Although follicular unit extraction (FUE) is an exciting, highly demanded type of hair restoration surgery, not all hair loss sufferers are appropriate candidates. Knowing this, hair transplant patients may wonder what characteristics make an individual a “good” or “bad” FUE candidate? Below is a response from Coalition hair transplant surgeon Dr. Alan Feller, discussing FUE candidacy and explaining what it takes to be a “good follicular unit extraction patient:”
Years ago when FUE first came out and was incredibly over-hyped there were indeed some clinics that claimed all patients were candidates. Those clinics now no longer make that wildely inaccurate statement publically, or they are now flat out of business. And well they should be.
FUE is a very traumatic procedure on delicate human tissue. Some people’s physiology will allow for it, some will not, but most fall somewhere in the middle. That’s just a fact bourne out of time. Just look at the number FUE results posted over the years compared to follicular unit transplantation (FUT) results and that conclusion is obvious.
There are a number of techniques to decrease FUE graft trauma and increase yield, however none represent the “magic bullet”.
Some patient’s skin are too mushy, brittle, or hard to allow for safe removal of the grafts. So follicular units themselves are just to splayed or wide to allow for safe removal. That’s the reality of the situation and one the doctor MUST by LAW share with every patient who requests FUE procedures.
In my clinic I tell the brutal truth because in the end it is up to the patient to make the decision, but in handing that decision to him I make darn sure he has all the information and concerns that are in my head. Then I put it in writing so there can be no question as to the risks of this procedure. That’s the right way to do it. If offering these realities and informed consent sways a patient toward the more reliable strip method, then that’s the way it has to be. For a doctor to ignore, downplay, or hide these realities, then this doctor is comitting bad practice and malpractice. Failure to give informed consent will get a medical license suspended or even revoked.
I don’t consider myself a “strip” doctor. I can do both FUE and strip to the highest industry standards and have demonstrated such over the years on a consistent basis and in full public view. But there is a proper time to perform FUE and there is a proper time to perform strip.
– Dr. Alan Feller
Blake Bloxham – formerly “Future_HT_Doc”
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