Hair Transplant Terms: FUT explained

FUT, which stands for Follicular Unit Transplantation, is a hair transplant method where hair is transplanted in groups of 1-4 hairs. These follicular units are mainly obtained through two different methods: taken from a single donor strip, sometimes called the strip harvesting technique, or extracted from the donor area, which is called an FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction). In short, FUT hair transplants can be done with different methods. And the FUE method and the Strip procedure are both two different forms of FUT.

What can be confusing is that FUT is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Strip procedure, when in fact, the Strip method is a form of FUT. The biggest difference between the FUE and the Strip is in the way follicular units are obtained. The insertion of the extracted hair follicles is similar, though tools and techniques vary greatly between hair transplant doctors.

The Strip method, which again, is a type of FUT, is a technique where the hair transplant doctor will remove a thin strip of hair bearing skin form the back of the head. The doctor sutures the wound and the strip is then carefully dissected under microscopes to harvest hair follicles that will be inserted into the receiving area. The doctor uses either stitches or staples that will be removed in about 10 days. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to a Strip is the formation of a scar. Most surgeons use a special closure technique to minimize the visibility of the scar, however, this procedure does create a scar, no matter how thin. A positive fact is that this scar can be concealed with surrounding hair.

FUE, which stands for Follicular Unit Extraction, and is also a form of FUT, is a hair transplant method in which the doctor extracts one follicular unit at a time, leaving little to no scarring. With FUE the follicular units are obtained in what is sometimes referred to as “direct extraction”. This means that the hairs are extracted one by one from the donor area, before being placed in the receiving area.  The main advantage of FUE is no linear scar, but there can be some minimal scarring in the form of tiny, pimple looking marks.  There is also much less pain and discomfort involved with an FUE, though it is a more time consuming and expensive choice.

Both forms of FUT have advantages and disadvantages, with a Strip being less expensive but leaving a scar, and an FUE not leaving any noticeable scars but often requiring more sessions over time. Some doctors advocate the Strip procedure, as they think this method is the most efficient, while other doctors firmly support the FUE as they believe it is a more gentle approach to a hair transplant.

Photo via Darknula

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