Some questions doctors receive are easy to answer. Some require additional explanation. When a patient asks if something is permanent, such as a procedure or treatment, the doctor can provide further information to explain. For example, an eye doctor may let an individual know that eye laser treatment can last for a very long time, but that the eyes continue to evolve with age. As a hair transplant doctor explains for those who do not know, a FUE hair transplant is an effective and permanent solution for individuals experiencing hair loss. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplants are done by taking individual hair follicles out of your skin in a donor area and implanting them in your skin elsewhere on your body. This implantation will make the hair in the new area look thicker. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) was created to replace the earlier procedure called follicular unit transplantation (FUT) technique. The FUT procedure was done by taking an entire piece of skin or scalp along with the follicles and transplanting the skin on the target area. This prior type of surgery was likely to lead to the classic “hair plug” look, where sections of the scalp or hair don’t match the surrounding area. FUT can also lead to large scars with some patients. FUE has become more popular than FUT because of it’s more natural look.
The best candidate for a FUE hair transplant is someone with thinning hair or balding who still has enough hair nearby to use for a transplant.
The FUE hair transplant is a permanent solution to thinning hair and hair loss. The hair follicles to be transplanted are extracted from the areas of the head that are genetically resistant to balding, which is called the ‘safe donor area’. This area is usually located at the back of the head, a few inches above the nape of the neck, or in some cases on the sides of the head. This ‘safe donor area’ defines an area in which no progression of permanent hair loss occurs. When the hair follicles are extracted from these regions of permanent hair and transplanted to the areas that need more hair
coverage, they will continue to show the same bald-resistant traits and will therefore remain intact and not thin or fall out over the years. However, it is important for patients to keep in mind the fact that the hair transplant procedure will not stop any continued hair thinning and hair loss. It is important for the patient to have a stabilized rate of hair loss before they are considered to be a candidate for hair transplantation. You may not be considered eligible for a FUE hair transplant if you don’t have enough healthy hair or hair thick enough to transplant to the thinning or balding area.
Your hair transplant will most likely last over the long-term and be a life-long solution to your hair loss. It’s possible that as you continue to age, the hair follicles will thin, but they will most likely produce at least some hair for the rest of your life. If your hair thinning does continue, your hairline won’t recede according to your former “pattern” of natural hair loss. Your surgeon and you should discuss in detail the long-term plan to make sure that your hair doesn’t look patchy or unnatural in the coming years after your hair transplant procedure. In some cases, patients will opt for a second procedure to counteract continued hair loss.