FUE Hair Transplant Results: What should I expect?

Could you tell me more about the process and I should expect both pre and post op.

Doctor Answers 6

What to expect with FUE

FUE is a procedure where a small punch is used to extract individual hair follicles. The results can be very good if done correctly. The advantages are that there is minimal downtime, it is not as surgical as the strip procedure, and there is minimal risk of scarring.  Please see the attached video that shows an SUV procedure being performed from beginning to end


Irvine Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

FUE Hair Transplant Pre- and Post-Op Expectations

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a method of extracting, or “harvesting,” donor hair in a follicular unit hair transplant procedure. In FUE, an instrument is used to make a small, circular incision in the skin around a follicular unit, separating it from the surrounding tissue. The unit is then extracted (pulled) directly from the scalp, leaving a small open hole.

This process is repeated until the hair transplant surgeon has harvested enough follicular units for the planned hair restoration. This process can take one or more hours and in large sessions, may be accomplished over two consecutive days.

This method of donor harvesting, removing follicular units one-by-one directly from the scalp, is what differentiates the FUE procedure from a traditional Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), where the donor hair is removed from the scalp in one thin, long strip and then subsequently dissected into individual follicular units using a stereo-microscope.

Before FUE Hair Transplant Surgery

There are some minor preparations you should take before a follicular unit extraction procedure.

The following instructions are organized according to the days and weeks before your procedure.

TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO YOUR PROCEDURE

If you are taking any blood thinners, please let your doctor know immediately, as they may represent a contra-indication to surgery. These medications include Plavix, Coumadin, and Heparin.

If you are taking broad beta-blockers, such as Inderal (Propranolol), contact your surgeon as this medication may need to be changed to a select beta-blocker in advance of the surgery.

ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR PROCEDURE

Do not take any B or E vitamins for one week before your procedure this includes any multi vitamins that contain these vitamins, as these will increase bleeding. They can be resumed three days following surgery.

Do not take Aspirin or any other anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) for one week prior to your procedure. These can be resumed three days after surgery. NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include products such as Advil, Alka-Seltzer, Bufferin, Excedrin, Empirin, Nu-Prin, Motrin, Ibuprofen, etc. If you are unsure, ask the doctor or your pharmacist.

Other prescription medications (including heart and blood pressure medication) should be taken as prescribed right up to, and including, the day of your procedure.

Smoking: Smoking causes constriction of blood vessels and decreased blood flow to the scalp, predominantly due to its nicotine content. The carbon monoxide in smoke decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. These factors may contribute to poor wound healing after a hair transplant and can increase the chance of a wound infection and scarring. Smoking may also contribute to poor hair growth. The deleterious effects of smoking wear off slowly when one abstains, particularly in chronic smokers, so that smoking puts one at risk to poor healing even after smoking is stopped for weeks or even months. Although it is not known exactly how long one should avoid smoking before and after a hair transplant a common recommendation is to abstain from one week prior to surgery until two weeks after the procedure.

THREE DAYS PRIOR TO YOUR PROCEDURE

Do not drink any alcoholic beverages for at least three days prior to your procedure.

ONE DAY PRIOR TO YOUR PROCEDURE

If you’re having robotic FUE and have blond or white hair, you should dye your hair light brown or darker the day before your procedure, as this will make it easier for the robot to visualize your hair. The reason to color your hair the day prior to your procedure is that all of the coloring must be removed from the scalp before the procedure.

THE DAY OF YOUR PROCEDURE

Shower the morning of your procedure and wash your hair very thoroughly using your regular shampoo. Do not apply sprays, gels, or any other styling products to your hair. If you wear a hair system, please remove it prior to shampooing and do not wear it before your procedure.

Again, if you’re having a robotic FUE, be aware that the ARTAS Robot has been approved for use in patients with brown or black hair. At present, it is difficult for the robot to identify white or light blond hair. For patients with very light hair, dyeing one’s hair the morning of the procedure will allow the imaging system to identify the hair and eliminate the problem.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing which does not need to be pulled on over your head. This will prevent dislodging your bandage or damaging your grafts immediately after surgery.

Please do not wear any cologne or perfume the day of your procedure.

Eat breakfast the morning of your procedure.

Do not drink coffee or any caffeinated beverages on the day of your procedure. These substances may increase bleeding and your sensitivity to medications used during the procedure.

You may be receiving medications during the procedure that can make you drowsy. Because of this, you cannot drive yourself home following your procedure. Please arrange to have a responsible person drive you to your destination or make arrangement to have a taxi or car service pick you up.

