FUE Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair restoration has come a long way since the days of invasive hair transplants that left severe scarring and doll-like circular hair plugs. With new technology, good hair transplants are no longer noticeable and achieve much better results. If you are contemplating taking the next step in conquering thinning hair and saying so long to baldness, the FUE hair transplant surgery is the perfect procedure for you.
In the past, groups of up to 50 to 100 hairs were removed from a donor strip and placed together in the thinning areas. This left a spotty appearance of areas of hair and no hair along the scalp. To put it bluntly, those with a keen eye could tell instantly that a hair transplant had occurred, and it wasn’t a good one. Plus, the scarring was often quite evident.
Then we have the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), also known as the “strip” method. A strip of skin with healthy hair is removed with a scalpel from the back of the head. The strip is placed under the microscope, and the technicians carefully dissect the strip into individual hair follicles.
After surgery, the donor area of the scalp is stitched closed, and the stitches are removed after ten days, leaving the donor area to heal with a small linear scar.
What is an FUE hair transplant?
The FUE hair transplant is a highly advanced, sutureless cosmetic procedure to treat hair loss. Hair follicles are harvested one by one from the back of the head under local anaesthesia and implanted into bald spots.
The advantages of the FUE method compared to the traditional FUT hair transplant are:
– No Linear Scar
– Minimally Invasive
– Quicker Recovery Time and Less Discomfort
– Virtually Undetectable Scarring
– Ability to wear your hair very short.
On the day of the procedure, you are welcomed at our state-of-the-art clinic in Glasgow by our team and Dr Bonaros, the lead hair transplant surgeon, who will take you through the procedure and consent forms in detail. You can rest assured that your hair restoration will be performed using only the highest international standards. We are aligned with the International Society of Hair Restoration Society and stay up to date on the latest developments in the industry.
To prepare the donor area for harvesting the grafts, the hair is usually clipped short, to about 1-2mm. This length allows optimal harvesting.Once the donor area is trimmed, we take digital photos with our wireless, polarizing digital Trichoscope to identify the unique qualities of the follicular units. This innovative device reveals the characteristics of your hair follicles, such as the hair direction, angle, curl of hair, the cross-sectional diameter of the hair shaft, and the proportion of hair per graft. We use this information to make data-based decisions on the type and size of the equipment we will use and create the best strategies for each patient.
Do patients have to shave their entire heads for a hair transplant?
Patients undergoing hair restoration surgery do not always have to shave their heads. Shaving lines of hair off the back of the head is an excellent option for males and females that wear their hair long and want a discreet hair transplant. FUE hair transplantation can also be performed partially unshaven, in which only the hair in the donor area is shaved to allow patients to maintain their hairstyle.
A fully unshaven procedure is not suitable for all patients, particularly if they have suffered extensive hair loss requiring many grafts. During your consultation, Dr Bonaros will recommend the hair transplant procedure that will give you the best results.
In the case of white or blond hair, our standard practice is to use a temporary dye after shaving the hair. This practice improves the visualization of the hair follicles and increases the accuracy and speed of follicular excision.
How are FUE hair transplants done?
The FUE procedure starts with either manual or motorised extraction of healthy hair follicles from the safe donor area. The latter is located on the back and sides of the head, where the hair is genetically resistant to male pattern baldness. The hair follicles are extracted using special surgical micro-punches with sizes ranging from 0.6 mm to 1mm. We select the micro-punch size based on each patient’s hair characteristics to minimise follicular transection and trauma. The grafts are always harvested in a random and homogeneous pattern with adequate spacing between harvest sites. Since only a small percentage of the donor hairs are removed, the effect is barely noticeable. The remaining hair surrounding the extracted hair grows to cover the spots, making the FUE harvesting virtually undetectable. After an FUE hair transplant, patients can typically wear their hair short, such as a number 1 or 2-grade cut. The tiny dot scars that remain are less than 1mm and hard to see with the naked eye.
Is the FUE procedure painful?
The FUE procedure is carried out under local anaesthesia. You will be fully awake but not feel any pain. Occasionally, injections may cause mild discomfort, which is why we use our Kinetic Anaesthesia Device. This cutting-edge device diminishes the discomfort associated with local anaesthetic injections. As soon as this is completed, the rest of the procedure will be painless, resulting in a pleasant and easy patient experience.
