Hair restoration surgery can be a life-changing treatment for men and women who struggle with thinning or balding hair. While hair loss can begin anywhere from your twenties to your fifties, feelings of diminished self-confidence are often the same regardless of what age you start to notice thinning hair. FUE, short for “Follicular Unit Excision,” is a revolutionary approach to hair transplant surgery that can achieve thicker, fuller hair in areas of sparsity without producing the long, obvious scar associated with FUT and other hair grafting techniques.
Dr. Wesley Schooler, our skilled board-certified plastic surgeon, offers FUE hair transplantation for Santa Barbara patients who want to fill in regions that are thinning or balding with results that look natural. The FUE technique is an exciting advancement in the world of hair restoration — not only for its ability to treat hair loss without creating a linear scar, but also due to the reduced healing time required after surgery.
FUE vs. FUT Hair Transplant Surgery
Other popular hair transplantation techniques include “FUT,” which stands for Follicular Unit Transplantation. FUT is designed to take a strip of donor tissue from the back of the head, which is then grouped into smaller “follicular units” and grafted into regions of sparse hair growth — known as the recipient area. While effective, FUT creates a long scar where the donor tissue is harvested and often results in the noticeable appearance of “hair plugs.”
FUE, on the other hand, uses a special tool to individually graft viable hair follicles straight from the scalp and into areas of hair loss. This method avoids a long, noticeable scar, and typically does not require as much recovery time as FUT surgery. The benefits of FUE compared to FUT generally include:
- Faster healing of the donor site
- Little to no obvious scarring
- Results that more closely mimic natural hair growth patterns
- Ability to keep hair as short as you want without concerns of a visible hair transplant scar
For the reasons listed above, FUE is frequently considered the most common and popular method of hair restoration performed. As with all cosmetic procedures, each technique has its own benefits and drawbacks. We encourage you to reach out to our practice if you’re considering hair transplant surgery to learn the pros and cons of the FUE procedure for yourself in further detail.
How is the FUE Procedure Performed?
FUE is considered a less invasive approach to hair transplantation than FUT, but it’s important to note that the technique still requires surgery. Prior to the procedure, our doctor and technician will evaluate the extent of your hair loss, discuss your overall goals, and determine a natural-looking hairline design. Using Cole® handheld FUE surgical instruments, micro-punches are made in the scalp to remove the most ideal hair follicles. Tiny incisions are then made in the recipient area, where the harvested hair follicles are individually inserted and transplanted. Finally, the area is cleaned and bandaged, and patients are able to return home for a brief recovery period.
What Can I Expect From Recovery After FUE Hair Transplant Surgery?
The healing period after the FUE procedure is relatively brief, with most patients returning to their normal routines within a few days to one week. Swelling, redness, and tenderness are common for the first three days after surgery and should gradually subside. Over-the-counter and topical pain medications can help alleviate any discomfort in the meantime. You will receive in-depth aftercare information about how to optimize your recovery and results in person, including how to wash your hair, sleep, and protect your scalp. Strenuous activity should be avoided for at least a few weeks or until you’re instructed otherwise.
You should begin to see noticeably thicker and fuller hair in the treated area(s) within three to four months, with more dramatic results often observed after six months. The final outcome of your hair transplantation should be evident approximately 18 months after surgery. At this point, you should be able to enjoy your naturally growing hair for a lifetime.
How Much Does FUE Hair Transplant Surgery Cost?
FUE hair transplant costs vary according to the extent of your hair loss and the results you desire for the final outcome. The total price of this hair loss treatment is typically calculated based on:
- The amount of hair extracted
- The amount of hair transplanted
- The number of sessions in your treatment plan
- The experience and skill of your technician
- Your geographic location
As an elective procedure, insurance companies do not provide coverage for hair transplant surgery. However, the Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center accepts cosmetic surgery financing from CareCredit® and ALPHAEON™ Credit for patients looking for a more manageable payment option. Once approved, there are a variety of payment plans available that each offer low- to no-interest financing for qualified candidates. Please call our office if you have additional questions about the cost of FUE hair transplant surgery, and a member of our team would be happy to assist you.
Experiencing hair loss can be discouraging at any age, but our team can help you restore thick, youthful hair growth in sparse areas using modern techniques clinically-proven to achieve excellent results. Learn more about FUE hair transplant surgery by contacting our Santa Barbara practice for a consultation.