Follicular Unit Excision (FUE)

hair transplant graft extraction

Follicular Unit Extraction has now been changed to Follicular Unit Excision. This reflects the importance and special surgical techniques required to make incisions and extractions in hair transplant surgery. In this blog we explain why this change has been made.

Follicular Unit Extraction now Follicular Unit Excision

Both Follicular Unit Extraction and Follicular Unit Excision refer to the same surgery. So what is the correct name we should be using?

What is FUE?

This is a type of hair transplant surgery where each hair follicle is taken out individually. FUE is carried out by using a small circular punch to cut around a hair follicle. Using specialised surgical tools these hair follicles are then removed and re-implanted into bald areas. Over time this will help recreate hair where it has been lost.

This technique differs from FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) where a strip of scalp is taken and hair follicles are isolated from this strip. Patients who have FUT have a visible scar line across the back of the head. In FUE this is avoided by having small dot scars at the back of the head. As these small dots are spread out they are not noticeable if someone grows their hair out.

Why the change from Follicular Unit Extraction to Follicular Unit Excision?

The change in name has been made to emphasise the highly skilled surgical nature of a hair transplant. The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS)- the global leading authority on hair loss and prevention treatments implemented the change in 2018.

Dr Ricardo Mejia, ISHRS Board Member explained the main reasons:

When performed by qualified, properly trained hair restoration surgeons, hair transplantation is a safe and highly effective procedure to correct hair loss. However, it is a cosmetic surgical procedure and any attempt to downplay the significant surgical aspects of FUE to appear less invasive is misleading and potentially dangerous to patients

Dr Ricardo Mejia

Dr Meija explained that the term “extraction” in Follicular Unit Extraction, implied that the procedure only involves extracting or plucking out hairs without any need for surgery. And in some countries because the term “extraction” can have non-surgical implications, the surgery can be carried out by non-surgeons.

…over the past 15 years, the term “extraction” has been used to minimise the surgical nature of this surgery in order to imply a non-surgical procedure that only involves “extracting” hairs, as if they were being plucked out of the scalp without surgery. This misleading messaging has given rise to the worldwide expansion of follicular unit excision (FUE) surgery being performed by non-medical and unlicensed personnel- essentially spawning a black market for hair transplantation that has resulted in cases of serious cosmetic damage with scarring and hair loss, infections and even deaths

ISHRS website

Amending FUE terminology is one more way that we can inform patients about the true surgical nature of the procedure so they can make better decisions about their choice of physician and treatment

Dr Ricardo Mejia

Want to find out more about Follicular Unit Excision? Arrange an appointment with our Hair Loss Doctors and Surgeons. Simply click here to your book consultation!

Beware Of The Hair Transplant Black Market

black market hair transplant campaign

The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery has officially launched its awareness campaign around Black Market Hair Transplant Clinics. In this short blog we explain what is going on.

As you may have read in our earlier blogs, (click here), we are seeing poor hair transplants being performed by unregulated clinics. Sadly, patients are seeking help from clinics to treat their hair loss and come away even worse than when they first visited.

There is a growing number of black market hair transplant clinics that are performing dangerous and poor transplants. As a result the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), the global leading authority of hair loss treatment and restoration, has released a worldwide campaign. It’s called “Beware Of The Hair Transplant Black Market”.

Why has the campaign been launched?

The black market of hair transplant clinics consists of clinics that are primarily run by technicians. Sometimes there might be 1 doctor and 10-60 technicians who operate in a “conveyor belt like” manner. The doctor present in the clinic is mainly there for show only. Sometimes they don’t have a valid medical license or a job permit. Ultimately, corners are cut in patient care and patients have no recourse to make a complaint.

Without proper clinical care, patients come away from these clinics with injuries such as:

  1. Scarring
  2. Over-harvested donor areas
  3. Poor, irreparable hair transplant results

The risk of technicians performing hair transplants is certainly daunting. It is illegal for technicians to make any cuts or incisions in the UK. Currently the main Black Market Hair Transplant Clinics are located in:

  1. Turkey (#1 Destination)
  2. Pakistan
  3. India
  4. Iran
  5. USA

These clinics normally try and attract patients with the following methods:

  • Paying large sums of money for marketing- using terms like “no pain” “no scars” “leading clinic” which are entirely misleading
  • Providing no clinical advice to patients on whether they are a good candidate for hair transplant surgery or not, i.e. they operate on anyone who pays
  • Technicians performing the surgery and anaesthesia with no Doctors. This means prices are cheaper for patients as the clinics they visit don’t have to employ a fully licensed hair transplant doctor
  • Offering large numbers of grafts at cheap prices e.g. 2000-4000 graft extractions per session with no regard for the patient’s degree of balding. Their mantra being quantity is better than quality but resulting in an over-harvested donor area
  • Attracting patients by advertising 4-5 star hotel accommodation, transportation and airfare
  • Offering a certification of quality (meaningless)
  • Guaranteeing results- knowing patients are coming abroad and will not return to complain about over-harvesting and poor implantation

What is the campaign?

The campaign has just started and is aiming to achieve a number of key objectives particularly around patient education.

Education and Awareness

Patients are being misled by false advertising. Adverts on Facebook, Google and Instagram with pictures and videos about hair transplant surgery being so easy that patients can be operated on in an “assembly line” is misleading.

Hair transplant surgery is essentially surgery. It requires a properly trained hair transplant surgeon (sometimes two surgeons) who are practising under a license and in a regulated clinic. Different patients have varying hair types and hair loss patterns so a “conveyor belt- like surgery” will not be applicable to all. It actually ignores the high attention to detail hair transplant surgeons must have in order to give patients safe, natural and long lasting results.

In the UK there are strict guidelines as to where you should go for hair transplantation. If you wanted to read more please click here. These guidelines include:

1) Choosing a Hair Transplant Surgeon who is GMC registered
2) Choosing a Hair Transplant Clinic that is CQC registered

The campaign is also collecting stories, photos and videos from Doctors and patients. If you have been affected by a poorly performed hair transplant then get in touch to share your experience (click here). Black Market Hair Transplant clinics threaten the integrity of hair transplant surgery including its Doctors and Surgeons who are dedicated to its practise.

What now?

The beware of the Black Market of Hair Transplant Clinics campaign has just started. Expect some new developments on the topic by the ISHRS and BAHRS. We want to make it clear, The Treatment Rooms London fully supports this awareness campaign.

We continue to see patients suffer at the hands of hair transplant technicians and unlicensed clinics. Hair transplant surgery is complex and the surgery is just the beginning of a long hair growth journey. Starting off on the wrong foot can be devastating. No patient should have skin necrosis as the result of poor surgery technique or suffer the effects of an over-harvested donor area.

We encourage any patients looking to have a hair transplant in London or the wider UK landscape to do their homework on the clinic and surgeon they are visiting. If you wanted to know more about this topic then please click here to read our blog.

References

  1. https://ishrs.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/BlackMarketAwareCampaignISHRS-ENGLISH_PPT_01-27-19.pdf
  2. https://ishrs.org/bewarehtblackmarket/
  3. http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/4117646
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cosmetic-treatments/hair-transplant/
  5. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/unregulated-hair-transplant-clinic/
  6. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/safe-hair-transplants/
  7. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/5-considerations-before-having-a-hair-transplant/
  8. https://www.prweb.com/releases/dr_robin_unger_discusses_black_markets_in_hair_transplantation/prweb16075785.htm

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