For patients who are familiar with hair transplants the letters FUE and FUT are commonly heard from surgeons or patients who are searching for the best solution to male pattern baldness. While they can be confusing, they are two different methods of transplanting hair and the more people know about them, the more they will discover which is the better option. Below are some of the most-commonly asked questions about FUT and FUE and why the former is the method you should go for.
What is FUT?
Follicular Unit Transplantation or FUT is the hair restoration technique that transplants the patients hair in groups of 1 to 4 hairs called follicular units. This method enables the safe transplant of thousands of grafts in one session, maximizing the impact of the transplant.
Aside from the logistical success of the procedure, the FUT is already a big step into the right direction because it has lessened the risks of additional damage to the hair follicles. The old technology required the multiple harvesting of the strips, damaging the follicular units in each strip. Since everything can be done in one session, the follicles are preserved better.
The Difference Between FUT and FUE
Getting the donor hair from a safe donor region can be done in two ways. With the Follicular Unit Extraction, each hair graft is individually transferred from the donor site to the balding area.While in Follicular Unit Transplant, the grafts are removed in strips. Aside from this aspect, both are pretty much the same. Although there are more clinics that offer FUE, it is because this type needs a smaller team who will perform the procedure.
Why Choose FUT Over FUE?
Regardless of their similarities, FUT has particularly separated itself from the comparison and has become a better option for most patients who are looking for a surgical hair restoration option. Below are some of the reasons that you might want to consider.
1. Highest Hair Yield
One of the best reasons for choosing FUT is its ability to provide the highest hair yield among the other hair transplant methods. There are so many reasons for the FUT to be able to do this, including its method of microscopic dissection which allows the harvest from good donor areas. So, if you want to restore the full body and length of the hair’s former glory, FUT can be an appropriate option.
2. Better Graft Quality
Both the FUT and FUE have the same goal and that is to transplant high-quality grafts to achieve the desired results of the patient and bring their hair back to its former glory without looking artificial.
To be more specific, the said grafts are those that come from the most permanent donor areas and are not damaged in any form and most importantly have a protective layer of tissue that covers the follicles. This layer effectively reduces the incidents of mechanical injury while insertion is being performed.
Since the donor strip from the scalp that is removed for FUT is done with the use of dissecting stereo-microscopes, you can expect the follicular units to be accurately isolated while keeping their protective tissues undamaged. With this kind of protection, the grafts have a greater chance of being transplanted successfully. This is particularly true when the clinical assistants are trained in stereo-microscopic dissection.
3. Utilization of Donor Hair
Another critical factor in the success of the transplant is the proportion of the follicular units that are harvested. The follicular units that come from the outer edges of the donor area have a better chance of being lost over time as it surrenders to the unstoppable process of balding. However, if they come from the mid-portion of the donor area, they are more resistant to balding and should be used for the procedure.
This is the reason why FUT uses donor strips that are dissected from the mid-portion, which is not the case for FUE. There is a bigger number of follicular units needed for FUE because the surgeon can only harvest one out of every five follicles in a certain area, which is very little compared to 100% usage of the follicles with the FUT method. This forces the surgeons to harvest from the upper and lower margins of the donor area and leads to harvesting from a bigger region outside of the ideal donor areas. Since quantity is placed before quality, the quality of the follicles is not ideal for the transplant with some of these follicular units eventually falling off.
4. Utilization of the Donor Sites
The wounds from the Follicular Unit Extraction are small, but they are left to heal creatinga number of tiny scars. Surgeons who support the FUE over the FUT would argue that such scars are very small. Meanwhile, others would argue that such scarring distorts the adjacent follicular units which makes the next sessions more difficult to fulfill. Consequently, the available donor supply of the FUE becomes limited. On the other hand, the scarring in FUT is localized in one strip and stays that way for all the necessary procedures you may need the follicles for.
Although new techniques and instrumentation significantly decrease the amount of transection and damage during the extraction process, the inability to fully access the mid-portion of the permanent zone in a hair transplant procedure still limits the total amount of hair available with FUE. This represents a significant disadvantage of FUE since a limited donor supply is the main factor that prevents a complete hair restoration in many patients, particularly those with moderate to advanced balding.
5. Scarring of the Donor Area
One of the most important concerns of hair transplant is scarring and there are some important differences between the FUE and the FUT regarding this. As mentioned before, the FUT involves a linear incision, creating a fine scar. Though more visible than the scars from the FUE method, they can only be seen when the patient decides to get a very short hair-cut. However, this means that if the patient wants another strip procedure, the initial scar can be removed when the new donor strip is created leaving the patient with just one scar. Such is the opposite with the FUE. Even if the scars are minute, the subsequent procedure will produce new scars and will be added to the first one. More than the visibility, it adversely distorts the adjacent follicular units, making the next procedures more difficult for the surgeons.
Deciding to get a hair transplant is a challenging decision to make.It is important that one carefully considers the method which is best suited for the existing hair condition and desired results. And this is where a thorough consultation with a hair transplant surgeon is crucial.
If you are in Australia, Dr. Andrew Kim of the Australian Institute for Hair Restoration is someone you can approach for your surgical hair restoration concerns. Dr. Kim is known for his skills in performing both the FUE and FUT hair transplant methods. Call us now or simply fill out our inquiry form to schedule your consultation with Dr. Kim today!