While hair loss was once an untreatable condition, there are now many solutions available that enable patients to hold on to their locks. Two of the most popular hair restoration methods are Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). While they are both incredibly effective, they are different in several ways.
When choosing between FUE and FUT procedures, there are many factors that need to be considered. Some of these include the patient's hair type, the severity of their hair loss, and their desired results. It is first important to understand the differences between these treatments in terms of their methods, benefits, and side effects.
FUE Hair transplant
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a hair transplant procedure in which individual hair follicles are extracted from the donor site (usually the back of the head) and transplanted into the recipient areas (usually the hairline and/or crown). This minimally-invasive procedure is considered to be less painful than FUT.
How FUE works
The procedure involves the following steps:
- The donor area is shaved and a local anesthetic is administered to ensure proper numbing
- A small punch tool is used to extract follicles from the scalp
- The extracted hair follicles are separated into individual grafts to prepare them for transplantation
- Small incisions are created in the recipient zones to prepare for transplantation
- A specialized tool is used to carefully implant the follicles
- This process is repeated until the desired amount of hair is transplanted
Benefits and risks
Some of the benefits of FUE hair transplantation include:
- Minimal scarring
- Quick recovery time (just a few days)
- Less painful than FUT
- More natural-looking results (particularly along the hairline)
Some of the risks of FUE include:
- Infection (at both the donor and recipient sites)
- Scarring (while there is usually minimal scarring, some patients may develop more)
- Shock loss (temporary hair loss in the recipient zone, which is totally normal when new follicles are introduced)
FUT Hair Transplant
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is another hair restoration procedure that involves extracting a strip of skin from the donor area, typically from the back of the head, and then dividing it into individual hair grafts. These grafts are then transplanted into the target areas. The surgeon begins the procedure by administering local anesthesia to the donor sites.
A strip of skin is then extracted from the donor site and implanted into the balding areas. The incisions are then closed with sutures.
Benefits and risks
Some of the benefits of FUT hair transplantation include:
- Ability to transplant a larger number of grafts than that of an FUE hair transplant procedure
- Overall higher success rates thanks to more grafts surviving the transplantation
- A less expensive procedure than FUE
As with any surgical procedure, FUE hair transplantation comes with some risks. Some of these include:
- Scarring in the donor areas
- Numbness or damage to the nerves
- Bleeding or infections at the donor and implant sites
- Swelling and bruising
FUE vs FUT Hair Transplant
Comparing the Techniques
FUE and FUT are both incredibly popular hair transplant methods that are distinct in the way they extract hair grafts from the donor sites. FUE treatments consist of harvesting individual hair follicles from the back of the scalp using a small punch device. FUT, on the other hand, is a process that involves extracting a strip of flesh from the same donor area and separating it into individual follicles.
The primary advantage of FUE is that patients won’t have any linear scars on the back of their heads, which is typical with FUT. Beyond that, FUE gives practitioners more control over how the grafts are placed in the scalp, allowing for a more natural-looking hairline. That said, FUE is a longer procedure that costs more money, and it isn’t suitable for patients who have more extensive hair loss and a limited donor area.
While FUT is definitely a quicker and more cost-effective procedure, patients must keep in mind that they are likely to walk away with a noticeable scar on the back of their heads.
What is the takeaway?
When making the decision between FUE and FUT, multiple factors need to be taken into account. These include the severity of the patient’s hair loss, the quality of their donor area, their age, their overall health, and their personal preferences. Patients who are only dealing with minimal hair loss will benefit more from FUE, while those with more extensive balding may need to undergo FUT.
When looking into these procedures, it is vital to refer to a qualified hair transplant specialist who can properly assess the patient's hair loss and make a recommendation based on what they see. Taking this path will ensure that patients end up with a result that they are happy with, leaving them feeling more confident than ever.