You would have certainly heard a lot about FUE and FUT, especially if you are looking to get a hair transplant in the near future. While you will certainly find a lot of information about both, it would be prudent that you understand the intricacies of both, before deciding which one would be most suited for you.
In this two part article, we will be looking at everything you need to know about follicular unit extraction and follicular unit transplantation.
The purpose of any hair restoration process would be to ensure that there is a full head of hair and that it looks as natural as possible. Over the past decades a lot of improvements have been made in this field and it was understood that the smaller and more precise the grafts, the better the results would be.
The main difference between follicular unit extraction or FUE and follicular unit transplantation or FUT is the manner in which the follicular units are extracted. In FUT, an entire strip of hair is removed and then the individual hair follicles are extracted. In FUE, individual hair follicles are extracted directly from the scalp.
Each of these procedures utilises the smallest units of hair groups, which are normally known as follicular units, and each unit normally consists of single to four hairs. In addition, both these techniques concentrate more on the quality of the hair roots, as opposed to the number of hair extracted. If the roots are destroyed during the extraction process, there is little chance that the hair will eventually take up and grow well.
In FUE, the method of extraction is with punches, extracting individual follicles, and ensuring that the roots are intact. There is also lesser damage to the skin of the donor area.
The Scarring in the Donor Area
Since the extraction techniques are different it is natural that the scars left behind will also be different. In FUT, the strip method is used, which is why a linear scar, although narrow will remain visible. However, by managing the length of the hair, the scar can be easily concealed. In the FUE process, since the hair is extracted individually, there might be some spots in the donor area which are usually not noticed with naked eye.
The Utilization of the Donor Hair
There is only one disadvantage when it comes to hair extraction in FUE – there is a limit to the number of hair follicles that can be extracted. Only a small section of hair from the donor area can be harvested. This means that not all hair can be removed in one go, even though there might be sufficient hair in the donor area.
In the FUT method, however, a long strip of hair is removed, from the middle part of the donor section. Since the entire section has been removed, therefore, all the hair from that section can be utilised. The section from the strip has been removed, is normally sutured together, which is why there is linear scar. The hair that is leftover from transplant is then redistributed in the donor area, which helps cover the ‘wound’.
There is actually much lesser hair to utilise in the FUE method, as compared to the FUT technique. Many a times, in order to compensate, doctors choose to harvest hair follicles from the lower and upper margins of the donor area. However, there is always the chance that such hair might not be of the finest quality. This is why the FUE method would not be advisable for someone who needs a larger area of the scalp covered.
Healing process of the donor area
In FUT, since an entire strip of hair is removed, there is an open and obvious wound. In order to ensure that there is no infection, the wound is immediately closed and stitched up, using an appropriate kind of suture. While there will be a linear scar left, it can easily be hidden by choosing a proper haircut and length of hair.
However, in FUE, the small puncture wounds that are created to harvest the hair follicles are left open. While there are no issues due to the scars and you can easily wear hair short.