If you’re like most men considering a surgical hair restoration, you probably have lots of questions about FUT hair transplant. More than likely you’ve talked to some friends or done research online. We know how quickly information and opinions can get pretty overwhelming so we thought you would appreciate some straight talk from specialists in the know…US.
When you are so desperately looking for that one solution that can free you from that embarrassing baldness, hair transplant doesn’t seem like a drastic measure. Experts would tell you that surgical treatment should be your last resort.
Firstly because it is invasive, as well as involves several risks and is considerably expensive. But many put their money on this treatment because they believe on its promise of hair restoration. And Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), which is the pioneering technique in hair transplant, is one that many are going for. Others surgeons would argue that latest techniques are much better, but there are different reasons why it is still wise to go for this procedure.
FUT or s popularly known to be the “strip method.” It is dubbed as such because the process involves having to remove a strip or piece of scalp, which contains the hair follicles. This is taken at the back portion of the head since the hairs in this area are usually the ones resistant to hormonal changes.
This piece of scalp will then be taken by hair technicians into a working area where they individually remove hair grafts using a high-powered microscope. Meanwhile, the hair surgeon sutures the back of the scalp and prepares the recipient site by creating micro slits, where each hair graft will then be implanted. This is a very crucial process because the surgeon has to space these sites in a way that would look natural once the hair actually starts to grow in.
Before and After Hair Transplant Photos by Dr Andrew Kim
Benefits of FUT Hair Transplant Technique
1. The process of removal of the hair grafts creates less transection rate, or damage to neighboring hair grafts. This means that there is better follicur unit graft yield.
2. In this treatment, micro grafts grow slightly faster.
3. The surgeon can maximize the number of hair grafts that can be harvested in one session. In some patients, especially those who are undergoing this procedure for the first time may only require one session with this approach.
4. This prevents post-operative redness.
5. This lessens the plugged look.
FUT Vs. FUE Hair Transplant Technique
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a newer technique that answers to the aesthetic concerns that FUT had. Some patients are concerned with the linear scar at the back of the head, as this can be easily visible if they keep their hair short. So to allow men to be more confident wearing their short even after hair transplant surgery, experts deviced a way to make hair graft extraction less invasive. FUE uses a punch-like device that creates a clean circular incision around the individual grafts. Without having to remove a strip of scalp, these donor grafts are removed directly from your head leaving a very fine scar that can be virtually invisible once it heals.
As appealing as it may sound, don’t just jump right into this treatment before you sort through these points.
1. FUT has lesser transection rate compared to FUE because the technician or surgeon will have better control in the removal process. FUE has the tendency to damage hair grafts within close range rendering them useless.
2. FUT, however, takes more time to heal in comparison to FUE.
3. FUT is much cheaper than FUE because it takes less time to perform. It also relatively much easier than the FUE, as the latter requires better expertise to perform it efficiently.
4. FUT has a faster extraction process allowing surgeons to finish a larger area even with just a single session, whereas, FUE may require more.
5. FUT limits the surgeon to just the hair grafts within the strip of scalp, while FUE allows the surgeon to “cherry pick” the grafts.
6. FUT takes more time to heal, but it promises maximization of the grafts taken from the strip of scalp.
FUT Hair Transplant Scar
A lot of patients are concerned about how an FUT scar just might give them away when they have their hair cut short or when they are required to wear a short hairstyle. This is why proponents of FUT deviced a way to work around this problem by creating tricophytic closures that would make scars less visible as it heals. This technique is done by trimming wound edges and pulling one side to the opposite edge where the hairs at the bottom part is pointing at an angle that faces outwards the incision instead of being sewn parallel to each other. This allows the hairs to grow through the incision decreasing the visibility of the linear scar.
Since FUE scars come in the form of small round dots, they can be scattered all over the donor area. The FUT hair transplant scar, on the other hand, is located on the middle portion of the donor area. In rare cases where the donor area thins out significantly, both FUT and FUE scars will become easily visible.
Aside from using a tricophytic closure, another good way to conceal hair transplant scarring would just be to use a more appropriate hairstyle.
FUT Hair Transplant Post Operative Period
During the post operative period, your donor area will be wrapped in a bandage to protect the incision site. This will be sensitive for the first few days. So, you need to be very careful in taking care of it making sure that you protect it from getting infected.