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOUR HAIR SURGERY

In most patients, an FUE hair transplant is barely detectable after ten days. Patients are usually given medication for swelling at the time of hair loss surgery, but some still experience swelling of the forehead that settles across the bridge of the nose and around the eyes. If this occurs, it is almost always gone by the end of the first week.

Your newly transplanted hair will begin to grow at around 10 weeks. It will be long enough to be groomed in about 6 months and, in most cases, it will be fully grown in at one year. In the few months following hair surgery, before your new hair starts to grow, there may be some shedding of your original hair so that the transplanted area may temporarily appear slightly thinner. This is a transient phenomenon and will be corrected when the new hair begins to grow. It should not be a cause for concern.

Robert M. Bernstein, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

What to Expect after FUE Transplant

FUE hair transplant is one of the two common methods of harvesting permanent follicles from the patient's permanent zone.  In this method follicular units are extracted one at a time as opposed to more traditional method of removing a strip of scalp.  If FUE hair transplant is done properly, you should expect full growth from all transplanted grafts.  Of course the full result of a hair transplant has to do with the number of grafts, area of baldness and skill of the hair transplant surgeon.  I recommend to have a consultation with a good hair transplant surgeon and review your options and he/she will be reviewing with you the expected results based on your donor hair characteristics and stage of your hair loss.

Parsa Mohebi, MD
Beverly Hills Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Results vary

Since you can easily do a Google search for "FUE" and find detailed answers to your question, I will add in something Google may not readily provide:

FUE:  Just one of many ways to have a hair transplant surgery. 
Pre-op: You get a shave
Post-op: You have some pain.

The most important thing to consider ...RESULTS:  

If you picked the RIGHT doctor, you'll have great results and live happily ever after.
If you picked the WRONG doctor, you'll be posting questions here for the next several months and spend 3 to 4 times the money to fix a bad surgery and will never completely be satisfied (no matter how much money you spend).  

A bad hair transplant is like Herpes...It's for life.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

FUE expectations

An FUE is treated just like a regular hair transplant with regard to the recipient area, but the donor area has open wounds which require daily washing with soap and water. Within 3 days of surgery, you can resume full activities, heavy exercises if you wish. The recipient area requires daily washes as well to keep the recipient area free of crusts. I generally recommend the use of a sponge and supply my patient with a surgical sponge to fill with soapy water and press on the recipient area daily. By repeating this daily, all crusts can be washed off without any fear of losing grafts. IF any crust are present, use a Q tip and dip it into soapy water, and roll it on the crusts and that will lift them off without dislodging them, but never rub them, just roll the Q tip on the recipient crust. I like to see no evidence of any crusting in the recipient area and the crusts from the donor area gone in 7-10 days with daily washing,.

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

What to expect after hair transplant using FUE technique for harvesting

There are two procedural aspects to hair transplantation. One is the harvesting of the grafts from the donor area and the other is the design, distribution and placement of the units into the recipient area. These are two different aspects. FUT and FUE only refer to the harvesting technique from the donor area and have nothing to do with the recipient area aspect of transplantation. The recipient areas technique is based mostly on the surgical, experience and artistic skills of the physician.

Basically, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a revival of the old punch technique obtaining donor hair with a small circular cutting instrument. There are different instruments used in the market to do FUE extraction siding punches. These punches are used to harvest follicular units one at a time from the donor area. Each harvest or extraction creates a small circular scar. The difference is with the strip you get a continuous linear scar, whereas with punches you get discontinuous, round circular scars. You get a better Yield with FUT technique because one can see the follicles when excising the strip whereas in FUE it's a blind extraction from the skin. Due to the blind extraction, there may be damage to the hair follicle and also collateral damage to the surrounding hairs. Therefore, it is likely that when hair is transplanted to the recipient area in case of FUE technique some of the hairs be damaged and therefore either not growin or grow thinner. Also if the hair is not harvested from any where but the safe donor zone, the chances are those hair will be lost in the near future and are not permanent. Make sure you discuss with your doctor which areas the hair is being harvested from, since this could have a direct effect on future growth and result.  

On the other hand for the recipient area design and technique, a good specialized hair transplant doctor should know how to distribute the units, where to place the hair line, which needles to use, how to angle the needles, and the orientation of the incisions in the recipient area. These are just a few things to consider when making the incisions in the recipient area. So it is very important to chose an experienced doctor both for harvesting of the grafts and also for design and placement of grafts to the recipient area and discuss the options in detail to make sure it meets your concerns and expectations.

Michael Meshkin, MD
Newport Beach Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.