If you want to know what differentiates the FUE technique from FUT, and which one is the best method of hair transplantation, read this article.
Patients suffering from baldness know this very well: hair transplantation is today the most suitable surgical solution to correct their hair problems definitively and aesthetically. But when they start doing research on the internet or discussing with their surgeon, they realize they must choose between the most popular hair transplant techniques: FUT hair transplant and FUE hair transplant.
The two procedures allow you to find natural hair, whatever your hair type is. In both cases, the doctor harvest hair follicles from the area spared from the androgenetic alopecia phenomenon and then transplants them into the bald area. If you want to know what differentiates the FUE technique from FUT, read this article.
What differentiates the two hair transplantation techniques is the method of removing hair follicles. In an FUE hair transplant, each follicular unit is individually removed directly from the scalp using a micro-punch, without any band of tissue. The hair follicles are removed randomly and the result is a lower density of harvesting in the donor region that many patients don’t even see them.
The FUT process involves removing a small strip from the back of the scalp, then the hair follicles are extracted by specialists before being individually transplanted into the recipient areas. In most cases, and especially in cases of advanced, large hair loss, FUT is the most recommended method because FUT allows the surgeon to transplant more follicles in a single session so it can better meet the patient’s expectations.
During the consultation session, the doctor carefully examines the patient’s hair characteristics. In particular, it seeks to measure:
The two hair transplant techniques, FUT and FUE, are possible, whatever the hair density and the number of hairs per follicle are. But in general, for large baldness, FUT is more recommended.
When patients have fine hair, it is sometimes recommended to do a FUT hair transplant, because, with the FUE method, the “density effect” is less.
For patients of European and Asian origin, there is no particular limitation either to the FUE transplant or to the FUT transplant. However, for patients with frizzy hair, the FUT technique is strongly recommended. They have the particularity of curling under the dermal capillaries and the strip sample allows to considerably reduce the risk of the bad sample.
The flexibility of the scalp, also known as “scalp laxity” – is another criterion that must be taken into account when considering a FUT transplant, since insufficient laxity will make the healing of the donor area difficult. The laxity of the scalp is assessed during the preoperative clinical examination. If the surgeon concludes that the scalp flexibility is insufficient, then he may recommend an FUE transplant rather than a FUT transplant.
During the preoperative clinical examination, the surgeon precisely measures the size of the area that will have to be corrected during hair transplantation. If the baldness is small or medium, the FUE transplant will be the most appropriate solution, since you can remove up to 2,000 grafts in one session. On the other hand, if the alopecia is diffuse or very advanced and the patient’s capillary reserve allows it, then the doctor will rather recommend a FUT transplant because this technique allows to extract and transplant up to 4,000 grafts in a single session.
Note that it is quite possible to correct large alopecia with the FUE technique, but this requires several sessions. Furthermore, if the alopecia is very advanced, the surgeon can practice both techniques during the same session. In this case, the surgeon uses the FUT method to remove the hair follicles from the back of the scalp and the FUE method to remove the hair follicles from other areas of the scalp or other parts of the body. In total, this combined use of the FUT and FUE procedures makes it possible to increase the size of the donor area by 30 to 50%.
Whatever the grafting technique used in hair transplants, the intervention is completely painless, as it is performed under local anesthesia. For the most sensitive patients, the surgeon can even prescribe an ointment to make the anesthetic injection painless.
According to patients’ experiences, they have more discomfort after FUT than FUE, possibly due to swelling and inflammation in areas where the strip is removed. However, these pains are very mild and are controlled by painkillers. Usually, it doesn’t take more than 3 days to heal. Because FUE is a less invasive procedure, it causes less postoperative pain.
Both techniques are relatively simple and have a very manageable recovery period. Totally, hair transplant procedures are outpatient surgeries, with some patients returning to work the next day.
In the case of small baldness, the two grafting techniques can be used without shaving. On the other hand, if the baldness is vast, the FUE procedure needs shaving all or part of the scalp. Some experts highly recommend the FUT method to patients, especially women since in the new FUT technique, it is no longer necessary to shave either the donor or the recipient area. Choosing the FUT method, fewer sessions will be required to transplant the same number of grafts without the need for shaving.
The FUE procedure is longer than the FUT hair transplant, simply because the extraction of grafts in FUE is done follicular unit by follicular unit. It, therefore, takes 3 to 3:30 hours for 1,000 grafts and 5 to 6 hours for 2,000 grafts. On the other hand, for a FUT transplant, the patient remains between 2 to 5 hours on the operating chair, depending on the size of the area to have hair transplants. In the FUT method during this time scale, more than 4000 grafts can be transplanted in the donor area.
As the FUE procedure involves the individual removal of hair follicles from the scalp, there is no linear scar left behind. However, there will be tiny puncture marks with a diameter of 1 mm or less that tend to heal on their own after scabbing in the days following the procedure. These small sores usually heal in 7 to 10 days.
The FUT strip extraction method generally gives a very narrow linear scar at the back of the head (usually with a diameter of 1 mm or less). As the scar is very thin, it is easily concealed by even the shortest haircut styles. Over time the scar will become less noticeable as it heals.
Each hair transplant method has its advantages and disadvantages. As we said with FUE there is no linear scar or any other scar. Also, it allows a shorter recovery period and less risk of infection. Even more, with the FUE technique, any area of the body can be used as the donor region. This is especially useful when patients want to have a hair transplant on the face or other areas of the body. All of these benefits are, of course, the result of its minimally invasive nature.
Given all of this, FUE is more expensive than FUT, so it is not part of the budget of some people. Also, it is possible to transplant a larger number of hair follicles in less time in the FUT method without the need for shaving.
Both FUE and FUT methods have changed a lot today and have had very successful results. It depends entirely on the knowledge and experience of your surgeon who can choose and recommend the best option for you.