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Choosing A Hair Transplant Procedure: FUT vs FUE

Making the decision to have a hair transplant to combat hair loss can seem like a daunting, even terrifying prospect.

The attraction of a modern hair transplant procedure is often its long-term and permanent solution to hair loss, however this can be the very thing to put us off having one as a flurry of anxious questions come to mind.

As you start planning, and saving for, an effective hair loss solution, let us look at the most important considerations and answer those burning questions you might have about hair transplant procedures, so you can feel confident you’ve chosen the right one for you.

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) Method

During an FUE hair transplant, the hair follicles are individually extracted. As with either hair transplant procedure, you will be laying down on your front whilst the extraction occurs and will have a comfortable head rest so you can maintain a relaxed position. With FUE, the surgeon will select hair follicles, one-by-one and separate the follicular units by making a circular incision with a punch. Once the grafts are extracted, the donor area is covered with an antiseptic dressing that can be removed the following day. The procedure time is similar to that of FUT.

For some eligible FUE patients, the ‘no-shave’ method may apply, whereby the patient needn’t shave the area before surgery. This is usually only suitable for smaller areas. Eligibility for this however can be discussed with your surgeon prior to booking.

FUE Advantages

  • Less visible scarring for short hair styles
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Painless surgery
  • Less visible scarring for short hair styles
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Painless surgery

Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) Or ‘Strip Method’

With an FUT surgical hair procedure, hair follicles or ‘follicular units’ (FUs) are extracted together carefully in a strip, from a hair-abundant donor area usually at the back of the scalp. The procedure takes between five and eight hours to administer. Once extracted, the hair follicles are maintained under a microscope as each one is placed into prepared circular incisions made by your surgeon in the hair loss area.

The majority of hair transplant patients still choose this method for their hair restoration procedure.

FUT Advantages

  • Which hair transplant, FUT or FUE?
  • Are the results the same?
  • Is there a price difference?
  • How will I know which is right for me?

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Aesthetic Results And Scarring

While both procedures produce natural-looking results due to the use of the patients’ own donor hairs, the scarring from the procedures are different. The FUT or strip method leaves a linear scar. While the scar is narrow in appearance and does not interfere with hair growth in and around it, this may affect general hair appearance in those patients wanting to wear their hair short or very short.

Following an FUE surgery, the scarring manifests as subtle, dot-like scars due to the individual follicle extraction and use of a small punch. Some patients feel reassured about this aspect of recovery, and as above, particularly those with short hair styles as the scarring will be hardly visible. Patients should bear in mind that in either case, scarring can vary and is also dependent on previous hair transplant procedures performed in the area. These considerations can be discussed with your specialist prior to the procedure.

Discomfort Levels And Recovery Time

The pain or sensitivity experienced during an FUT hair surgery will depend on the patient themselves, however a local anaesthetic is of course always applied. The initial recovery time for both FUT and FUE is six to eight days. The time it takes for hair growth to appear in both procedures is around 3-6 months.

FUE surgery tends to be painless and also entails a shorter recovery time. FUE patients tend not to experience the potential extended scalp ‘numbing’ feeling which can occur with FUT for up to six months following the procedure. Swelling will occur with both procedures as the scalp recovers from the surgery and will last up to six or eight days. Post-op self-care instructions via your specialist are essential and will ensure as swifter a recovery as possible.

Hair transplant hair loss or ‘shock hair loss’ as it is rather unsuitably named, is the experience of hair loss following the surgery, about two to four weeks after. This occurrence however, as your specialist will tell you, is not a shock but to be expected, with hair follicles shedding any remaining weakened hairs and the new hairs taking time to gather strength.

Wimpole Clinic