FUE vs. Strip Hair Transplant
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) has advanced a great deal in the past two decades. The art of performing hair transplants has evolved to the point that the results are almost undetectable from a natural full head of hair. In addition, the improvements in performing Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), also known as FIT (Follicular Isolation Technique), has helped hair transplant surgeons have the ability to offer more hair restoration options to their patients.
Modern hair restoration techniques provide patients with completely natural results. The two main harvesting methods used by board-certified, experienced hair transplant surgeons are conducted using Strip and FUE hair graft harvesting methods. There are some important differences between these two procedures that patients need to be aware of before having any hair harvested from the donor area on the scalp or body.
- Strip Hair Transplant– A strip hair transplant (FUT) is when a strip of the scalp skin is removed from the donor area on the scalp (normally the back and sides of the head). Following the removal of the strip of skin, the surgical wound is sutured or stapled shut. The follicular grafts are then removed from the strip microscopically so they can be transplanted into the balding areas of the scalp. The strip method leaves a liner scar on the donor area and it is considered to be the more traditional way of doing FUT procedures.
- FUE Transplant– An FUE hair transplant is when individual hair follicular units are removed one at a time from the donor area so they can be transplanted into the balding areas of the scalp. FUE grafts are selectively removed from the donor area microscopically. This procedure can be performed manually or through the use of automated and robotic methods.
Pros and Cons
Both methods have distinct advantages and disadvantages when it comes to their performance and final results. While both methods can help a patient achieve their hair restoration goals, the patient does need to have a clear understanding of both procedures before committing to undergoing a hair transplant. The following chart provides a good comparison of the differences patients need to know between FUE and Strip hair transplants.
|Type of Procedure||FUE||Strip FUT|
|Recipient Apperance||Completely natural||Completely natural|
|Donor Area||The entire body||Back and sides of head|
|Donor Recovery||Complete in 3-7 days||Complete in 2-3 weeks|
|Donor Look||Natural, slight risk of hypopigmentation||Linear scar is always present|
|Surgeon’s Involvement||70 – 90%||40 – 50%|
|Follicular Survival||Is being studied*||95 – 100%|
|Number of Grafts in One Day||Up to around 2000||Over 4000 in proper candidates**|
* FUE Research Committee of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery was established in 2012 to perform several studies to find the answer to this question. We will update this information when the results of those studies are available to the public.
** Patients who are qualified for a large number of grafts (gigasession) should have high density and good overall scalp laxity.
Which Hair Transplant Procedure Should You Choose?
Before having either hair restoration procedure, you should take the time to answer a few questions to make sure you pick the procedure that best suits your individual needs and hair restoration goals:
- How do you plan to wear your hair after the procedure?
FUE does not create a linear scar on the donor area so you will have the option to wear your hair very short or even shave the hair if you want to wear it that way,
- How many hair grafts will you need?
A strip hair transplant method generally could produce a larger number of grafts per session. This means that FUT can cover a large balding area in only one session in most cases.
- What is the total budget that you want to spend on your hair transplant surgery?
Strip is more affordable per each individual graft but it does leave a linear scar so you might have to spend more money in the future on a scar revision procedure.
- What is your overall pain tolerance?
FUE patients usually do not have pain or tightness following their procedure or their pain is often considered to be minimal at best.
While strip and FUE hair transplant methods have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, the end results could be almost the same provided the grafts are extracted and implanted by an experienced surgeon using the proper techniques.
If you are still undecided about strip vs. FUE, or if you have any further questions, let our team of doctors help you find the right procedure for your hair transplant. Our doctors are available for a Los Angeles hair transplant consultation appointment or a San Francisco hair transplant consultation appointment.
For more information, or to schedule an in-person or virtual consultation with one of our doctors, please contact our office today.