FUE Hair Transplant vs FUT
As new as hair transplants may seem, the origin of this type of surgery dates back to the 19th century. Within almost 200 years, however, the field has transformed radically, currently offering innovative, safe and effective solutions to baldness issues.
If you browse the Internet on the topic of hair transplantation, you may get an idea that a lot of various techniques exist out there. In principle, however, there are only two main types of hair transplants performed today, each with its differences: FUE and FUT (also called the ‘strip’ method).
The latest techniques that have evolved in the last few years are essentially the rudiments of an FUE method. We would like to shed light on how the two vary from each other to help you with the decision on the surgery.
- FUT method: how it all began
- FUE: the advances in hair restoration surgery
- What are the differences: FUE hair transplant vs FUT
- Conclusion: choosing the right hair transplant method
FUT method: how it all began
The early days of hair restoration surgery began in the 1930s in Japan. The surgeon used to extract small sections of the skin with some hairs and place them into the areas where the skin had been damaged. Back then hair transplantation was not used as a way to treat baldness but rather restore the head of hair for fire victims.
Since the hair had been transplanted in large grafts (each containing 20-30 hairs), the procedure was criticised for giving an unnatural look. The industry reached its turning point in the 90s with the introduction of a FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation method), which is still being practised in some clinics today.
FUT hair transplant, also called the ‘strip’ method, begins with the extraction of a thin strip of skin from the back of the head with local anesthesia. Following removal, this strip contains hair follicles, sebaceous glands and nerves. The biomaterial is always taken from the back of the head, also known as the ‘donor area’. The hair in that area is DHT resistant and not prone to shedding. DHT hormone, or dihydrotestosterone, is the main reason for pattern baldness in men and women.
Then, the doctor dissects this strip of tissue into individual follicular units under a microscope, each containing 1-4 hairs. Then it is necessary to create tiny incisions to remove the donor hair, which will then be populated with the grafts. In the end, the doctor closes the wound where the strip of skin with the grafts has been taken from, which leaves a long horizontal scar.
FUE: the advances in hair restoration surgery
The world learned about the FUE method for the first time in 2002 with Bernstein’s publication ‘Follicular Unit Extraction: Minimally Invasive Surgery for Hair Transplantation.
In the FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction, the main principle and difference with the FUT method are that the grafts are harvested individually from the donor site without the need to perform a major surgical intervention. The surgeon extracts individual grafts with the help of a very thin hollow that can either be operated manually or with a micromotor. In order to ensure grafts survival, they are placed in a nutrient solution for storage.
After the extraction has been implemented, the hair transplant procedure follows the same stages as in the FUT. Namely, the specialist creates tiny holes in the area that needs the hair and inserts the grafts in them.
What are the differences: FUE hair transplant vs FUT
The FUE method was developed to improve the shortcomings of the FUT technique. It is considered a more advanced procedure for the following benefits:
Due to the less invasive nature of FUE, it takes less time for patients to recover and get back to their day-to-day lives. You can resume your duties already within a week with the reduced recovery time. In smaller transplants, even 3-5 days can be enough to recover.
No linear scar
As mentioned, the patient will have a horizontal ear-to-ear scar on the back of the head after an FUT. This scar is visible if you wear your hair short which can create an unnatural look.
In the FUE method, no cuts are made, only tiny punches. Hence, you should not worry about visible scarring. You will only have minuscule dots that can be disguised even with a short hairstyle while still having a high success rate for the transplanted hair.
Less scalp numbness
Scalp numbness is a common side effect since incisions in the tissue are made. It can take up to 6 months for the numbness to disappear. In FUE patients, the normal sensation in the areas of the scalp tends to return faster.
Better for smaller transplants
Severe or complete hair loss is not that common. Many patients need only a small partial transplant especially if they are younger than 35.
Patients are prohibited from strenuous exercise for at least two weeks after a hair transplant. This applies for both techniques as it can lead to scar widening and loosening of sutures (FUT) and excessive sweating risks infecting the grafts (FUE). The tiny punches after an FUE procedure do not widen or tend to leak, hence, you can return to your workout routine much earlier.
Almost no post-operative pain and discomfort
Again, since an FUE is not as intrusive as an FUT, the patients tend to feel less pain afterwards.
Allows for the transplantation of eyebrow hair and beard
We at Elithair practise eyebrow and beard hair transplantation, where the grafts can also be taken from the DHT-resistant area on the back of the head.
Works on tight scalps
FUT is recommended for those patients, whose scalp is lax (or loose). A tight scalp does not allow for the removal of a strip of skin. FUE can be performed on both scalp types.
The only downside of an FUE compared to an FUT is the fact that the surgery lasts longer and allows for the transplantation of fewer grafts due to the more complex and precise character of the surgery. However, for the aforementioned advantages, we only offer FUE hair transplants at Elithair.
Conclusion: choosing the right hair transplant method
The two surgery techniques used in hair restoration are FUT and FUE. While FUT is still being performed it is considered less safe and is followed by a longer recovery period. Although the length of the procedure may be longer, the safety and a natural-looking result is a priority for our patients.
In this article, we covered how the two methods work and what their differences are. Following this we hope that this information will be of use if you are considering a hair transplant. If you have any questions about thinning hair or wish to receive a free hair analysis, simply contact our consultants. We will be happy to assist you with any inquiry regarding hair transplantation.