The decision of choosing the right method of hair transplantation is often confusing for many people. This is probably due to an excess of unauthenticated information available out there. While this may seem unnecessarily convoluted at first, once you get to know the full details your decision will become easier and clearer. This is also one of the main factors a consultant will discuss with you during a consultation to see what is right for you and your goals. So knowing the pros and cons of each will help.
FUT, also known as the ‘strip’ method stands for Follicular Unit Transplantation. The technique used in FUT is that an area of the scalp is taken from the head – usually at the back and sides – and then the individual hairs (follicular units) are removed from the strip.
The technique used in FUE, which stands for Follicular Unit Extraction, is where each individual hair is taken from the head one at a time (harvested) by using very small incisions or a punch device.
FUE method is usually carried out over a larger area of the head (donor area), whereas FUT is sometimes limited to just one area (strip) at the back.
When it comes to hair transplants, there is no right or wrong answer, but simply different techniques that can achieve the same result using a different method.
However, choosing which method to use can be tricky on your own.
That is why at Contura clinic we always give you all the details you need including the benefits of each method in order to make your decision easier.
The primary benefit of FUT is that it usually gives a higher amount of hair follicles to harvest and work with for the transplant. This can be particularly beneficial if the patient wants fullness and coverage of a large surface area.
The precise transplantation technique in FUT gives the surgeon more choice from the donor area with a better chance that more preservation of the follicle and connective tissue.
The primary benefit of FUE is that it does not leave scarring at the donor site. This also means a quicker time to heal post-surgery. Also, if the patient’s preference is to have shorter hair, particularly at the back of the head, then FUE is preferred as FUT usually requires longer hair to cover up scars in the donor area.
During a consultation, patients are always assessed to check their scalp and looseness. Sometimes patients are not able to have FUT hair transplants if the surgeon feels the scalp will not heal as it should due to the strip surgery.
FUT and FUE combined
If you are considering a hair transplant to cure balding or thinning on the head, it is possible to have both procedures.
If a patient chooses to have FUT but during the procedure, the scalp becomes too tight, it is possible to also undergo FUE. A surgeon will usually decide whether it can be performed at the same time or at another time in the future.
Sometimes with either procedure, the amount of hairs is not enough. Therefore, switching to the other is an option to maximize coverage.
A graft is a name given to the hair that is extracted from the donor site. The quality of the graft is very important in the success of the transplant both during and after the surgery. It can be the difference between more coverage of the head and recovery post-surgery.
FUT can sometimes produce better grafts than FUE because hair follicles are carefully dissected from the donor strip, potentially leaving more of the connective tissue intact. However, this can rely on the quality and skills of the surgeon performing the transplant as they need to be highly trained in precise dissection under a microscope.
With the FUE method, there are risks involved with extracting the hair follicle in the sense that connective tissue may be cut or damaged, especially as the lower part of the follicle – under the skin – and the direction it goes can only be estimated. In addition, it is very important that each hair is extracted deep enough to gather all of the follicle and connective tissue. Otherwise, some of the follicles may not be transplanted. The result of this is lower quality hair that may not grow as it should or be susceptible to damage easily.
These days technology has advanced so much so that there are now robots in use for FUE transplants. These can sometimes be more precise and of higher quality compared to manually extracting each follicle.
Another comparison to note between FUT and FUE is that hair loss is more likely to (re)occur in the future with FUE compared with FUT.
The reason behind this is that because hairs in FUT are taken in a strip from a strong area of the head (the back) that is less likely to be bald, the transplant has the potential to last longer. However, with FUE, because the hairs are taken from a larger region of the head, some may susceptible to hair loss and be of poorer quality if not taken from a more permanent area.
It is worth noting, however, that because FUE wounds are more widespread, although they heal quicker than FUT, each wound heals with a mini-scar and may make future hair transplants less possible / less successful.
Comparing the two methods is sometimes complex and there are many factors to consider. What might be right for one patient may not be right for you. It also depends on how many grafts are needed based on what you want to achieve.
If you’re considering a hair transplant, why not contact us for a consultation about FUT and FUE to see which method would suit your needs best? We are able to arrange a consultation with you to discuss your needs and advise you on the best way to proceed.