What´s The Big Difference Between FUT and FUE Hair Transplant Techniques?


What´s The Big Difference Between FUT and FUE Hair Transplant Techniques?

Improvements in Surgical Hair Restoration Can Be a Solution for Many

Advances in hair transplant surgical hair restoration techniques are well suited to treat both male and female hair loss conditions; today’s technology enables high density and natural hairline designs.

For those that are suitable candidates, the latest follicular unit grafting hair transplant methods present an ideal solution.

It is still important to understand there are limitations to a hair transplant procedure, it is not a miracle cure and is bound by the limitations of the donor hair you retain and the degree of hair loss you have suffered, coupled with your age and potential for future hair loss.

Your first step, a consultation assessment can help to diagnose your hair loss condition and stage as well as the best option available to you to treat your hair loss.

Out With The Old In With Follicular Units

The advent of Follicular Unit Surgery changed the entire method of placement, keeping the natural groups intact when removed and placing them in the same natural groupings back into the recipient area. Today there are two recognised techniques to harvest the hair from the donor area, STRIP Surgery/FUT, Follicular Unit Transplant and Follicular Unit Extraction/“FUE”.

With both techniques it has been medically recognised that hair from the donor can be moved to an area of hair loss and this hair will continue to grow after being moved to the new area, displaying the same traits and characteristics as it had prior to being moved.

FUT hair transplant surgery the doctor harvests the hair from a thin strip of the hair-bearing tissue from around the back and sides of the head. The length and width of the strip will ascertain the number of follicular units, (FU) that are contained within the strip; this can range from a few hundred to thousands of “FU”. Follicular Unit Extraction/FUE, using a micro-punch to extract each FU one by one from around the donor area; the number of punch extractions is directly related to the number of grafts required.

The Preparation of the Follicular Units

The two techniques for harvesting hair differ in respect with the Strip technique the FU are intact in the donor strip whereas FUE the FU´s are individually removed so already separated from each other, this means no need for dissecting and generally means less trimming is required.

With Strip, the follicular units the strip is placed in a holding solution to protect the tissue. The strip is divided into smaller sections and then into the individual units by
the technical team. Aside of this process is to trim off any excess fatty tissue around the units, this ensures the grafts are thin so can be placed close enough together to dense pack as well as to stop unnatural pitting or ridging of the skin in the recipient area.

This process within the hair transplant procedure must be carried out under stereo microscopes and by skilled technicians with precision and accuracy. Some hair types are harder than other to dissect even under microscopes, blonde or white hair or very fine hair make this more challenging. This excellence to precision during the process is vital; each follicle unit harvested for transplant must be preserved and prevented from being damaged as this would compromise the overall result.

To perform FUE to the highest standard the donor area requires total shaving, except possibly for small procedures such as 100-500 grafts when smaller areas could be shaved and hidden by surrounding hair. Shaving will allow the harvesting of the FU to be spread over the widest surface possible thus reducing the change in density over the donor and avoid over-harvesting areas leaving a patchy density. Also, shaving allows the doctor to precisely measure the angle the FU exits the scalp as well as give a greater comprehension to the position within the skin, a very important aspect of the extraction. If the concept of FU angulations, skin variations and healing is not understood by the doctor the FU will not be removed intact or will result in a high transection rate or low yield, either way this is detrimental to the patient.

FU must be removed individually, this requires a great deal of concentration to ensure the punch only encompasses the FU, does not overlap or cut the FU or surrounding FU‟s.

Over time the preferred punch size has changed and the consensus is there is a balance between too large and too small, with around 0.75 to 0.8mm diameter punch tools being the optimum size to use, able to remove safely larger 4 hair FU groupings. On occasion
and more so in repair cases the punch diameter may need to be increased slightly, especially with plug removal where larger hair groupings have been placed.

The punch size is important for a number of reasons and it all really comes back to one important aspect, the preservation of the donor area. Larger diameter punches will remove more skin tissue; this, in turn, can lead to any scarring being larger and so potentially more visible. The more visible the scarring means less hair can be removed since the remaining hair has to cover the area’s hair has been removed.

Larger punches are faster and easier to use, they require less precision and can take more hair than just a single FU. But this is not FUE in the pure form, but simply graft extraction opposed to FUE. Because we are dealing with micro numbers the variants in mm‟s can seem meaningless or irrelevant but when comparing the use of a smaller .75 mm FUE punch to that of a 1.0 mm the area of extraction is 85% smaller. With a .8 mm punch, the area of extraction is 60% smaller.

Which Hair Transplant Technique To Use

There are many aspects to consider when deciding which hair transplant technique to use; some, for example, maybe not wanting a linear scar, not shaving for the procedure, the extent of your thinning to name a few. Another aspect to consider, more from a technical side is your starting donor density and any limitations this may bring in treating your hair loss, be it in this procedure or in the long term.

Everyone wants to achieve a result that is thick and natural. Before even thinking of which technique a hair loss consultation can help to measure your hair characteristics, hair loss stage and potential result from a hair transplant procedure.

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