Ready to find out everything you need to know about the follicular unit extraction hair transplant process? Learn about FUE technique, cost, results, and recovery below.
Follicular unit extraction is a technique used to remove healthy hair follicles from one area of the body and transplant them to a spot where hair is sparse, balding, or thinning. It’s the most modern and popular hair transplant technique — more than 75% of male patients and 57% of female patients choose FUE .
Unlike FUT, follicular unit extraction leaves very little scarring around the back and sides of the head. So you can cut your hair as short as you like, and no one will be any the wiser that you’ve had a hair transplant.
FUE works by extracting individual hair grafts from a safe donor site on your scalp or body. A safe donor site is an area where the follicles are unaffected by male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss — usually the back or side of the scalp.
Your surgeon will then make small incisions in your balding areas and transplant these grafts into the cuts. As the cuts heal and the grafts settle, they’ll begin to produce new hair growth.
FUE surgery itself takes just a few hours, but the growth process takes several months.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to what happens before, during, and after FUE surgery.
The first step is to check you’re eligible for a hair transplant, and to determine if a hair transplant is the most suitable treatment for you.
Your consultant can conduct a thorough hair and scalp exam (and perform hair loss blood tests if necessary) to understand why your hair is falling out and ensure you’re a good hair transplant candidate.
Hairline design is a key element when it comes to creating a natural result. It’s important for your new hairline to follow the original, creating a natural-looking, age-appropriate result.
Your consultant and surgeon should be realistic about the results you can expect. If you have extreme hair loss (stages 5+ on the Norwood Scale), a full head of hair may not be possible — but you can still increase hair density in targeted areas.
On the day of surgery, your consultant and surgical team should answer any last-minute questions you have, then get you ready for the procedure.
Your scalp will be prepped with local anaesthetic to fully numb the areas. This makes FUE a virtually pain-free procedure. You can also have a sedative if you’re feeling tense or nervous.
The surgeon and technicians will start your FUE procedure by extracting individual follicular units (known as grafts) from the safe donor area. In some clinics, they’ll need to shave your head to do this. The Wimpole Clinic also offers the unshaven FUE technique, so there’s no need to get the clippers out.
When the grafts are extracted, the team will start to transplant them into your thinning areas.
The team will patch up your head after the surgery and give you thorough hair transplant aftercare instructions for the first few days.
FUE creates amazing results that are indistinguishable from your natural hair. Here are a few previous Wimpole Clinic FUE patients:
FUE results after 8 months
FUE beard transplant results after 8 months
Crown hair transplant results with FUE procedure after 22 months
See our extensive catalogue of before and after hair transplant photos to see more FUE results.
It’s important to take special care of your FUE transplant in the days and weeks after surgery. Poor aftercare can lead to a failed hair transplant — so here’s everything you need to know about looking after your grafts during the hair transplant recovery process.
It’s around a week before you can get back to your normal activities after FUE, and several months before you’ll see any new growth from your transplants. See the full hair transplant recovery timeline for more information.
Try to sleep with your head tilted upwards using a travel pillow or similar. It may not be the most comfortable position, but it will prevent you from damaging or dislodging your grafts at night. Learn more about how to sleep after a hair transplant.
When washing your hair after a hair transplant, don’t put your head directly under strong water jets. Reduce the water pressure or use a cup to gently pour water over your head. Use your fingertips (not your nails) to massage the shampoo into your scalp. Then rinse your hair using the same low-pressure technique.
You might also be given the option to return to the clinic for a hairwash, which is a good way to get a thorough clean without worrying about dislodging your grafts. Wimpole Clinic patients can get a post-surgery hairwash 3 days after their procedure.
One study found that most hair grafts are anchored securely in place 9 days after an FUE transplant . For the first week, there’s a high risk of dislodgement, so you need to be really careful during this period.
It’s safe to get a haircut after a hair transplant at around 3 weeks after your procedure, providing everything has healed up properly. If you still have scabs or soreness in the area, it’s best to wait until these have cleared up.
Most patients experience at least one of the following side effects after FUE:
These usually clear up after a few weeks, but if you’re concerned, seek advice from your clinic.
The cost of a hair transplant differs from clinic to clinic. Ultimately, the cost comes down to the number of hair grafts you need, and which clinic you choose.
While some clinics offer hair transplants at very high prices, you don’t need to pay over the odds to get a great hair transplant. Equally, avoid clinics with too-good-to-be-true prices, as they could be cutting corners with safety and quality.
At the Wimpole Clinic, FUE prices start at £3,499.
Across the UK, the average cost of a Norwood stage 2-3 hair transplant is £4,820. Learn more about getting a good value hair transplant in our hair transplant cost analysis.
FUE is the most popular type of hair transplant. But is it better than other types of hair restoration surgery?
See how FUE compares with FUT in this head-to-head table:
Learn more about the difference between FUT vs FUE.
Direct hair implantation is a technique in which grafts are loaded into a pen and applied directly into the scalp. It’s important to note that the key difference here is the way in which the grafts are implanted, rather than extracted. Both methods use the FUE method to remove the hair grafts.
Let’s compare FUE vs direct hair implantation (DHI):
FUE hair transplants are permanent. So if you take care of your hair, your transplant should last a lifetime. To make the most of your hair, you’ll need to:
Our follicular unit extraction hair transplant success rates are higher than 97%. So you can rely on our trichology team to restore your hair to its full former glory.
Book a consultation at one of our nationwide clinics to find out more and ask the questions you really want to ask before getting a hair transplant.
Simply fill in your details in the form below and we'll get in touch with you shortly.