We receive numerous emails and phone calls each week, asking about which is better – FUE or FUT.
Here is a concise description and comparison of both procedures:
First of all, it is important to understand what each of the procedures is – while FUE stands for Follicular Unit Extraction, FUT stands for Follicular Unit Transplantation. In FUT, the technique utilised is the strip technique; wherein, a small strip of the scalp skin is removed from the back of the head and hair follicles from the same are harvested. However, in the FUE method, individual hair follicles are extracted directly from the scalp and then transplanted.
FUE Hair Transplant
For us, as doctors, the most important aspect is not only the technique but also how many grafts we can get from a donor area; rather, we are more concerned about the quality and the quantity of each hair follicle which can be harvested. The better condition the root is in, the greater the chances of it holding steady and growing properly.
Now let’s take a look at the other aspects and their comparison, in terms of FUE and FUT:
Number of grafts and density: A strip is usually preferred if higher number of grafts are required as more grafts can be obtained from a smaller area and protecting rest of the donor area at the same time. Thus if the grade of baldness is higher and the donor area is not very good, strip technique is usually preferred.
Speed of the surgery: It is usually considered that the strip technique takes less time. However in the hands of an experienced FUE surgeon, the grafts can be extracted within the same time period or even less, at times.
Survival rate of the follicular units: Carefully done, the grafts in either method can survive well, but there is a slight problem with the FUE method. The protective tissue around each follicle is much less in FUE, leaving the graft more susceptible to drying and hence dying. However, when carefully done with proper handling of the grafts, the rate of survival can improve drastically.
Scarring: The manner in which the scars appear are different in FUT and FUE – while in the former there will be a linear scar, in the latter, there will only be dots or micro scars. So, if someone is planning to keep their hair short, FUT would not be a great choice for them.
Sutures : In FUT, the wound is closed with sutures and this produces the linear scar. FUE, on the other hand uses <1mm punches for extraction leaving behind small micro scars that heals on its own. It is thus a suture less surgery
Healing: Postoperative healing is slightly longer with FUT and the stitches need to be removed after a week. Many people who have undergone the same have also spoken about a pull on their scalp, but this sensation disappears over a matter of a few days. The healing period is much shorter with FUE and normal activities can be resumed after a much shorter time. Not only is this treatment faster, it also causes minimal pain.
Cost : FUT is cheaper compared to FUE due to the ease of doing the procedure. FUE needs special instruments and the surgeon has to be extremely skilled for doing the surgery at the right pace.
Thus the final decision to go for an FUE or FUT depends on the patient preference and the skill of the surgeon. The other steps of transplant procedure like making holes and implantation of grafts remains the same in both techniques and needs to be done with great care for the best final results.