If you are struggling with hair loss you should know that the best treatment for it is a hair transplant. Another factor to consider before deciding whether to undergo this procedure is the choice of method. The two main techniques used are follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). The main difference between these procedures is the techniques used. In the FUT procedure, the doctor removes a strip from the back of the scalp, considered the donor area, and then transplants it into the follicular units, called the recipient area. This technique gives excellent results but can leave a scar. On the other hand, during the FUE technique, the doctor will make small incisions, extract the hair follicles one by one and implement them into the bald areas. This procedure leaves no scars because it is minimally invasive.
The choice between these two procedures depends on the patient. Your suitability for these procedures should be discussed with your physician, who will determine which approach is best for your specific case based on your needs, the extent of hair loss, and your desired goals.
Hair Transplantation Techniques: A History of Progress
The history of hair transplantation techniques began in 1939, when a single follicle was successfully implemented. Since then, the technology has had tremendous improvements and offers a great solution for those struggling with hair loss. These methods not only promote hair regrowth, but also help regain self-confidence. Today there are several methods for patients to choose from, and it can be difficult to decide. Here we will help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the appropriate treatment for your problem.
How Do Hair Transplants Work?
The main thing to know about hair transplantation is how it works. This procedure works by taking healthy hair follicles from the back area of the scalp and implementing them in the recipient area where hair is missing and you want to improve. The body will accept these hair follicles because they come from the same place, eliminating the risk of rejection, so the transplanted hair follicles will flourish in the area where they were placed.
Hair loss mostly affects the hairline or crown, particularly in men. Healthy hair follicles are usually taken from the back of the head, which contains more hair follicles and provides denser hair. That said, new hair will begin to grow beautifully, thicker and denser, and provide natural hair growth.
The Two Main Types of Hair Transplant
As we mentioned before the two main techniques that are used in hair transplantation procedures are:
- Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT): During the FUT hair transplant procedure, the doctor will take a strip of skin from the donor area. The strip will then be divided into four smaller pieces containing one to four follicles. Next, these follicles will be inserted into the bald area where hair is missing.
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE): like FUT, this procedure involves the donor and recipient areas. The difference is that during the FUE technique, the surgeon removes and inserts hair follicles one at a time, so the results look more natural and blend easily with the hair.
What is the Best Hair Transplant Method?
Although FUE is considered the best technique for people struggling with hair loss, your suitability for either procedure will depend on the unique characteristics of your hair. Here we will discuss both techniques and see how they differ from each other.
FUT Hair Transplant
First, let us explain the FUT hair transplantation method. During this procedure, the surgeon will cut a strip of skin from the back or side of the scalp and then cut this strip into 4 individual parts to implement the recipient area where hair is missing. Male pattern baldness related to receding hairline is best covered by surgery.
How Does Follicular Unit Transplantation Work?
As we mentioned earlier, during the FUT procedure the surgeon will cut a strip from the back or side of the scalp. Each of these steps contains at least four healthy hair follicles. The size of the strip will depend on the number of follicles that will be needed to cover the areas where hair is missing. The width will probably be between 1 and 1.5 centimeters. Once the cut has been made, the doctor will use sutures to close it, and the individual follicles removed will need to be inserted into the defective spots on the scalp. The patient will be awake during the procedure under local anesthesia. The procedure takes about 4 to 8 hours and is usually shorter than the FUE technique.
A step-by-step of the FUT procedure:
- The first step the surgeon will take is to draw on the hairline where the hair follicles should be implemented to give you an initial idea. He will also show you the area where the cut will be made. He can take a photograph of the hair before showing the difference after the surgery. The surgery will be performed under local anesthesia, and you can choose whether or not to take a sedative before the procedure.
- The nurse or the doctor himself will cut the hair to about two millimeters to facilitate insertion into the recipient site.
- The strip of skin with the hair follicles that will be utilized as a transplant will be excised by the surgeon.
- After this, the surgeon will remove the individual hair follicles from the strip that was cut from the back of the scalp and prepare them to be transplanted.
- The donor site will be closed with stitches.
- The doctor will implement the individual hair follicles into the balding parts of your head to give them a natural look.
- After surgery, the doctor will cover the area with bandages and prescribe antibiotics to relieve any pain or discomfort.
- The results will be visible in 6 to 9 months so you have to be patient.
Who needs a FUT procedure?
Both procedures need the candidates to have enough hair on the back of the scalp to be considered for these types of treatments. Usually, men and women who suffer from alopecia are considered the best candidates. In men, hair loss will be visible in the temples in an M shape. Women will also see the first signs of hair loss in the temple area.
There are certain factors you should consider before deciding to undergo a FUT hair transplant. The following factors are what make you a perfect candidate for this procedure:
- Let's start with age. If you are younger than 25, you should probably wait a few more years because the hairline will tend to change and hair loss patterns may be more difficult to detect in young adults.
