What is Follicular Unit Extraction?
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a method of obtaining donor hair for Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). Naturally occurring follicular units can be obtained in one of two ways; either through single strip harvesting and microscopic dissection, or through individual Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). With FUE, individual follicular units are harvested directly from the donor area without the need for a linear incision. Follicles are removed in a 3 step process developed by Dr. Jim Harris; a 1-mm punch instrument is used to make a small circular incision in the skin around the upper part of the follicular unit, the follicular unit is then extracted directly from the scalp.
Follicular Unit Transplantation and Follicular Unit Extraction are usually viewed as being two different procedures. However, FUE is in fact a type FUT, the difference is in the method of harvesting the donor hair. So, comparisons made between FUT and FUE are really comparisons in the way the follicular grafts are obtained (i.e. strip harvesting and dissection vs. direct extraction).
When considering a harvesting method for a procedure one needs to consider the number of grafts per session, transection or damage rate, the potential for ingrown hairs in the donor area, and post-operative healing and recovery.