Is the FUE hair transplant method a option for men of African descent? If so, where? (photo)

I am a male of African descent, 37 years of age and approximately stage 3 to 4 on the Norwood scale. I live in Ontario Canada. I'm told I would require 2000 to 2500 grafts to bring about adequate coverage from hairline to the crown area, but that the robotic Artest(?) and Neograph methods would like not work due to the type of hair I have, and that the strip method is the only option. I wear my hair low, and would prefer not to bear the resulting scars from the type of procedure.

Doctor Answers 13

Neograft for patients of African descent

Neograft and FUE procedures are definitely possible for patients of African descent or patients with curly hair.  The procedure can be a bit more time consuming and is best performed by a team that is experienced with your type of hair but it is absolutely possible.  For most men, it is preferable to have Neograft/FUE because there is no resulting strip or scar on the back of the scalp that is visible if the hair is worn short.  I would suggest a consultation with a surgeon that is experienced in Neograft but know that skin and hair type do not exclude you from the procedure.

Good luck 

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 137 reviews

African-American hair and hair transplantation

Follicular unit extraction is feasible in African-American hair. The follicle may have a slight different direction underneath the skin, however an experienced FUE transplanter would be able to extract these without having to do the strip method.  Usually extracting the first several hair follicles will give a lot of information about what the remaining follicles look like underneath the skin. One may have to use a slightly larger punch if the follicles are very tortuous. However you can still get very good yields and very good transplantation and survival rates of the grafts.  


The short answer is yes.   The hair-type in this demographic can be somewhat more challenging to extract, owing to its curled quality.  That means that finding an experienced team with the FUE or NeoGraft system is critically important.  Our center has enjoyed great success with male and female African-American patients with hair loss.  The FUE or NeoGraft system is especially beneficial in this subset of patients because there is no linear surgical scar.  These surgical scars can make it particularly challenging to wear the hair short or cropped. Patients with the FUE technique can wear the hair extremely short without the tell-tale signs of hair transplantation.

Jeffrey B. Wise, MD, FACS
Wayne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 130 reviews

Neograft for African American Men

You may do well with Neograft, but the surgeon may need to perform a few sample extractions to see if your roots are straight enough to harvest without damaging them.

Roy A. David, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

FUE for Black Men

FUE can often be performed on black men. The curl of the hair under the skin may make it more challenging. If I have any concerns about the ease of extraction, I will do a small test "trial session" of a 10-20 grafts and evaluate how easy it is to extract.  Generally it's not a problem.

FUE for patients of African descent

Patients of African descent usually has a curly nature of the follicle and is not straight below the skin, thus this unique features make it more challenging. In comparison to the motorized technique, the manual punch allows for a better feeling and determination of the location/ angle of the follicle thus allows a greater level of control and efficiency during the extraction. I highly recommend the manual FUE method to patients of African descent in order to achieve the best possible result

Koray Erdogan, MD
Istanbul Hair Restoration Surgeon

FUE hair transplant vs strip hair transplant for African descent males

FUE is a blind extraction from the surface of the scalp and it is not recommended for curly hair.  If you are not prone to getting keloid, you can consider doing FUT hair transplant, you would get much better result. We have done many African descent individuals at our practice and the results are very good and natural using the strip method.

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

NeoGraft hair transplants can be successfully performed on every ethnic group

Thank you for your question. NeoGraft hair transplants can be successfully performed on every ethnic group. A facility such as ours in Toronto that has experience with patients of many cultures will make every effort to be sensitive to the inherent hair characteristics that each ethnicity possesses. People of African descent have curly, dense hair with darker shafts. Their hair grows at different angles, requiring precision when transplanting, so an experienced doctor is key. The NeoGraft method is much more comfortable for the patient than other methods, leaving no scarring and requiring no downtime.

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 112 reviews

FUE usually do NOT work for Curly Hair

You may look like a Norwood 4 but YOU MAY BE A NORWOOD 6 (ALL BALD) in a few years.  Did the doctor tell you this?

FUE does not usually work well for curly hair.  It doesn't matter if it is ARTAS or Neograft or the best surgeon.  Generally you need to have a FUE test to make sure you are even a candidate.

I was an engineer working with Dr. Rassman in 1998 (before I became a doctor) . My work involved a concept of a robot which would use a special optical sighting system to align the hairs for an automated FUE. This work became U.S. Patent 6572625 that we licensed to the ARTAS robot. Similar technology from our U.S. Patents are used in the NeoGraft. I perform FUE in my practice with my hybrid FUE instruments, ARTAS, or even NeoGraft. My point is that I am very familiar with the FUE, ARTAS, NeoGraft, and all forms of harvesting hair follicles.

Curly hair is still a challenge.

Your focus of surgery should be on RESULTS. Not how a doctor takes out the grafts. From a donor scarring perspective, you keep your hair very short (BASED ON PHOTOS), so FUE may be your only option. But you may STILL SEE the FUE scars at that length on some occasion.  Thousands of white dots.

Many doctors push FUE or Neograft or ARTAS claiming "no scar" or "minimally invasive".
Many doctors dissuade patients from strip surgery asking "why would you want a big scar".

Just remember a 4000 graft FUE scar is like having a collective open wound hole the size of a baseball on the back of the head. There is nothing minimally invasive about that. I also perform Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) and fix horrible FUE scars routinely. These is nothing "scarless" about FUE.

I have performed surgery on Dr. Rassman and his family members using the strip technique. The linear scar on Dr. Rassman is a pencil thin line you probably will have a hard time finding. The point is, a strip surgery scar is not as terrible as the Internet makes it out to be.

Both FUE and Strip surgeries has its place. Don't be caught up in marketing and doctors who try to sell you one type surgery.

The focus should be on Results.
A bad hair transplant result from FUE or Strip is like Herpes. You'll carry it with you for life (with either thousands of dots or a line).

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

African American FUE, is it different?

There are two types of African American hair, the coarse, kinky type and the soft, fine hair type. The former type usually is not a candidate for FU"E but this can be tested in the office with what we call a FOX test (see Web Reference below for our original article on FUE. For those African Americans with soft, non-kinky hair FUE may work fine. We have done these patients successfully over the years.

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 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.