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 32

Strip method versus follicular unit extraction

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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.

Is FUE the best technique?

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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
Vancouver Dermatologist

Is there a best technique for hair transplantation.

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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

FUE it is

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FUE will allow you to have better results for the following reason:

With the FUT procedure they extract a strip of your scalp and they already calculated how many follicles they can obtain from it. The problem is that they will be limited in quantity to what the strip contains and you also have to consider that not all the follicles from that strip will be optimum to be transplanted due to the different quality of hair you find on it. Recovery time is longer and you will end with a visible scar.

When doing an FUE transplant, the Doctor selects each follicle. The hair is not obtained from just one strip but it can go anywhere in your donor area. This allows us to select the best follicles available to be transplanted. The recovery time is way less than with the FUT; and of course, we avoid leaving the big scar that you will get from the Strip Procedure (FUT). The average scar from a FUE procedure is hardly visible to the human eye.

William Yates, MD
Chicago Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Is FUE Hair Transplant the Best Harvesting Technique?

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Thank you for posting your question, great question. It is different case to case, patient by patient, the outcome is just as great if the density is replicated. Now, the questions comes how short are you planning on cutting your hair? FUE is the least invasive in recovery, which also gives the patients on sporting a shorter haircut and flexibility. 

Matt Tahsini, MD
Pasadena Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews


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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
4.9 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

FUE vs FUT preference depends on the patient

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FUE is a method to extract hairs without leaving a linear scar.  Linear scars are more noticeable especially if you wear your hair short.  Since you prefer to wear your hair short, FUE may be a better option for you.  There are different FUE devices that allow the physician to extract the hairs.  The ARTAS robotic procedure is the gold standard FUE device given its precision and efficiency.  - Dr. Keaney

Terrence Keaney, MD
Arlington Dermatologic Surgeon

Is FUE a Better Technique than FUT ?

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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

Fue or FUT

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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
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

FUT vs strip vs FUE hair transplants

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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

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.