hair transplant therapy

FUT vs. FUE: Which Procedure is Right For Me?

2 Hair Transplant Surgery Procedures ( View All )

Overview

For years, hair transplant surgery has changed the lives of countless men and women around the world. Despite whichever surgical option is selected, the most important feature of a successful hair transplant involves its natural appearing cosmetic outcome without any signs of the treatment being detectable. Plano, TX hair transplant surgeon, Dr. Joseph Yaker, has the experience, acumen and artistry to produce excellent results by naturally framing the face and improving hair density using living and growing hair.

Main Difference

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) are both safe and effective hair transplant procedures that are performed to restore one’s hair loss. In the past few years, FUE has gained popularity due to its minimally invasive nature. However, FUT is still the most common procedure performed worldwide. The primary difference between the two is in the way the donor hair is removed from the back of the scalp. FUT, the "strip method", uses a scalpel to remove a thin strip of donor hair from the back of the head. The edges are then sutured together. With FUE, individual follicular units are isolated and extracted from the same donor area, using a circular micro-punch device. No stitches are required. Both approaches separate refined, healthy hair grafts that contain natural groupings of 1 to 4 hairs each, and thousands may be used during the transplant process.

Donor Area Scarring

There are differences between the scarring that forms on the donor area following surgery. With FUT, each patient will develop a narrow, linear scar that measures less than 1-2 millimeters in width. The scar is essentially undetectable, as the hair above it will conceal it. In order to minimize the chances of showing the thin scar it’s necessary to typically keep your hair no shorter than ¼ to ½ an inch.  In many instances the scar may not be evident at all except on careful examination. 

Patients who prefer to wear their hair relatively short will appreciate the FUE procedure. Instead of having one thin scar across the back of the scalp, patients who undergo FUE will have multiple tiny micro-scars. Since the hair grafts are extracted in a randomized pattern, the surrounding hair camouflages the flat circular scars so that they are virtually undetectable. For most cases, extensive shaving of the back of the scalp is required for larger cases.

Total Grafts Transplanted

A main advantage of FUT is that more hair can be transplanted in one session so patients who want more density over a larger area of hair loss would benefit from this procedure. For FUT, Dr. Yaker generally does not transplant more than 2,500 to 3,000 grafts in a day, due to the long duration of the case. For hand held motorized FUE, Dr. Yaker limits his procedure to 2,000 to 2,500 grafts due to the tedious nature of graft extraction. The ability to create dense results is no different with either technique.

Recipient Site Implantation

For both FUT and FUE procedures, recipient site creation and hair graft implantation are performed with the same aesthetic principles in mind, thereby achieving a hair density result that looks completely full and natural.

Pain and Healing

Pain is a subjective feeling so patients will have different experiences with each procedure. Hair transplantation is always done under local anesthesia and with an oral sedative, so pain during the procedure is minimal and mostly related to receiving the local anesthesia into the scalp. Postoperative pain is mild to moderate, and may last up to 7 days following an FUT procedure. Pain is usually on and around the incision line. The pain from an FUE procedure is minimal, typically lasting at most 3-4 days, as the tiny micro-dot incisions heal relatively fast.

Expected Cost

FUT allows for much larger graft extraction in a single session, and is more economical than FUE. Prices for FUE are slightly more than FUT as it is more labor intensive for the physician and his staff. FUT ranges from $4 to $7 per graft and FUE ranges from $5 to $8 per graft, depending on the size of each case.

Which is Right for You?

Both techniques, FUT and FUE, will provide each patient with incredibly youthful results. There is no best method, as each procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. Choosing which procedure is right for you is a personal decision, however, Dr. Yaker will go over both techniques in great detail during the consultation and help you determine which surgery is best suited for you.

Comparing FUT and FUE

FUT Technique FUE Technique
Use of Scalpel or Sutures Yes No
Invasiveness More Less
Hair Length Preference Medium Short
Donor Area Required For Large Sessions Long, thin strip Shave entire donor area
Scarring One linear strip Multiple, virtually undetectable micro-dots
Maximum Follicles Harvested per Session 3,000 grafts 2,000 grafts
Pain Level Mild to moderate Minimal
Healing Time of Donor Site 10-14 days 3-4 days
Return to Moderate Activities 7 days 3-5 days
Subsequent Session 12 months 2-4 months
Cost $4-$7 per graft $5-$8 per graft