For decades, microsurgical hair transplants have been performed by either removing a small strip of hair from the back of the scalp, removing the follicles from the strip and transplanting them into the recipient area (called a follicular unit transplant). Or, by removing each hair follicle at the back of the scalp individually and then transplanting them (called a follicular unit extraction). In both methods the hair is cut short prior to the procedure.
Today, there are a few hair loss restoration surgeons who are willing to perform follicular unit extraction hair transplants without cutting the hair short. Called the unshaven follicular unit extraction, (UFUE), the procedure allows the patient (usually a celebrity) to have single hair follicles extracted while the hair is long. Then, before it is transplanted in the recipient area, it is cut short. Over the next year it grows out slowly and takes its place alongside nearby hair follicles. Because the growth occurs slowly and the hair on the scalp was never shaved, the procedure is said to be “undetectable” even immediately after hair follicles have been transplanted.
While this method may seem worthwhile to someone who doesn’t want their hair loss restoration procedure covered in the tabloids, there are several drawbacks. First, the safety of this procedure has not been sufficiently demonstrated. Second, it costs almost twice as much as the normal follicular unit extraction. And third, you have to go to London to have the procedure performed.
At DiStefano Hair Loss Restoration Centers, we don’t believe the safety and efficacy of the UFUE has been established. The current gold standards for hair transplants continue to be bicrosurgical follicular unit transplants and follicular unit extraction(What we call IGT™). In both methods the hair should be shaved closely, prior to the procedure.