Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) vs. Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) are both minimally invasive surgical techniques employed for hair transplants. Hair follicles are units of skin that allow for hair growth. Each follicle is fully functional and as such can be relocated to other areas of the scalp by a hair transplant specialist to improve the patient’s appearance. FUE and FUT both call for the removal of functioning follicles from areas with full and healthy hair, usually the backs and sides, and replacing them onto sites of interest. Doctors use the patient’s own follicles due to increase efficiency and to minimize preoccupations about the body’s immune response. By reintroducing a patient’s own cells, the body will not wrongly classify them as intruders and attack.  The main difference between the FUE and FUT techniques lies in how particular follicles are harvested.

FUE is a relatively newer technique that allows individual follicles to be extracted one by one from the patient head. Using a small harvesting instrument, follicles are individually picked from around the scalp so as to minimally affect the aesthetics of the patient’s scalp. The follicles are relocated by the doctor to the areas of interest and allowed to naturally graft and produce new hair. However, as carefully screened extractions must be done in a very meticulous manner, this procedure is often very tedious and only several hundred follicles may be harvested per procedure.

FUT relies on the same principle of follicular transplant, however, follicles are extracted using a simple and effective approach. A thin strip of skin is delicately excised from the donor area and all the follicles on it are dissected microscopically and grafted onto the areas of interest. This method allows for a much larger follicular count and usually gets better results as a high rate of the transplanted follicles grow new hair and larger bald/thin areas can be covered. However, since a continuous piece of skin must be removed in FUT, the area of excision must be sutured – the donor areas are carefully chosen and reunited so as to minimize the visibility of the scar. Most haircuts will hide that thin scar.

FUT is a more involved surgical procedure, and thus demands a larger recovery time so as to allow the excision wound to heal; it also requires a more extensive use of anesthesia. However, the number of follicles capable of being harvested and grafted is much greater and as a result there is no need to come in for a few sessions, as happens with FUE. In contrast, FUE is a minimally invasive procedure and requires only local anesthesia. There is minimal bleeding involved in follicular extraction and no sutures are required.

Dr. Thomas Law is well experienced in both hair transplant techniques and can help you decide which procedure is right for you. Schedule free private consultation where he may examine the condition of your scalp and hair follicles & create a customized treatment plan to best address your aesthetic concerns.