The surgeon will also instruct you to keep your head elevated, even as you sleep, to avoid getting the area all swollen. The post-operative period is often characterized by some mild discomfort, but can be quite manageable. The surgeon will prescribe you with the necessary medications to help you through this phase, such as analgesics for the pain and antibiotic for prophylactic treatment from infections.
1. One of the most important reminders with FUT procedure is to take special care of your incision site. You need to keep it clean and dry to ensure a faster healing. If you risk it getting infected, you increase the tendency for it to become more visible as the scar might only get bigger.
2. You are not allowed to shower for the first 24 hours and you should not haphazardly remove crusting because this might dislodge the newly implanted hair grafts.
3. You may take some analgesic as necessary or as directed by your surgeon to manage any pain or discomfort.
4. Take your antibiotic as instructed to ensure your protection from infection during this critical period of healing.
5. Surgeons usually allow patients to dab a wet soft cloth on the crusts. Remember to use a gentle motion and never wipe as if running the cloth through a table. Your grafts are still growing in and can be very sensitive from getting dislodged.
6. It is often during the second day when surgeons allow patients to take a shower. Some instruct their patients to use Isobetadine instead of the usual gentle shampoo to cleanse the area better. It should be applied very gently, making sure that you do not rub it. Then, rinse it with warm water using a cup instead of from the shower because the stream of water can dislodge the hair grafts. You also have to be careful with the donor area so as not to nudge the staples or sutures.
7. Always remember to gently pat the area dry.
8. One important reminder for the immediate post-surgical period would be to have someone assist you around the house. You can get a bit dizzy or sore during this time; therefore, it is safe to have someone do some of the chores. You don’t want to stress yourself out with intense work or activity around the house as this could put the healing areas at risk for bleeding.
FUT Hair Transplant Recovery Time
The recovery period for FUT hair transplant takes more time than other techniques due to the presence of the linear scar near the occipital area of the head. But as for the donor area, scabbing may already be present within 2-3 days time. Swelling may still be apparent on the forehead, while pain in the donor area will gradually dissipate but will often be followed by some numbness.
At about 4-6 days into the recovery period, you may notice some significant swelling, which usually settles at the bridge of the nose, on the cheeks and around the eyes. The donor area will also start to crust but you still have to be gentle in washing the area so as not to remove it prematurely.
After a week, swelling usually subsides on the recipient site. You may even feel the transplanted hair to be similar to that of a beard that is a week-old or a stubble. Meanwhile, soreness can already be relieved in the donor area, but there can still be some lingering numbness.
At about 12 days, the grafts will be rooted in place and cannot be dislodged so you can be more thorough and yet still gentle with your shampooing. Usually, surgeons ask their patients to come back for a follow check-up. It is also around this time when sutures or staples will be removed.
It is by the end of the second week where things can get rather sad to look at, as your transplanted hairs start to shed. This should not cause any alarm though because this is only natural because it is your body’s way of saying that it is making way for new and stronger hair follicles. This phenomenon is what is referred to as shock loss.
By the end of a month, the follicles will still be in its resting phase making you look like how you did before you had the procedure. But do take heart because things will be looking up for you in the next few weeks. You should also remain to be very careful with your donor area and avoid subjecting yourself to strenuous activity because your healing scalp is still fragile.
It is within 2-5 months time where the newly transplanted hair starts to grow in. These can be very fine hairs at first.
At 6-10 months, your newly transplanted hairs can already be groomed and you will also notice that it also has a slight change in texture. The donor site, on the other hand, is getting more stronger. Most surgeons would have patients come back for another check up to see how their recovery is coming along.
You can appreaciate the full effect of your FUT hair transplant surgery around a year’s time. In fact, some would even need a haircut already.
FUT Hair Transplant Cost
As mentioned earlier, FUT hair transplant cost is cheaper than FUE. But you have to understand that clinics also charge by the graft on top of the surgeon’s fee, theatre fee and the anesthesiologist’s fee.
The price of hair grafts can change in different regions. But on average, it would cost $6 for a single graft. But if you want a more detailed and specific price, it pays to personally consult a surgeon. This way you will be able to get a quote based on the amount of work that needs to be done for your specific case.
The Australian Institute of Hair Restoration offers you a personal consultation free of charge where you will receive information on your options.
You are welcome to book a free consultation. Just call us on 1300 733 092 or e-mail email@example.com