Once extracted, the grafts are placed into a petri dish and passed to our highly trained technicians, who carefully inspect each follicle under high magnification microscopy.
Our stereomicroscopes produce a three-dimensional visualization of the grafts, allowing their methodic and meticulous evaluation.
The grafts are then classified based on their specific attributes, such as hair shaft thickness and the number of hair per graft.
The intraoperative use of the stereomicroscope is our standard practice for graft inspection and quality control. It is superior to naked-eye or slight magnification handling and guarantees better results.
A critical factor in successful hair transplantation procedures is appropriate biopreservation of the hair follicles. Once the hair transplant grafts are removed from the body, they are subjected to a series of stresses, like dehydration and hypoxia, that reduce their viability.
During an FUE hair transplant in our Glasgow clinic, we store the hair follicles in chilled HypoThermosol solution while they wait to be implanted.
HypoThermosol® is an optimized storage solution that has been shown to increase the viability of hair grafts following a period of ex vivo storage. It is becoming the industry standard and used by the world’s leading hair transplant surgeons to address a critical point during hair transplant surgery and improve the viability of grafts.
We understand that other clinics use less expensive graft storage solutions such as normal saline or Ringer’s lactate solution. However, we feel that the added investment in HypoThermosol is a worthwhile step in our efforts to achieve the highest possible rates of graft survival.
What is Direct Hair Implantation?
Traditionally, with the forceps technique, the surgeon will use a blade to make incisions on the patient’s scalp, and the technicians place the grafts in those incisions using forceps. The forceps placement technique can result in poor outcomes as the grafts are susceptible to repetitive placement trauma and desiccation. Considerable skill is required to both hold the graft without crushing the bulb region and then to insert the graft bulb without traumatising the graft.
Dr Bonaros specialises in the advanced technology of the hair implanter pens, which overcomes the above limitations and eliminates the need for premade incisions on the scalp. Hair implanter pens allow for complete control over the direction, angle, depth and density of the hair follicles.
The hair transplant results are natural-looking, aesthetically pleasing and provide a high level of patient satisfaction.
The hair transplant technicians load the hair follicles on the implanters and pass them to Dr Bonaros, who performs the implantation. You can watch a short video of the direct implantation here.
The hair implanter pen is a graft placement device taking the form of a pen. The implanter has a plunger, and when depressed, a stylus will push the graft out of the device into the skin. The sharp implanter tip enables the surgeon to create the recipient site and implant the grafts in a single movement. Therefore, the hair bulb is never handled with forceps during the implantation. On the contrary, it is protected by the implanter’s wall during the graft’s insertion. The hair follicles are implanted fast and efficiently, without the risk of repetitive placement trauma.
Our clinic does not rely on the traditional, re-usable Choi implanter pens. We implant your grafts with novel, high-quality, single-use implanters that provide increased safety, efficiency and superior performance.
Who performs the FUE hair transplant Surgery?
The process of hair transplantation requires skill and precision. Ask your hair transplant doctor if they or technicians will do the graft extraction or implantation. Dr Bonaros personally performs all of the steps of the procedure, from start to finish. He and his team will make you feel at home and explain the whole process as it happens. The FUE hair transplant in our clinic in Glasgow generally takes four to eight hours, depending on the number of follicles needed. The whole experience can be pretty relaxing. Many of our clients choose to listen to music or even take a nap during this time. Upon leaving our clinic, we will provide you with everything you need to take care of your grafts during the first few weeks, including detailed, tailored post-operative instructions. Some patients return to light work the day following surgery, although most prefer to take a few days off.
Who is a good candidate for hair restoration surgery?
Hair transplant surgery is not appropriate for everyone. Factors such as hair loss diagnosis, age, general health, hair loss stability and donor hair density all influence whether or not a patient will receive excellent results from surgery.
We consider all these factors together when determining whether someone is a good candidate or not. While someone might have a low density of hair follicles in the donor areas, they may have other favourable hair characteristics that offset the disadvantage of the hair density.
