Let’s face it, being bald is more than just a minor inconvenience. It can impact people’s self-esteem and confidence in more ways than one. Moreover, the modern solutions available with our current innovations, technology, and medical developments may often seem incredibly daunting and overwhelming to potential patients.
The main shared trait between all hair transplant procedures is the use of ‘donor hair’ from other areas, which is then transplanted onto the balding (or already fully bald) parts of the scalp. The complex part comes from the variation of hair transplant methods.
There are two ‘main’ methods of transplanting hair – follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT), also known as the “Strip method.” The former involves the extraction of individual hair follicles or graft units. That’s right, one by one. The latter entails the removal of a long strip of the scalp that has hair, with the follicles then being separated and transplanted.
Needless to say, that’s the basic rundown of the physical processes themselves, but there are various other details, along with individual pros and cons, that we will dive into.
Utilization of Donor Hair
Among the first differences between the two types of procedures is the actual proportional utilization or sourcing of hair follicles. You see, with FUT, the donor follicles are sourced from a mid-portion area of hair where the balding process is less likely to occur, whereas with FUE – donor grafts are obtained from broader regions to meet a sufficient number.
Essentially, this means that the FUE method can lead to the potential loss of follicular units to balding over time. This is one of the main reasons why FUE is recommended for people with less severe balding since FUE entails the harvesting of follicles from upper and lower margins, where the hair itself might not be optimal for a dense, thick final look.
Levels of Scarring
With Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), the extracted units will lead to small, albeit abundant, wounds. Said wounds are left to heal during the post-op phase, resulting in tiny, dotted scars all over the scalp. Naturally, with small dots/spots, you get smaller annoying distortions – a considerable hurdle for the operative sessions that follow the initial phase.
Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT/Strip) results in scarring that is consolidated into one single strip or line of the mid-portion of the donor area. Regardless of the number of procedures, this scar line maintains its linear skin area coverage – the edges are stapled or sewn, and the singular line is generally ‘uniform.’
Of course, assuming that the patient would want to crop their hair to a very short length style, then the dotted scars of the FUE method are preferable. The FUT or Strip method is optimal for patients who plan on growing out their hair since the dense follicles will hide the linear scar.
The Quality of the Grafts Themselves
As expected, both types of procedures entail utmost care concerning transplanting the highest-quality grafts available. We already mentioned that the FUE method requires a quality-vs-quantity approach to sourcing the grafts – surgeons are likely to opt for broader lower and upper regions because of the number of grafts needed.
Experts in hair transplants can harvest about one or two follicles max per given area with the FUE approach, compared to the much more all-encompassing ‘Strip or FUT method,’ which leaves better protective layering all the while harvesting all of the follicles per sectioned area.
Both methods obtain the highest-quality grafts with protective tissues for maximum defense from mechanical injuries and drying. They are, after all, outside of the body – with the roots at risk of being exposed to air constantly. It just so happens that the FUT method presupposes a naturally higher quality sourcing of grafts.
Luckily, thanks to advancements in robotic FUE hair transplant technology and innovations, there’s now a better chance for surgeons to harvest higher-quality grafts with the protective epidermal layers intact.
The Condition of Your Skin
In some instances, it may not be a matter of choice and weighing the pros and cons – instead, the safety of your skin becomes a top priority for respected, well-trained surgeons. A medical expert may determine that the skin on your scalp is unsuitable for the ‘Strip method,’ as the risk of a widened scar or detrimental dermatological complications would potentially be too extreme.
Furthermore, FUE, unlike the FUT/Strip method, provides faster, more adequate healing time. While the overall duration of the FUT procedure is shorter, it’s at risk of potential complications arising from the scar and damaged tissue.
Your best bet is to consult professionals who are experienced in both forms of hair transplant procedures. While FUT is often considered the “gold standard,” FUE has risen in popularity due to technological advancements and research into optimal incision techniques.
Services like The Hairline Doctor provide detailed and diligent examinations – the assembled teams of veteran practitioners provide clients with the most thorough inspections and care, thus evaluating the most optimal plan for every individual patient.