performed correctly by an expert such as Dr. Konior. Scars are circular and scattered throughout the donor site. When you work with an experienced surgeon such as Dr. Konior, you will experience an appropriate amount of scarring that is easily concealed, even with short hair.
If you are suffering from hair loss and are interested in our FUE treatment, we can discuss your options with you. Contact Chicago Hair Institute today to schedule an in-person or virtual consultation with Dr. Konior.