Follicular unit extraction (FUE), sometimes referred to as follicular transfer (FT), is one of two primary methods of obtaining follicular units, naturally occurring groups of one to four hairs, for hair transplantation. FUE hair transplant methods are popular in the United States and around the world, as they sometimes offer patients advantages versus the Strip Method (FUT), depending on their requirements.
FUE is commonly used as an alternative to FUT when the scalp is too tight for a strip excision, and also enables the surgeon to harvest finer hair from the nape of the neck, often for use around the frontal hairline or even for a facial hair transplant, usually the eyebrows.
Although for many patients follicular unit extraction may provide optimal results, this is not always the case and sometimes a FUT procedure is recommended for a variety of reasons. For example with FUE, the follicles are harvested from a much larger donor area. As a result, the hair in the lower and upper parts of the donor area may become more sparsely covered over time, and this can make the donor scars visible. Furthermore, the maximum graft yield is lower than with FUT and the hair retention rate is generally lower too. FUE hair transplants also take longer to perform and subsequently attract a higher price.
Upon completion of a FUE hair transplant, the patient will generally experience a slightly faster recovery time and reduced post-operative discomfort versus the FUT method.