If you have ever done any research into hair transplantation surgery, you have no doubt run across the terms “FUT” and “FUE.” They stand, respectively, for Follicular Unit Extraction (or FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (or FUT, which is also known as follicular unit grafting or as a strip procedure), two different techniques for harvesting the necessary follicles to use during hair restoration surgery. While some doctors might argue about which of these two is better, our staff at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research has years of experience performing both procedures, and we understand that choosing the appropriate approach always depends on the specific needs of the patient. Both the FUE and FUT (or FUG) approaches can achieve exceptionally natural-looking hair transplant results, when performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon, but they also have a number of important differences.
How Are the Follicles Harvested?
All forms of hair transplantation require that actively growing follicles be removed from the back or sides of the scalp (where follicles are resistant to the effects of genetic pattern baldness) and then transplanted to the frontal hair line, crown, or temples. In an FUT/FUG or strip procedure, this is accomplished by surgically removing a thin strip of skin and then carefully separating the individual follicular units under a microscope. The FUE approach, however, removes the individual follicular units directly from the scalp, one at a time, either manually or with some form of automated device, like the NeoGraft® device that we frequently use to perform follicular unit extraction at The Griffin Center.
What Scars Are Left Behind?
Although some medical professionals may profess that FUE procedures are superior because they do not leave behind a linear scar, this claim can be a bit misleading. Any time a cut is made to the skin, some sort of scar will be left behind, so there is really no such thing as a “scar-less” procedure. The FUT approach does require the removal of a strip of skin, and when the edges of those incisions are sutured together a thin, linear scar will be left behind, but the resulting scar is extremely faint and easily covered by existing hair. FUE procedures, on the other hand, may avoid the linear scar, but instead leaves hundreds of tiny circular scars scattered throughout the harvested area. In either case, a skilled and experienced surgeon, like Dr. Edmond Griffin or Dr. Ashley Curtis, can utilize advanced surgical techniques to make those scars as inconspicuous as possible.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate?
Patients who have extremely fine hair and who prefer to wear their hair cut closely to the scalp may find that the small, circular scars that are left behind after a FUE procedure are less noticeable, and so tend to prefer that approach. However, follicular unit extraction techniques can also tend to be more time consuming and costly, and the removal process may damage the follicular units, leaving fewer available for transplantation. For this reason, patients who are in need of larger transplants, covering more extensive areas of the scalp, often favor a strip approach, utilizing FUT or FUG techniques. Ultimately, it is important to remember that every patient has their own individual goals and health requirements, so it is best to go over your options with Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis after a thorough examination, so that together we can determine exactly what approach is best for your specific needs.
The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research has been helping patients from around the world achieve full and natural-looking hair transplant results for more than forty years, so if you have any questions about your hair loss, or would like to learn more about the various surgical and non-surgical hair restoration procedures we offer, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.