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.

FUT Hair Transplant

Strip Scar

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.

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What is it about hair transplants that make people feel they should go for it, as though the ads that promote ‘cures to baldness’  weave a mesmeric spell?  Many surgeons state there is a certain risk. It gives the entire medical fraternity a bad name when fly-by-night operators make tall claims and then fail to deliver. A patient who had undergone 2000 hair grafts was depressed because of his surgeon’s attitude post-surgery. Before selling him the idea of a transplant, the patient was welcomed, convinced but the situation turned sour when the grafts did not grow. To make matters worse, the patient could not even have a short hair cut due to the terrible scar he was saddled with. The recipient area had healed but the surgeon was wrong in making the patient feel as though it were his fault. A surgeon first and foremost needs to be compassionate enough to treat every patient with not just medicines and operations but also proper counseling and adequate or qualitative feedback.  As for patients, they need to do thorough research before signing up for hair transplant or any such procedure and must not consider this to be some mysterious process where the outcome hinges on chance or luck. Most factors are within the control of the surgeon and his team.

However, many times women with undiagnosed conditions like alopecia may face some problems with hair grafts.

People should be aware that as they age they will face thinning hair and not fall prey to miracle peddlers and their false promises. A transplant done at thirty years of age will have different result than one which is done later. New procedures like FUE have made inroads into hair restoration, but before opting for it, a consultation with experts is vital to avoid disappointment later. Any person going in for any kind of treatment should feel free to ask questions such as density coverage, downtime, side-effects or any other concerns like a scar. The best bet would be to seek testimonials of those who have already been through the procedure. At A K Clinics we have a dedicated team of qualified professionals who educate the patient about the procedure and dispel doubts. Our centres in Ludhiana, Delhi, Mumbai are open to people from all walks of life, who want to change their tomorrow and face it with confidence.

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Our esteemed doctors Dr. Kapil Dua & Dr. Aman Dua from AK Clinics conducted a workshop on Hair Transplant in Aesthetics 2013 being held at New Delhi from 23rd Aug – 25th Aug. This conference is being attended by around 600 doctors from across the country and some neighboring countries. The most eminent doctors have been invited from across the globe to share their knowledge & experience.

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Dr Kapil Dua & Dr Aman Dua trained these doctors on various hair transplant techniques. They gave these doctors a hands-on experience of Follicular Unit Extraction ( FUE) technique. Most of them were amazed by the skill & expertise of the duo.

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