Ready for the ultimate showdown FUE vs FUT hair transplant? Follicular Unit Extraction and Follicular Unit Transplantation are the popular hair transplant procedures available to restore thicker, fuller locks. There is a never-ending debate about which method delivers remarkable results with minimum complications.
It is one of the important decisions for surgeons to establish which surgical procedure is suitable for the patient. Before discussing the differences, both procedures share some interesting commonalities, for instance, high success rate and lifelong results. There are some notable differences that a patient should be aware of before the surgery.
FUE vs FUT Hair Transplant
The main difference between the FUT and FUE hair transplant is how the hair follicles are harvested. Moreover, there are specific distinctions between the two procedures in terms of cost, appearance, and recovery time.
Patients will understand the differences better once they know what these procedures are.
Follicular Unit Extraction – FUE is a newer surgical technique that is a little more time-consuming and complex than FUT. This procedure involves the use of minimally invasive technology to extract individual follicles for grafting.
The follicular grafts are then prepared for implantation and then transplanted into bald patches and areas of the scalp with visible thinning.
Even though FUE is a modern technique, it has become a more popular and preferred option than FUT. As per the 2022 ISHRS Practice Census, 75.4% of male patients chose the FUE hair transplant procedure.
Follicular Unit Transplantation – FUT, otherwise known as Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS), involves cutting a strip of skin from the area of the scalp not affected by DHT and transplanting to the balding part of the head. The size of the strip depends on the bald area that needs to be covered and the number of hair follicles required.
It leaves a noticeable, elongated scar in the donor site which makes the recovery time longer.
This procedure has evolved to be more efficient and advanced than it was a decade ago. Over time, it has become less common as most patients opt for FUE hair transplants.
Difference Between FUE and FUT Hair Transplant
These procedures offer the same, remarkable outcome, in different ways. The best hair restoration procedure between the two is the one that meets the patient’s needs and restores a fuller head of hair.
The following comparison of FUT and FUE will help you understand these procedures better.
What truly sets these two surgical methods apart is how the procedure is performed. Both hair transplant methods follow a different approach when harvesting hair follicles and preparing them for implantation.
With FUE surgery, the donor zone of the scalp is shaved and the healthy follicles with the highest chance of survival are selected for implantation. Small, circular incisions are made in the recipient areas and the harvested hair follicles are inserted into the incisions to cover the thinning area.
In FUT/Strip Procedure, the physicians cut a strip of tissue from the donor site for transplanting hair, hence the name, strip surgery. The area of the scalp where the strip is removed is closed with stitches. Next, the hair transplant surgeon will separate the hair follicles from the strip of the scalp and transplant them into small holes made in the recipient area.
FUE is more intricate and time-consuming as it involves extracting individual follicular unit grafts using a micro punch or motorized surgical tools. Since FUE surgery is technically complex and takes longer, it costs more than the FUT hair transplant procedure.
In comparison, FUT is less intricate and does not take as long to complete as FUE surgery, therefore, less expensive. Most patients requiring a huge number of grafts opt for the low-cost FUT procedure.
FUE is a stitch-less hair transplant procedure that completely eliminates the complications associated with stitching the donor site.
In contrast, the surgeon may close the wound using staples or sutures after the FUT surgery. Stitches are removed once the wound is healed which usually takes about 10 days.
FUE leaves small wounds and little to no scars which heal quickly, giving a more natural look. This method of harvesting follicles is cleaner and lets you resume work and normal activities within a couple of days or so.
Comparably, FUT surgery leaves a conspicuous scar which will be concealed eventually once the hair grows long.
FUE has a quicker recovery time and the patient does not have to follow strict aftercare instructions as tiny wounds heal quickly.
After FUT, the patient has to follow strict post-operative care to heal the donor site. Since the wound is closed with stitches, the recovery timeline is considerably longer than FUE.
These procedures are not painful as the patient is under anesthesia, however, the person may feel discomfort and soreness after surgery. FUE is minimally invasive, therefore, the pain, discomfort, and soreness do not last long after the procedure.
Which Hair Transplant Procedure is the Best?
Usually, it is the surgeon that determines which type of procedure is better for the patient and the number of existing hair follicles. It is a close call when it comes to the effectiveness and outcome of these procedures.
In addition, both procedures have nearly similar success rates, however, fewer side effects and minimum complications give the FUE method an edge.
A lot of factors come into play when deciding between the two procedures. FUT is for patients who do not mind coming for touch-up procedures, have long hair on the side or back of the head, and want fullness and better coverage.
On the other hand, FUE is popular for its shorter recovery times, little to no scarring, minimal discomfort during or after the surgery, and fewer side effects.
Lastly, only a qualified surgeon can determine the best method for the patient based on their age, hair loss, hair availability on the donor site, and the size of the balding patch. After consultation, the doctor will take into account all the factors to decide which procedure is better for the patient.