Hair transplantation is a medical procedure in which hair follicles are removed from one region of the body, known as the ‘donor area,’ and transplanted to another section of the body, known as the ‘recipient area,’ which has thinning hair. The treatment is most commonly used to treat male pattern baldness. Globally, most men (70%) and 50% of women, suffer from androgenetic alopecia, which is permanent hair loss. In some cases, a hair transplant can help to alleviate the medical condition.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)/strip and Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) – also known as Follicular Unit Extraction – are the two most common procedures of hair transplantation. Both procedures are highly successful hair restoration procedures with a high success rate. So, what exactly is the distinction between them?
Individual follicular units are excised directly from the scalp in FUE hair transplants, but in FUT hair transplants a strip of donor skin is removed from which individual follicular units are extracted and transplanted to the areas of hair loss.
What is the FUE and FUT Hair Transplantation?
In the FUT transplantation method, a strip of hair-bearing skin is taken from the donor area of the scalp, which is commonly at the back of the head. FUT is often termed as “strip surgery” because of this. The number of hairs per square centimetre of donor scalp and how flexible (or lax) the scalp skin is will affect the long-term donor hair supply. In general, when compared to FUE, the FUT treatment provides access to a greater lifetime donor hair supply.
In this method, the strip is methodically divided into microscopic grafts of individual follicular units comprised of one to four hairs under high-powered microscopes by the surgical team. Until they are implanted, these grafts are kept in a cold tissue storage solution. The donor region is sewn up and concealed by the surrounding hair in most cases. The stitches are removed after 10 to 14 days, and the donor area heals to form a linear scar.
A FUE technique involves shaving the donor area of the scalp, and then individually extracting one or two hair follicles per millimetre. It is possible to use a motorised surgical tool or perform the process by hand.
There will be a few microscopic scars on the scalp as a result of the FUE procedure, but they are so minute that they are hardly perceptible. Hair in the donor area thins out over time as more FUE procedures are performed, resulting in more dot scars. Consequently, surgeons and patients must exercise caution to ensure that a sufficient supply of donor hair is available for long-term plans.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of the FUT and FUE Hair Transplantation
It’s important to note that both the FUT procedure and the FUE procedure have their advantages and disadvantages. The FUT procedure is typically thought of as more advanced, despite the fact that they both produce excellent results. As a result, the best method or the most appropriate method is largely determined by the individual demands and characteristics of the patient.
Advantages of FUE
- There is little to no scarring on the scalp of patients following the FUE hair operation.
- FUE is suitable for patients who desire to maintain short hair.
- FUE is suitable for patients who just require a few grafts in their hairline.
- FUE heals more quickly than FUT.
Disadvantages of FUE
- It is time consuming, particularly the time spent extracting grafts.
- In terms of relative prices, FUT vs. FUE, FUE is significantly more expensive than FUT.
Advantages of FUT
- When comparing FUT vs. FUE, FUT often delivers a greater output of hair than FUE. The FUT hair operation is suitable for people who require significant grafting. For patients who want to restore their hair’s fullness, this is a tremendous benefit.
- Even if the hair is partially cut, it is possible for the patient to cover up a linear scar with their remaining hairs.
- In comparison to FUE, the FUT method requires less time in the operating room because of the smaller size of the donor area and the amount of grafts that must be transplanted. FUE, on the other hand, can take up to ten hours to perform, depending on the size of the donor area and the number of grafts needed.
- In general, FUT procedures are less expensive than FUE procedures.
Disadvantages of FUT
- Even with today’s improved techniques for stitching up the donor incision, the linear scar can still be seen, so it must be covered up.
- It takes 10-14 days to get back to full health after the transplant
Cost of Hair Transplant Surgery
The cost of a FUE hair transplant is typically higher than that of a FUT hair transplant because each hair is extracted and implanted individually. Depending on how many implants are required for a patient, the cost of the treatment will vary. Between $4,000 and $15,000 might be expected as a cost. A FUT hair transplant procedure, on the other hand, can cost between $4,000 and $10,000. Prices for grafts are typically based on how many are required. The total cost of the surgery, on the other hand, is determined by the patient’s condition and desired outcome.
How Long Does a Hair Transplant Take?
FUE is frequently performed in a series of sessions ranging from two to four hours each, spread out over a few days. A “mega session” can last anywhere from 10 to 12 hours in extreme situations. In most cases, you can return to your normal routine after each session. However, the FUT hair transplant surgery takes between four and twelve hours on average, but the FUE hair transplant procedure might take up to two to three months on average.
Which Type Of Hair Transplant Is Best For Me?
The decision between FUT hair transplant and FUE hair transplant will be based on a number of parameters, which will be discussed in detail during your consultation with your doctor. Patients who require a bigger number of hair grafts due to more severe hair loss are frequently better candidates for a FUT operation, as FUT grafts typically provide a greater number of follicles for transplantation.
For those who just require a small number of grafts or who prefer to return to their normal activities as soon as possible after their transplant, FUE transplants may be a better option because the recovery time following a FUE surgery is typically quicker due to the technique being less intrusive.
During your consultation, your surgeon will determine which process is most appropriate for your transplant requirements, which will include evaluating the number of grafts required, the quality of the donor’s hair, and the amount of donor’s hair available.