Overharvesting of Donor Area in FUE Technique

The FUE technique

FUE stands for follicular unit extraction and is a technique used for hair transplantation. In this
technique, hair follicles are extracted from the donor area and transplanted to the bald areas. Each hair follicle typically consists of one to four hairs. Donor area is the area which has normal hair growth; usually the back side of the scalp. Hair follicles are removed using a 1-mm needle and then transplanted to the areas where there is either scanty or no hair growth. The key factor in FUE technique is the removal of the hair follicle. The hair follicles must not get bisected during their removal. If such a thing happens, the transplant may fail as the bisected follicle doesn’t tend to grow. Thus, a successful transplant needs a trained and skilled surgeon who can transplant the follicles without bisecting them.

Overharvesting of donor site in FUE

Donor sites, in a typical hair transplant, are the sides and back of the head where the hair growth still exists with a density of around 80 – 120 follicles per square centimeter. Normally, a person has around 20,000 – 25,000 hair follicles at the back side of the scalp. However, all these follicles can’t be used for transplantation. This is because if all the follicles are used the back ofthe head will then appear bald and the whole procedure of transplant will go in vain. Hence, only around 15 – 20% hair follicles from the donor site are used in transplantation. That comes out to be around 5000 – 7000 hair follicles. If during FUE, hair follicles more than 5000 – 7000 are removed the donor area looks bald or abnormal. This situation of abnormality is known as overharvesting of the donor site.

Overharvesting results in balding of the donor site and hence the transplant fails. Moreover, if the hair follicles that are removed from the donor site get transected during removal, the growth of hair also becomes uncertain. This results in an undesirable and unacceptable outcome.

Avoiding overharvesting

Overharvesting has become a common problem with hair transplant surgeries. However, this problem can be tackled by approaching a qualified and trained surgeon. A skillful surgeon is  very important to provide you with the desired outcome and minimize the side effects. Choosing a reputed clinic for performing the transplant may also be helpful. Overharvesting can also be avoided by controlling the number of extraction of graft. Only around 3000 – 4000 grafts must be extracted during a session. A trained and skillful surgeon may provide a higher number of non-transected useful follicles per session. In cases of severe baldness 2 -3 sessions, with an interval of at least 6 months, may be planned for optimum result.

Overharvesting of hair follicles can also be avoided using an advanced FUE technique. For patients suffering from level 6 or 7 baldness, FUE techniques that use head and non-head hair donor sites may be helpful. The advanced FUE technique uses hair from beard, chest and other areas of the body for transplant.

Is FUE safe?

FUE technique is a very advanced technology and works wonders in giving back the self- confidence lost due to baldness. This technique works by transplanting a person’s own hair to the areas of baldness. Thus, the natural growth of a person is restored. Moreover, the hair transplanted has the same color and texture as of the original hair.

Hair transplantation is almost natural and doesn’t require any chemical or medicines to restore the hair. Also, hair gained from a transplant needs very less maintenance. They can be oiled and shampooed the same way as the natural hair. The normal growth of hair starts after 3-4 months, however, total recovery takes around 8 – 10 months.

Although, FUE is very safe and advanced, there are many FUE technique disadvantages too. FUE is a surgical process and involves all the complications of a surgery like infection, bleeding, and problems with anesthesia. Some people may also feel irritation and inflammation at the areas of hair growth. Also if a person suffers from hair loss that is genetic, a hair transplant maybe unable to provide the desired results.

FUE technique hair transplant cost
FUE technique cost depends majorly on the level of baldness and the amount of hair one needs to transplant. The cost also depends on how natural you want your transplanted hair to look. However, a typical FUE technique hair transplant may cost around $ 5000 – $ 20,000.

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