What is FUE and FUT?
Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) has become much more popular in the last few years. 80% of our cases are FUE and this is due to the demographic of our patients. More and more men are deciding to treat their hair loss at a younger age and FUE is often more suited to younger men. This is because the area of hair loss to be treated is usually small and FUE does not leave a linear scar.
With FUE each follicle is punched out individually by a very small punch, usually only 0.9mm in diameter, a tiny scar is left behind, but is covered by a short haircut, perhaps grade 1.5/2. This gives men more flexibility when it comes to hair styling.
The biggest downside with FUE is that the number of grafts that can be obtained may often be less than with Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). The number of grafts one can harvest safely is determined by the density and the surface area of the donor, this will vary from person to person. It is important not to over harvest (take too many grafts), otherwise the back of the head can start to look patchy.
FUT is also known as strip surgery or strip harvesting. It is an older technique, but in many patients can prove to be the right option. In the majority of cases more grafts can be achieved than with FUE which is advantageous if there is a large area of hair loss to be treated.
With the FUT technique a thin strip of hair bearing skin (hence the name strip surgery) is taken from the back of the head. This leaves a linear scar and although most often only a few millimetres in width, it does limit your hair length to perhaps grade 3/4. This is the main downside of FUT surgery.
How do I choose which one is best for me?
We regularly perform both Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). The reason is because some patients are more suited to FUE and others to FUT, no two cases are the same.
When you consult with an experienced hair transplant surgeon lots of factors will be taken into account. Your age, pattern of hair loss and expectations are all relevant when suggesting which technique might be best for you.
It is not simply how many grafts can we transplant in one sitting. One of the most challenging aspects of hair restoration surgery is donor management and long-term planning. There are always a finite amount of grafts that you can transplant in someone’s lifetime.
Often patients may have multiple surgeries to address ongoing hair loss and this can be a combination of FUE and FUT, which is why it is important to consult with a surgeon experienced in both techniques.
Hopefully this article has given you a better idea of the two main surgical techniques used in hair restoration.
There are pros and cons to both techniques and one technique is certainly not ‘better’ than the other. Be wary of clinics promoting one over the other and ask whether they actually offer both techniques or not.