Can a FUE hair transplant damage existing hair follicles?

Hi I'm 28 years old and I've consulted a hair transplant surgeon earlier this year and he recommended the FUE procedure for 1000 grafts as I have a gaps of thinning hair rather than bald spots. I am currently on Finasteride for 11 months now. Is it possible for the FUE procedure to damage the existing hair follicles as I wish to thicken the center path and crown regions?

Doctor Answers 6

FUE Damage to Existing Hair Follicles

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It is absolutely possible to damage existing hair follicles with any hair restoration procedure whether it be the strip or the FUE.  In an FUE procedure, care needs to be taken in regards to grafts extraction, small punch size, and minimal punch depth.  Also, over harvesting of grafts can create vascular trauma and lead to significant irreparable damage to the donor zone.  Recipient site creation is also important.  Sites need to be as small as they can be (matching the grafts) as well as care being taken not to hit the surround follicles while creating the sites.  With an experienced surgeon you should have no problem.

Irvine Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Can FUE Damage existing hair?

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If FUE procedure done correctly, it should not damage the existing hair. We have different punch sizes for hair transplant and different devices to extract the grafts. These methods may change based on the type of recipient or donor hair you have to avoid any damage to your donor or recipient hair. 

Parsa Mohebi, MD
Beverly Hills Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews


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Yes it is possible to damage existing hair follicles and even have shock hair loss associated with surgery.  All surgeries have its risks and benefits.  The decision to have surgery is based on the benefits outweighing the risks.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Damaging the existing hairs with FUE

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There are two places you might be asking about. The donor area where the FUE is taken from. Yes, you can damage existing hair follicles unless your surgeon is very skilled for the FUe process. For teh recipient area, hair put into a miniaturized area is often damaged just from the anesthetic alone and certainly by the hair put next to the miniaturized hairs. That means that the benefit must outweigh the loss that you might experience. If you are on Propecia, it will minimize the damage to the existing hair in the recpiient site. 

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Hair Transplant in diffused hair loss

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Hi Ryan

The hair transplant in diffused hair loss can be actually very tricky for 2 reasons:

1. The existing hair will fall over a period of time, so the gaps you see now will start appearing again.

2. You’re right!! The hair transplant can damage existing hair if the surgeon is not experienced enough for such cases. It is much easier to do a hair transplant in a complete bald area.

Further the most important thing that you need to understand is the FUE or FUT are methods of extracting hair from back. The method of creating recipient sites is same in both. So the problem you anticipate should be that should you undergo a hair transplant not the technique.

Kapil Dua, MBBS, MS
India Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews


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This question accentuates the importance of the making of recipient sites and the involvement of medical decision making to assure you are treated not just as someone in whom to put in hair grafts, but also have your hair loss properly diagnosed and a plan made for the future.
Great you are on Propecia, and you need to realize that there are some challenges in working between already existing hairs, but the risks can usually be minimized by careful techniques.

Jeffrey Epstein, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 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.