Is FUE Hair Transplant the Best Harvesting Technique?

my understanding of Follicular Unit Extraction vs FUT, is that each is a differing technique to produce hair grafts for hair transplantation surgery. FUE is best for someone--like me--who likes to have short hair.  Otherwise, the medical literature is over whelmingly complex. Can a doctor help explain FUE and when it's the best technique?

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Is FUE the best technique?

FUE is not necessarily the 'best' technique - it's just different. It's critical that patients considering hair transplant surgery understand the unique differences in these two procedures.

With FUE (follicular unit extraction) there is no 'linear scar'  but contrary to popular belief there is a scar! However, it's just a tiny tiny circular "microscar". It's hard to see and that's the great thing about FUE. But it is a scar nevertheless. Because the area heals with a microscar, it is often possible for one to wear their hair very very short.

What are the downsides of FUE? 

If an individual is likely to go on to develop more significant balding in advanced ages, then it's possible that with FUE surgery will involve taking hairs from an area in the donor region that might not truly be permanent hairs.

Take two men at age 29 with thinning in the front of the scalp. Both are destined to go on to develop a Norwood VI pattern without surgery. One gets 2500 grafts with strip and one gets 2500 grafts with FUE. Both look great one year after their surgery and both look good 10 years after. But do both look good 30 years after their surgery? There is a slightly greater chance that the man who had strip will have "fuller" hair at age 57. 

It's important for all men consider hair transplant to understand this concept. There are unique benefits to both strip and FUE. 

Is there a best technique for hair transplantation.

FUE technique involves individual extraction of  hair unit of 1-4 hairs using tiny punches.  The advantage is that there is no linear scar but multiple tiny scars which are generally not visible.  This is great for individuals who want to wear their hair short. The down side to this technique, when compared with strip grafting methods  is that the viability of the grafts can be slightly more compromised when harvested in this manner, and the number of grafts that can be harvested in one session is less

Arthur N. Falk, MD
Albany Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Strip method versus follicular unit extraction

Both methods yield very good results for the transplanted hairs. The follicular unit extraction has the advantage of minimizing a donor scar. The one downside of the follicular unit extraction is that one must shave the area where the donor graphs are being harvested from. The strip method leaves a long linear and possibly visible scar, however one does not need to shave down the hair so that one can be more conspicuous during the procedure period.  The follicular unit extraction can mimic this, if one already has long hair in the donar area, and we shave a portion of the posterior scalp where were borrowing hair.  Thus the  remaining longer hairs are suitable for to hide the donor area until it grows out.

FUE vs. FUT

A: In Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), the hair for relocation is obtained by surgically excising a strip of hair bearing skin from the donor region of the scalp. The skin edges of this wound are then sutured closed. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a revival of the old punch technique obtaining donor hair with a small circular cutting instrument. These punches are used to harvest follicular units one at a time from the donor area. Each harvest or extraction creates a small circular scar. The difference is with the strip you get a continuous linear scar, whereas with punches you get discontinuous, round individual scars. Short hairstyles are well supported with either method of harvesting in the hand of a skilled physician. Large session sizes are much more easily accomplished utilizing FUT technique. Costs for FUE are often three times the cost of FUT on a per graft basis. 

Michael Meshkin, MD
Newport Beach Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

IS FUE THE BEST?

There are advantages and disadvantages to each technique.  The significant advantage for patients undergoing an FUE procedure is the avoidance of a linear scar, less postoperative pain, and quicker return to normal activity.  The lack of a linear scar allows patients to wear their hair short.

Viability of the grafts with this technique (FUE) vs strip method has been debated, although technological advances in the way in which we harvest and preserve grafts have made this less of an issue.

In our practice, I perform both techniques.  The strip technique is more commonly performed in woman because of hairstyle considerations.  Men in my practice generally prefer the FUE procedure.

Best of luck!

Jeffrey B. Wise, MD, FACS
Wayne Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Is FUE a Better Technique than FUT ?

No, however the comparison of each technique and criteria on in which situation each technique is better is a very complicated topic that can not be covered in a few words. What I can say is that both techniques are valuable.

The complexity can be understood by just comparing them on how short the hair can be used afterwards. The linear scar of FUT can be very fine and well hidden inside the strongest portion of the donor area that it may allow using the hair quite short, if not totally shaven. On the other hand, the seemingly scarless FUE may cause white dots and a moth-eaten appearance at the sides and close to the neck where the density is not so good and hair is usually cut quite short. Therefore even the the assumption that FUE allows for using the hair shorter may be mistaken.

Fue or FUT

Both methods give wonderful results if you are in professional hands and its just a matter of having a less invasive surgery or not.Nowadays FUE method has more increasing demand than FUT Method but FUT is still necessary to harvest more grafts.

Ilker Apaydin, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

FUT vs strip vs FUE hair transplants

Terminology may not be important to some people, but if its a matter of a large scar on your scalp it may matter to you.  However, i agree that it does not stop at terminology.  Once you decide if you are ok with one method vs the other(my thought is they both produce good growth but its the side effects and costs that make the difference) THEN the key thing is finding a dedicated center that is good at it.  Do you want to go to a place that mixes FUE and FUT, or just dedicated to one or the other?  Do you want to go to a place that also does Lipo and botox and hormone therapy or to a dedicated center?  It depends on how much you value specialization. 

Rashid M. Rashid, PhD, MD
Houston Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Sounds like FUE is much better choice for you

Both procedures will potentially provide great results if you are in great hands.  I think part of the answer you all ready gave to yourself. The F.U.E technique will be better for you because you like to have short hair style. F.U.E (Follicular Unit Extraction) will not  create visible linear scar.  In the future you would be able to shave your head and nobody would know you had surgery.
       Definitely  with Neograft or ARTAS robotic hair transplantation surgery is more convenient for the patient.  And as always it is good to have a detailed consultation with the clinic of your choice.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.