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Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a relatively new hair transplant technique that involves individual removal of follicular units from the donor site. We offer this surgical option as an alternative to the strip harvest method. The technique is essentially a process in which a 0.8 – 1.0 mm round donor harvest tool is used to extract the entire intact follicular unit. There are two primary advantages to this type of donor harvest technique. The first advantage is a much less tender donor area following surgery. The second advantage is the ability for the patient to generally wear shorter hair in the donor area than following a strip method. Additional, there are also patients who require a very small number of transplants and FUE may be ideally suited for their needs. On the other end of the spectrum, some patients have been severely donor depleted or have very ‘tight’ scalps as a result of over harvesting using the strip method. FUE to selected areas of the scalp and even the beard offer a terrific alternative for these patients as well.

Of course there are disadvantages to the FUE procedure. These include the requirement of a near complete donor head shave for large FUE cases (>1200) and also in some cases the donor area can become ‘thinned out’ due to over harvest and lowering of the follicular density. Smaller FUE punch sizes (0.8 and smaller) reduce this risk significantly. When smaller FUE cases are performed discrete areas of scalp can be shaved in such a manner to allow the surrounding hair above the harvest site to hide the shaved donor area. This is known as a “stealth” donor technique for FUE harvesting. Because the FUE donor harvest process takes longer to perform than strip harvesting and is considerably more labor intensive, the procedure is also more expensive as well. The general cost for FUE is about twice that of the strip procedure. Your individual consultation will be the best opportunity for a detailed discussion to determine if FUE is right for you.

Follicular Unit Extractions (FUE) Photos

Individual follicular units are shown in the shaved donor area.  Microscopic view of the intact follicular unit, scored and ready for final extraction.

Individual follicular units are shown in the shaved donor area. Microscopic view of the intact follicular unit, scored and ready for final extraction.

The appearance of the donor area once the FUE sites are harvested and the follicular units have been removed then the healed appearance several months later

Note the appearance of the grafts that are harvested using follicular unit extraction. The grafts are intact and the  supportive fat and surrounding tissue is remarkably preserved even though a 0.8 mm round harvest tool has been used.   In situations that require fewer than 3-4 hairs per follicular unit these follicular units can be subdivided for a softer, more delicate result.

Note the appearance of the grafts that are harvested using follicular unit extraction. The grafts are intact and the supportive fat and surrounding tissue is remarkably preserved even though a 0.8 mm round harvest tool has been used. In situations that require fewer than 3-4 hairs per follicular unit these follicular units can be subdivided for a softer, more delicate result.


This video shows follicular units being removed after a motorized device has been used to isolate the follicular units


One Week After

Before Procedure

2 Weeks After

During Procedure

2 Weeks After Procedure

2 Weeks After Procedure

Example of large session FUE harvest and the excellent subsequent healing. This patient chose FUE as his primary donor option even though strip harvesting was an offered as well.


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Day of Procedure

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2 Weeks After

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Appearance of “stealth” FUE donor harvest technique. A discrete area of the donor scalp is shaved and harvested. Once the FUE process is complete, the donor hair above completely covers the surgical area.


Here are a few different examples of FUE hair transplants. The important thing to remember is that the FUE process only refers to the donor area. Once the grafts are harvested the transplant procedure is identical in all ways to the strip donor harvest method. Namely individual small follicular unit grafts are placed artistically to create a natural hair line and larger follicular unit grafts are placed behind these to create more density. When the crown area is grafted the same angulation of grafts is performed to create the whorl pattern and provide excellent coverage . The FUE process is simply another method of harvesting the donor hair !

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This 53 yo man had extensive baldness and did not want a donor scar. He received a single 2500 graft FUE procedure. The results are seen at 8 months. The donor photos show the pre op appearance ( upper left) , day of FUE procedure with full donor shave (upper right), 2 weeks later (lower left), and 8 months later (lower right). Even as soon as 2 weeks later the donor area is virtually undetectable.


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This 46 you man did not want any donor scars on his head because he wanted to preserve the option to wear his hair very short and did not want to risk having a donor scar noticed with a short style. He had a hidden ( stealth type) shave for a 1500 graft donor harvest. When the hair above the donor area is dry and combed down, the region is completely hidden. His density was so good that a hidden shave was possible for 1500 grafts. Usually this is the upper limit for the hidden shave technique. His transplant results are seen at 8 months.


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This 42 yo man was concerned with the potential exposure of a donor scar since he preferred a tight hair cut style. Even though the texture and curl of the donor hair is considerable, FUE donor harvesting is very successful. The donor photos show the pre op appearance ( upper left) , day of FUE procedure (upper right), 2 weeks later (lower left), and 10 months later (lower right). Even as soon as 2 weeks later the donor area is virtually undetectable. Results of the hair transplant are seen at 10 months.


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This 36 yo man received a 2000 graft transplant using FUE as his best option for donor harvesting. Because he needed a large amount of grafts a full shave of the donor area was used. . The donor photos show the pre op appearance ( upper left) , day of FUE procedure (upper right), 2 weeks later (lower left). Even as soon as 2 weeks later the donor area is virtually undetectable. Results of the hair transplant are seen at 10 months.