It is easy to assume that one hair transplant is very much the same as another, but as with any form of surgery there are different techniques favoured by different surgeons. When it comes to hair transplant, the two major techniques under consideration are FUT – follicular unit transplant – and FUE – follicular unit extraction.
Whilst to a hair loss expert, the differences between these two methods of transplanting hair might be obvious, to a patient it might not be so simple, so here is a summary of the main differences between the two techniques.
Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)
More commonly known as a ‘strip’ hair transplant, FUT involves the removal of follicles from the donor area by taking a strip of scalp, from which the follicles are extracted afterwards. This has the obvious disadvantage of leaving a more obvious scar at the back of the head, or chosen donor area, however there are also some advantages of the FUT method.
When the hair is removed in a strip, all the hair follicles are harvested from the mid-portion of the donor area, where the hair is strongest and most permanent. This means that the transplanted follicles are often stronger and stand a better chance of surviving transplantation.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
In an FUE hair transplant, hair follicles are removed from the donor area individually, leaving a series of tiny, ‘micro scars’. This makes FUE the more popular treatment nowadays, as the scarring is less noticeable, however there are some disadvantages to FUE.
The follicles transplanted in this way tend to be much more sensitive and liable to damage during transplantation. This can be minimised by the use of new machines, but it is worth taking into consideration. It is also important to consider the method of removing the hair follicle – if a large punch needle is used, it can cause damage to the surrounding skin and make scarring more obvious.
Not a permanent solution
As discussed previously, hair transplant surgery is not a permanent hair loss solution, so further surgery may well be needed in future. Although this is possible with both the FUT and FUE techniques, with the FUE method, scarring will actually worsen with each subsequent operation, as more and more individual hair follicles are removed. With the FUT method, the first scar is completely removed during the second procedure, so you are still left with only one scar.