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?

Doctor Answers 21

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.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

5061 FM 2920
Spring, TX 77388

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. 

Jeff Donovan, MD, PhD
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

21 Bedford Road
Toronto, ON M5R 2J9

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 10 reviews

35 Hackett Blvd
Albany, NY 12208

FUT and FUE Methods are Excellent Harvesting Techniques for Hair Transplant

Both FUT and FUE methods are excellent harvesting techniques. The choice of procedure depends on the surgeon and the patient preference after consideration of the pros and cons (the associated scarring for instance). Eventually, in the right hands, the results will be similar.

Hassan Nurein, MD
London Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

57 Harley Street


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 6 reviews

2121 San Joaquin Hills Road
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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.

Ali Emre Karadeniz, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Ata┼čehir Brandium R4

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

2401 Yale
Houston, TX 77008

Is FUE Hair Transplant the Best Harvesting Technique?

FUE can be the best harvesting technique for a patient, but not necessarily so. The answers you will get from doctors will vary and can be biased if the doctor only performs one technique. In my practice I'd say its 50:50 at the moment.
If the choice is left to me, the surgeon, then I recommend FUE if you will maintain a very short hair cut where you can almost see skin or if you are young with uncertain future hair loss and want to keep your options open. Another scenario is if I feel the nature of your hair means it does not lay down sufficiently resembling open venetian blinds! Finally there could be technical reasons like a tight scalp or history of non-ideal scarring.
I tend to recommend strip or FUT, if you require a very large number of grafts but unwilling to shave your donor hair for FUE, have very good scalp elasticity and done mind a linear scar hidden amongst your hair. Cost can also come into it, as generally speaking FUT is cheaper than FUE

Bessam Farjo, MBChB
Manchester Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

70 Quay Street

FUE is not always the best

I was an engineer working with Dr. Rassman in 1998 (before I became a doctor). My work involved a concept of a robot which would use a special optical sighting system to align the hairs for an automated FUE. This work became U.S. Patent 6572625 that we licensed to the ARTAS robot. Similar technology from our U.S. Patents are used in the NeoGraft. 

My point is that I am very familiar with the FUE, ARTAS, NeoGraft, and all forms of harvesting hair follicles.  I perform FUE in my practice with my hybrid FUE instruments, ARTAS, or even NeoGraft.  This does NOT mean FUE is the best method.

Many doctors push FUE or Neograft or ARTAS claiming "no scar" or "minimally invasive".
Many doctors dissuade patients from strip surgery asking "why would you want a big scar".

The focus should be on RESULTS. Not how a doctor takes out the grafts.
In terms of graft quality between FUE (ARTAS, Neograft) versus Strip, the Strip harvested grafts are generally better (which means better results). The exceptions are the doctors with unskilled staff, then the ARTAS grafts will be better.

From a donor scarring perspective, if you are ever going to shave your head or cut your hair really short, you should probably get the FUE. That is it. If a "line scar" scares you, then get the FUE. Just remember a 4000 graft FUE scar is like having a collective open wound hole the size of a baseball on the back of the head. There is nothing minimally invasive about that. I also perform Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) and fix horrible FUE scars routinely. There is nothing "scarless" about FUE. I have performed surgery on Dr. Rassman and his family members using the strip technique. The linear scar on Dr. Rassman is a pencil thin line you probably will have a hard time finding. The point is, a strip surgery scar is not as terrible as the internet makes it out to be.

The focus should be on Results.
A bad hair transplant result from FUE or Strip is like Herpes. You'll carry it with you for life.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

5757 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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.