When it comes to hair transplant, there are two major techniques in use: Follicular Hair Transplantation (otherwise known as FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (also known as FUE.)
Both methods involve the removal of healthy hair follicles from a donor area and transplanting them at the area of visible hair loss. Both are serious medical procedures that need to take place in a sterile operating room under hospital conditions and in both instances, the patient is awake throughout the operation due to the use of local anesthetics.
In order to help you decide which method suits you the best, we’ve summed up the advantages and the disadvantages of the two methods:
FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation)
The Procedure: The FUT method, also known as the “classic method,” has been around for approximately 20 years. The procedure is more invasive and the healing time is longer as it requires the removal of a strip of tissue from the patient’s scalp. The hair follicles then, are removed one by one and grouped into grafts for transplantation. (For more on the differences between a follicle and a graft, please click here.)
Pros: The patient does not need to shave their hair before the operation and may keep the operation a complete secret if they wish to do so. The operation is completed within a mere 4-6 hours and up to 2000 grafts may be harvested at once. Therefore, it is also the more affordable option, price-wise.
Cons: The procedure leaves the donor area with a scar of 10-12cm (4-5 inches) and the patient may want to avoid shorter hairstyles after the operation so that the scars won’t be visible.
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)
The procedure: Compared to the FUT, FUE is a slightly newer method and has been implemented in Turkey since 2004. It involves the removal or hair follicles one by one from the donor area, by the use of a small, circular punch. The punch may be robotic (micromotor FUE) or operated directly by hand (manuel FUE.) (A small note here: micromotor FUE tool still needs to be managed by hand, so it’s not completely motorized – but more on this later) The grafts then, are placed onto the transplant area.
Pros: As there’s no strip of the scalp removed, the method is less invasive as there’s no scarring and the healing time is faster. Up to 4000-4400 grafts may be harvested in a single operation. The patient may choose to wear their hair short following the operation, if they wish to do so.
Cons: The patient needs to shave their hair prior to the procedure and thus can’t really hide the fact that they’re having a hair transplant. The duration of the operation is 6-8 hours and the doctors may propose to complete the transplant in 2-3 days. Therefore it is also more costly.