Many tend to think of FUE and FUT as two distinct procedures, or even competitors to one another. This is not true. The only difference between the two is how the follicular units are extracted from the back and sides of the head. Hence, the procedure of both methods is basically the same.
The difference lies mainly in the donor site, as the result of the recipient site of the area of hair loss with either technique is similar.
FUE is said to be minimally invasive. Also, many have been told that FUE is non-surgical. Prospective hair transplant patients must realize that each method is performed in a surgical manner and the depth of the incisions in both is the same. For example, incisions are done in the fat layer immediately beneath the follicular units. What separates FUE from FUT is what kind of incision is made. FUE requires numerous tiny circular incisions throughout the donor area while FUT involves a single and long incision in the donor area’s center.
Also, a larger area for FUE harvesting is necessary than the area needed for FUT strip harvesting (about five times the area for an equal number of follicular units). This enables the surgeon to perform large sessions in FUE. Also, the whole donor area needs to be shaved. Many patients are not happy about that since they feel it adversely affects their appearance. They must realize that this is a short-term cosmetic effect. On the other hand, FUT does not require shaving since strip harvesting can be done even if long hair covers the donor incision.
Some will mention the fact that the donor site must be shaved for FUE as a disadvantage. In fact, we are able to shave strips of hair from the donor area, so that the longer non-shaved hair covers it after the procedure, doing away with the need to shave the entire head. Large sessions can still be done over a period of time.
Advantages of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
- Faster healing of donor site
- No scar at the donor site
- You can wear your hair as short as you like since there are no apparent scars.
Advantages of Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT or Strip Technique)
- Less expensive
- May obtain higher number of donor follicles in one session
At times, Dr. Sozer will combine both procedures at the same time to obtain the most number of follicles in one procedure.