- The diagnosis of what is causing the hair loss is also very important. Men who suffer from hair loss and have the Norwood pattern will react best to the hair transplant.
- People with a higher hair follicle density will have better results than those who don’t. The coverage will also be better.
- Hair color is another important factor when it comes to hair transplant procedures. People with hair color similar to their skin color will be better candidates because there will be less contrast between them.
FUE Hair Transplants
What is an FUE hair transplant?
Follicular unit extraction, also known as the procedure of FUE hair transplant, involves the physician taking individual hair follicles from the back of the scalp and applying them to the recipient area, which can be the hairline, eyebrows, or beard. This procedure makes hair appear thicker and more natural looking.
The FUE hair transplant technique is considered a better version of FUT and was created to replace it. It is considered a better choice because it does not involve cuts or stitches and allows the doctor to be more precise, achieving better results. You are considered eligible for this procedure if you still have enough hair in the back of your scalp to implement in the missing bald area.
How Does A FUE Hair Transplant Work?
The three-phase cycle of hair growth and renewal shortens with age until follicles stop producing new hair. This process is different for each person. Some people go bald much later in life, while others start going bald in their 20s. FUE hair transplantation repairs hair by exchanging these damaged follicles for new ones that can still produce hair. After the transplant, the follicles will receive nourishment from blood vessels and begin to produce hair in the area that was previously bald or sparse.
Procedure for FUE hair transplantation
The FUE hair transplant procedure begins with the surgeon shaving the area where the hair follicle will be removed and the area around which the hair follicles will be implemented. Extraction of the hair follicles from the back of the scalp will be done using a micropuncture instrument to avoid large scars and stitches. The recipient area will undergo incisions for hair insertion. At the end of the procedure, the doctor will cover the areas with bandages to allow healing and avoid infection.
Targeted Areas For Treatment
This procedure is mostly performed to improve the hairline and is performed on the scalp. However, if patients wish to improve the appearance of other areas of the body, such as the eyebrows or beard, this procedure can be helpful.
Are There Any Risks Or Side Effects?
After performing FUE hair transplant surgery, no scars will remain, only small white spots from the donor site where the surgeon harvested the hair follicles. However, over time, the scars will disappear on their own. Although rare, hair transplant surgeries may have some side effects such as symptoms of infection, pain or swelling at the surgery site, excessive bleeding, prolonged numbness or tingling, mismatched hair, and balding or thinning that does not change after surgery. You should call your doctor if you notice anything that is not normal.
What to expect after an FUE hair transplant?
The recovery period after an FUE hair transplant is quick. You may need to take 3 days off work to check the progress of the surgery, but after that you can return to work and daily activities. However, remember to avoid heavy work because it can damage the new hair. The first hair washing must be done by the clinic doctor, so do not plan to shower. When you start washing your hair yourself, use unscented shampoos because they can irritate the incisions. Another thing to avoid is combing your hair, for at least 3 weeks. If you want to cover your head with hats or other clothing, you should contact your doctor to see if you can do so. If you notice that some of the implemented hair falls out, you should not worry because this is considered normal. The big difference will be visible after 3 to 4 months, so you need to be patient.
FUT Vs. FUE Hair Transplantation
Now that you know the main differences between hair transplant techniques, it will be easier for you to make a decision. As you may have noticed, both procedures use the same techniques. Hair is taken from the back of the scalp and applied to the missing bald spots. However, the difference is that in the FUT procedure the doctor will have to cut a strip from the back of the head, while in the FUE procedure the hair will be pulled out individually. After the strip is removed, the area is sutured. For people who need to transplant many hair follicles, this method may be preferable because it takes less time during the procedure and costs less. However, keep in mind that this technique leaves a scar that may be visible if you keep your hair short, and the recovery process may be somewhat longer.
The FUE on the other hand will be made by a small punch tool, which will extract the hair follicles individually, directly from the scalp. It will not leave visible scarring and you can style your hair however you like it. Another advantage of the FUE technique is that it can be used in other parts of the body such as eyebrows or beard. In comparison to the FUT technique, this will take a longer time to recover and it will also cost more.
In conclusion, the choice is up to you and your surgeon. Before undergoing surgery, you should consult with a certified physician to decide which path is best for you and the one that best fits your goals and needs.
Get the best hair transplant service
Regardless of the hair transplant procedure you choose, you should seek a reliable and qualified service. During the initial consultation, your chosen doctor chooses what is the best course of action for you and your case. You need to talk about everything with the doctor, including prices, options, timing, and results. Together you will decide what is the best way to deal with hair loss.
After surgery, you will still need support from your doctor. The first hair wash will be done in the clinic to allow the grafts to grow in the best way. To manage any future possibilities, your doctor may recommend that you see finasteride or minoxidil. Both can be used to assist the hair transplant and can sometimes even replace it altogether. To find out which is the ideal choice for you, contact our clinic.