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Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT) are two of the most common hair transplant procedures available today. Both methods involve extracting hair follicles from a donor area on the scalp and transplanting them to balding or thinning areas. However, there are some key differences between the two procedures
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
In FUE, individual hair follicles are extracted from the donor area using a small punch tool. The extracted follicles are then carefully prepared and transplanted to the recipient area. FUE is a minimally invasive procedure that results in very small, dot-like scars. These scars are typically not noticeable, even with short hairstyles.
- Minimal scarring (but still leaves “dot-like” scars)
- Quicker recovery time
- Less discomfort
- Can be performed on patients with curly or afro-textured hair
- Allows for more precise graft placement
- Generally more expensive than FUT
- Longer procedure time because it requires manual harvesting of hair grafts
- Lower graft yield per session compared to FUT
- Not as suitable for patients with very tight scalps
FUE Recovery & Expected Results
The recovery time for FUE hair transplant is typically shorter than for FUT. Most patients can return to work within 1-3 days. However, it is important to avoid strenuous activity for the first few weeks after surgery.
Common side effects of FUE hair transplant include:
These side effects will go away on their own after a few weeks. The transplanted hair will typically fall out within 2-3 weeks after surgery. This is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. The new hair will start to grow back within 3-4 months. However, it can take up to 12 months to see the full results of the transplant.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
In FUT, a strip of skin is removed from the donor area. The strip is then divided into individual hair follicles, which are prepared and transplanted to the recipient area. FUT is a more invasive procedure than FUE and results in a linear scar. The scar is typically hidden by the surrounding hair, but it may be visible if the hair is worn short.
- Generally less expensive than FUE
- Shorter procedure time
- Higher graft yield per session
- Can be performed on patients with very tight scalps
- Leaves a linear scar (but can be concealed with surrounding hair)
- Longer recovery time
- More discomfort compared to FUT
- Not as suitable for patients with curly or afro-textured hair
FUT Recovery & Expected Results
The recovery period for an FUT hair transplant procedure is typically longer compared to FUE. Most patients can expect to return to their regular work routine within 7-10 days following the surgery. However, it is crucial to refrain from engaging in strenuous activities during the initial weeks after the procedure.
Common side effects associated with FUT hair transplant include:
The scar resulting from an FUT hair transplant is usually concealed by the surrounding hair. Nevertheless, it may become visible if the hair is maintained at a shorter length.
After an FUT hair transplant, the transplanted hair typically goes through a natural shedding phase within 2-3 weeks post-surgery. This shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. Subsequently, new hair growth will begin within 3-4 months, although it may take up to a year to fully appreciate the final results of the transplant.
FUE vs. FUT Comparison
|Extraction method||Individual follicles are extracted using a punch tool.||A strip of skin is removed and divided into individual follicles.|
|Scarring||Very small, dot-like scars.||Linear scar.|
|Recovery time||Shorter recovery time (1-3 days).||Longer recovery time (7-10 days).|
|Cost||More expensive than FUT.||Less expensive than FUE.|
|Graft yield||Lower graft yield per session.||Higher graft yield per session.|
|Ideal Candidate||Patients who want minimal scarring and a quick recovery.||Patients who need a large number of grafts.|
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing Between FUE and FUT
- Hair Loss Pattern.
The pattern of hair loss varies among individuals. Some people experience a more diffuse hair loss pattern, meaning hair loss is spread out over a larger area. FUT may be a better choice for such individuals because it allows for the removal of a strip of hair-bearing skin from the donor area, which can provide a larger number of grafts. This is particularly advantageous when covering a larger balding area.
- Donor Hair Density.
The density of donor hair, or the amount of healthy hair available for transplantation, can vary from person to person. If a patient has relatively thin donor hair, FUT may be preferable. FUT can harvest a greater number of grafts from a smaller donor area, which can be advantageous when the donor area has limited density.
Lifestyle considerations can also impact the choice between FUE and FUT. Patients who are physically active or prefer wearing very short hairstyles might lean towards FUE. This is because FUE leaves tiny, individual scars scattered throughout the donor area, making them less noticeable compared to the linear scar associated with FUT.
FUE’s less conspicuous scarring can be beneficial for those who want to maintain a short hairstyle or engage in activities where the scar’s visibility might be a concern.
Preserving Existing Hair and Natural Growth Patterns
When a patient has a bare scalp, often there are tiny vellus hairs that can offer information about the original pattern of growth. But if not, Dr. Keene of Physician’s Hair Institute will use her knowledge of frequently observed patterns of growth to orient the hair for its maximum benefit to you.
She also prefers that you not cut your hair very short, because that would impede her ability to see the natural direction and the way it lays, and it is an added inconvenience to you. If you have existing hair in the recipient area, it can help to camouflage the appearance of the surgical area in the immediate post-surgery period, helping you get back to work earlier.
This also gives you the choice of whether to share your surgical experience with co-workers or keep your experience private. The existing hair is gently moved from side to side as we place the new grafts.
Schedule a Consultation Today.
Dr. Keene isn’t just a hair restoration physician; she’s a trusted partner in her patients’ hair restoration journey. Countless testimonials highlight her clinical prowess and patient-centric approach. Her affiliations with top medical societies, like the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, and her continuous engagement with the latest in hair restoration research underscore her commitment to excellence.
To consult Dr. Keene and take the first step towards restoring your hair, you can reach out to either location at 1-800-840-9761 or 520-290-5555. She serves patients in and around Tucson and Scottsdale, Arizona, including Phoenix, Chandler, Lake Havasu, Mesa, and Gilbert, AZ.