FUT V FUE
The difference between FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) and FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) procedures is in the way the grafts are being harvested from the donor area.
In the FUE technique, the hairs are extracted individually, graft by graft, whereas in the FUT technique, the grafts are removed at once with the skin in one strip.
In both techniques, the implementation in the recipient area is the same.
This difference in extraction has several meanings.
Visual differences in the donor area
Scars – When performing the FUT technique, a strip of skin with hair follicles is removed with a scalpel. After the removal, the area is being stitched, leaving a linear scar. The size of the scar depends on the number of grafts needed. There are approximately 100 follicular units per square centimeter. If your hairstyle is about 2 cm long, the scar can be unseen. If you wear your hair short, the scar can be quite visible.
To reduce the risk of a stretched scar, doctors use tumescent anesthesia – expending the tissue by injecting fluids. This helps the surgeon keep the incision superficial. Another method some doctors use is a trichophytic closure, a technique that might allow the hair follicles on the margin of the incision to produce hair that will grow through the scar.
The FUE technique my leave only a spread series of tiny dot scars in the donor area, which are unnoticeable to the naked eye.
Shave – For a standard FUE hair transplant, it is often necessary to shave the donor area to aid extraction and transplantation.
Some doctors perform a U-FUE – Unshaven FUE hair transplant. This procedure involves careful extraction of donor’s hair, requiring considerable skill and time at every stage.
The number of grafts extracted
Due to the individual extraction of grafts carried in the FUE technique, there are limitations to the number of grafts that can and should be extracted in a single procedure. First, regarding the time involved in a large-scale extraction and second regarding the hair thinning in the donor area. It is essential to extract a number of grafts that would not leave the donor area too diluted. For best results, it is often recommended to avoid the extraction of more than 3000 grafts in a single FUE transplant.
There is new technology such as Robotic FUE, where the extraction is automated. This can shorten the procedure duration and allow more grafts to be extracted.
When performing the FUT technique, since all the grafts are extracted at once, the procedure is shorter, leaving more time for implantation of more grafts – can be double than in the FUE technique. In addition, since the grafts are extracted from a specific strip that is being removed, the doctors can exhaust all the grafts without worrying about hair thinning in the donor area.
The time required for the procedure
As mentioned above, the single extraction of grafts while performing the FUE technique can last for as much as double the time than when performing the FUT hair transplant.
The cost of the procedure
For the same reason, the FUE procedure might inflict higher costs. In time, the differences are reduced. In some places, these differences can be as low as 100-200 Euro for the entire procedure.
Which technique is the best?
Each method has its pros and cons. Both techniques have shown proven results. The answer depends mainly on the number of grafts needed and on the final look you are hoping to achieve.