Hair restoration surgery has become very popular in recent years, partly driven by improvements in outcomes and partly by increased awareness of the safety of the surgery.
However, not all hair restoration surgeries will produce natural-looking, dense hair. There are a variety of reasons for this: the surgeon’s skill, the team’s attention to detail, the degree of patient-specific customisation, and a range of other variables have a role to play.
FUE stands for Follicle Unit Extraction. In this process, hair follicles are extracted from the back of the scalp individually from the permanent zone. It has numerous advantages over FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation), otherwise known as strip surgery.
FUE has undergone a huge transformation from the days it was first presented as a possible addition to strip surgery (FUT) almost 20 years ago.
Over the last 10 years, FUE has rapidly advanced technologically and has garnered wide acceptance. When performed by a reputable and experienced surgeon, FUE can yield exceptional results with minimal discomfort and downtime.
Picking the right surgeon is of paramount importance. Hair restoration is a unique surgery because a very limited number of hair follicles are available for use to give an illusion of natural hair.
Thus, the surgeon needs to take extreme care to preserve the donor hair. A poorly planned surgery can cause more harm than good, destroying existing hair in addition to providing poor return on investment. And so, it is of absolute importance to meet the surgeon and explore all available options before going for surgery.
Hair restoration is more than just a science. The team needs to create age-specific and face-specific hairlines and density customised to the patient for it to look natural. Beyond speed and efficiency, attention to detail and a commitment to creating near perfect outcomes is a must.
As a team, more than 40% of our work is repair and correction work. Most patients not only want a decent head of hair, but they also want their hair to look and feel natural.
To that end, we believe that hair restoration surgery is a bit like fine watch-making. One could assemble a functional watch that tells the time, or one could invest attention, expertise, and care to create a masterpiece that clients can enjoy for a very long time.
Having studied and practised hair restoration for almost two decades, Dr Reddy has further improved the FUE technique, leading to the evolution of the Third Generation FUE (3G FUE).
At Dr Reddy’s, it is a matter of pride for us that our average yield rate, or the rate of transplanted follicles that grow hair, is above 80%. Our average transection rate, or the number of hair bulbs damaged during follicle removal, is among the lowest in the industry. This allows us to create extraordinary results at excellent value for money.
In the strip surgery (FUT), a strip of hair bearing skin is dissected from the back of the scalp and then individual grafts are trimmed and transferred to the recipient area of the scalp.
Main issues that are generally overlooked when counselling patients for strip surgery are:
After the strip is dissected, it is passed on to technicians who trim the strip into individual grafts. How effectively this is done will depend on the skill of the technician. Whilst considering a strip surgery, it is advisable for a patient to get to know the team that will be operating.
In a strip surgery, the number of follicles extracted per graft is significantly lesser compared to FUE. This is because most of the follicles extracted in FUT contain single and double hairs. In FUE, the surgeon has complete control over the grafts, and can pick and choose the ones that offer maximum benefit for the client.
Historically, strip surgery is considered to offer better outcomes because of the presence of galar fat at the bottom of the grafts. However, hair growth from the transplanted grafts is not dependant on the presence of the galar fat. As FUE uses a more advanced extraction and placement technology, the outcomes are much better than in strip surgery.
Strip surgery can produce significant scarring in the donor area, when performed by untrained hands. A simple test a patient can perform is to pinch the back of the scalp to check for signs of laxity. A tight scalp exponentially increases the chances of scarring with a strip surgery.
There is a common misconception that FUE leads to pitting scarring. Though badly performed FUE can lead to visible ‘dot’-like marks on the back of the scalp, more advanced techniques reduce the chances of this occurring to nearly zero.
Though FUE takes a lot longer to perform, and the grafts stay outside the body for a longer duration (and risk being damaged), fewer grafts are required with FUE. This helps improve yield, decreases the duration of the surgery, and reduces the technician fatigue factor when replacing a large number of grafts in FUT.