Risks and side effects of FUE hair transplants
Hair transplants usually cause only minor side effects that subside within a few weeks. You may experience a tight, swollen scalp for a few days. This procedure can also cause temporary scabs on the recipient area. Dr Bonaros will advise you on minimising these side effects to heal more quickly.
The timeline for recovery and results is one of the most common questions people have once their FUE hair transplant is complete. You can read our guide on the growth and recovery following an FUE hair transplant here.
You will have access to ongoing support and assistance in monitoring your hair growth progress and preventing potential problems.
It is always a pleasure to see our patients again and hear how the procedure has benefited them.
Contraindications for FUE
Although hair transplantation is a simple procedure done under local anaesthesia, there are a few contraindications for the procedure such as:
- active autoimmune disease,
- uncontrolled diabetes,
- uncontrolled hypertension,
- patients allergic to local anaesthetic,
- certain skin conditions, such as keloids and pemphigus,
- severe systemic and scalp infections .
Patients with contraindications to surgery may experience poor growth and suboptimal results and, in some cases, may even experience worse hair density due to a flare-up of underlying hair disease.
How much does the FUE procedure cost?
The procedure has no set cost because it is as individual as the patient and their hair loss. Your hair transplant cost will depend on the clinic you choose, the type of hair transplantation procedure you undergo, the complexity of your case, and the number of grafts you need. The cost of hair transplants in Scotland varies according to the hair transplant surgeon’s expertise and the clinic’s philosophy. It is not uncommon for retail chains to outsource surgeons and perform more than one procedure at a time. They may also offer discounts based on volume.
In some cases, poorly trained technicians are left to perform the work. And while you may believe you benefit from receiving a great deal, this belief is short-lived. Poor graft growth and unfixable scars in the donor area make your dream of great results a nightmare. Hair transplant costs should be considered in terms of long-term satisfaction and results, not only how much you can save. Getting a hair transplant at our clinic in Glasgow will cost you about £3 per graft. For more information on the costs of a hair transplant, click here.
Are FUE hair transplants permanent?
Hair transplant procedures restore thinning areas but do not stop future hair loss. So, even though the transplanted hair will grow permanently, there is always the chance the patient will continue losing their pre-existing hair.
That is why non-surgical treatments are so important and should be considered first or in conjunction with hair transplants.
Patients should be aware that maintenance procedures may be necessary if they develop further hair loss.
Are hair transplants noticeable?
The advanced FUE procedure is minimally invasive and has a short recovery period. Within 7-10 days of FUE hair transplant, the procedure is barely noticeable, and within 4-6 weeks, it is virtually undetectable.
How to choose the right hair transplant clinic and team
Having an online or face-to-face consultation with your surgeon before the hair transplant procedure is very important. Consultants are important; they give basic information about the procedure. But the fact remains that only licensed physicians can offer medical advice, much less surgical recommendations.
Only a hair restoration doctor can fully assess your case and propose a treatment plan suited to you. It is also a good chance to establish trust and rapport, which will mitigate the feeling of anxiety and improve your overall experience.
The doctor-patient relationship is a powerful part of the medical procedure, and its nature impacts patient outcomes.
In addition, read online reviews, inquire about everyone’s qualifications, ask to see before and after pictures, and make sure you understand the hair transplant method they employ.
Can you repair a botched hair transplant?
The FUE method for corrective hair restoration involves removing unaesthetic hair transplants, re-transplanting them and adding hair grafts. If scarring or overharvesting has reduced the number of scalp donor hairs, hair from the beard or other body parts may be used. Dr Bonaros is often called to perform revision work on patients whose prior hair transplants left unsightly scars or an unnatural look. In some cases, a botched hair transplant cannot be repaired through surgery.
Dr. Bonaros is an ISHRS member and the leading hair transplant surgeon at our Glasgow Clinic.
ISHRS is a global medical association that holds the highest standards of medical practice, medical ethics, and research in the medical hair restoration field.
If you are considering a hair transplant and live in Glasgow, Edinburgh or anywhere in Scotland, book your consultation at our clinic today. We offer online consultations to our patients all over the world. Fill out our online assessment form. You will receive first advice and a cost estimate within 48 hours of sending your request to Dr Bonaros.