At Centre for Surgery, we offer a range of procedures for those wanting to restore their hair. For men, some of those options include Follicular Unit Transplantation Hair Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
Both FUT and FUE are equally effective methods for grafting hair naturally, so there is no best method. However, the choice of the option depends on the results desired by the individual as well as the severity of the hair loss issue. It is highly recommended that patients find out the right hair transplant option fit for them during their consultation because various factors will need to be taken into consideration and the surgeon will take you through it.
AT A GLANCE
Anaesthesia type: Local
Procedure time: 3-10 hours
Recovery time: 2-3 days
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) hair transplant also widely known as ‘the strip technique’, is a traditional technique that involves removing strips of tissues from the donor area on the scalp, typically from the back of the head which is then inserted back onto the area to be treated.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a non-invasive procedure that involves extracting individual healthy follicular units directly from a donor area on the scalp, typically from the back of the neck, and then transferring them onto the balding or thinning area of the patient.
FUE transplant is carried out by our highly experienced surgeon using a specialised punch device that has a needle sized less than 1mm in diameter attached to it. The procedure is performed under a high powered microscope enabling the surgeon to perform it with utmost precision while extracting healthy follicular units along with its complete necessary glands, in order to achieve natural-looking results. The patient will be under local anaesthesia to minimize risks associated with the procedure as well as to reduce downtime.
The most common type of men suitable for the FUT treatment are those who have been losing hair to Male Pattern Baldness for 5 or more years or their condition falls on Class 3 or higher on the Norwood scale. Men who have lost their hair for many years and has now stabilised are also a good candidate for this treatment. In some cases. men who have lost their hair due to trauma, burns or cosmetic procedures such as facelift can also be treated.
Who should consider FUT treatment?
Does not mind the scar – The main problem associated with hair transplant surgery is the scar that will be left after the procedure which is why many people opt for the FUE treatment instead. However, you can consider FUT if the scar will not affect you in any way.
Prefer longer hairstyle – FUT is not recommended to those who may want shorter hairstyle in the future because of the scar that is left after the treatment.
The ideal candidate must have healthy hair growth at the back and sides of the head to serve as donors. A patient with very little hair may not be advised to use hair transplant surgery. The best way to find out if you are an ideal candidate is to book a consultation so the surgeon can determine from factors such as the density of hair, skin complexion, the texture of hair as to whether the procedure can be done.
Who should consider FUE treatment?
- Younger people – People in their 20s are most likely to be recommended the FUE treatment due to the fact that it does not leave any scars and so it will not have an impact on their self-esteem. Because of this people can have shorter hairstyles if they want.
- People with short hair – FUE treatment is more suitable for people with shorter hair due to the minimal scarring involved.
- Who previously has had FUT treatment – People who have already had hair transplant previously are advised to go for the FUE treatment to avoid more scarring that will already be present from the previous treatment.
What is the procedure for an FUT hair transplant?
1) The hairline design: A design for your hairline is created by using an eyebrow pencil or marker which allows the surgeon to create a more natural looking hairline.
2) The surgeon will then trim the hair that is going to be extracted with the strip technique and the patient will be given local anaesthesia to numb the area to be treated.
3) A linear strip of hair follicles is taken from the back and/or side of the head (whichever has the healthiest hair)and the resulting wound is then closed up with stitches.
4) The strip taken from the chosen donor area which contains thousands of hair grafts will then be separated individually before being inserted back onto the scalp, this is done by the use of a microscope to select the grafts of suitable sizes.
5) The bald area will need to be injected with local anaesthesia to prepare it for implantation.
6) With the use of tiny blades, the surgeon creates small incisions in the area of baldness in certain angles. The angles of incision determines the direction the transplanted hair will be. Once this is done the follicular grafts are then inserted into the incisions created.
1) Hairline planning- First of all the surgeon plans a hairline for the patient ensuring it looks natural. The hairline the surgeon plans is drawn on the patient’s head as a template for the procedure.
2) Hair is trimmed- If a lot of hair is required to be transplanted then the whole head will be trimmed down if not only thin strips of hair will be shaved without needing a whole haircut. Once the haircut is finished local anaesthesia is inserted to prevent pain and bleeding.
3) At this point the hair follicles are extracted, only the healthy hairs are chosen so there is more chance of them growing once implanted into the donor area.
After the surgery, the transplant will start to become less detectable after a few days and will almost become undetectable after about a week. Swelling after the procedure may occur but it will significantly reduce within a week and the patient can also take painkillers if needed. After 10 weeks the transplanted hair will start to grow and after six months it will be long enough to groom. In most cases, it may take up to a year for the full head of hair. It could take up to two to three weeks for the scalp to fully recover. We advise our patient not to carry out strenuous activities until the transplant has fully recovered, but after that, they can go back to their normal routine.
Possible risks from FUT include:
- Poor/slow hair growth can be a possible occurrence.
- Infection can also occur, however, it is very rare for this to happen because antibiotics are prescribed before and after the surgery.
- Noticeable scarring from the strip technique but the surgeon can perform the cut in a place where the hair can cover the scar.
- Slow wound healing is possible, which is often dependent on genetics.
- Risk of darkening of the skin (hyper-pigmentation), however, extremely rare. Hyper-pigmentation occurs when there is swelling/inflammation which will be on the scalp after the hair transplantation.
Once the operation is done, two days after you will see the new hairline and may have a bit of swelling and soreness however as days pass this will be reduced and then eventually will pass. A couple weeks after the procedure you may experience some of the transplanted hairs to fall out which is completely normal although if bleeding occurs then it is advised to check back with the surgeon. Results will start the show from the hair transplant after about a month but the full results may not be shown until up to six months later.
Potential risks from FUE include:
- Soreness, swelling and discomfort around the scalp but eases within a week.
- Scarring can also occur, and there is a possibility that the transplanted hair can go into ‘shock’ and fall out, and even cause the remaining hair to do the same.
- Infection- This can cause the hair follicles to be weakened and potentially fall out, reversing the effects of the procedure. Infection can occur however it is extremely unlikely for this to happen, as the surgeon should use sterilisation and if this procedure is done correctly infection is extremely rare so it’s important the patient chooses the surgeon correctly. The surgeon will give post-op instructions to ensure they take care of their scalp to make sure there is no infection. If this is followed then no infection should occur.
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Should I get an FUT transplant?
There are several types of people who are appropriate patients for FUT treatment. Men who have had male pattern baldness for five years or more, or those who are Class 3 or higher on the Norwood scale. FUT treatment is also an appropriate option for those who have lost their hair due to burns or trauma.
What is the difference between FUT and FUE treatments?
When considering hair transplants, there are two suitable options: Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
FUT involves removing an entire strip of tissue from the patient, with thousands of follicular units then transplanted. This is often the preferred method, as the follicular units more closely mimic the patient’s natural hair. However, this is not always a viable option for every patient. This method may also leave a larger scar, as it is removing a whole strip of tissue, rather than individual units, as with FUE.
Meanwhile, FUE involves extracting individual follicular units, typically from the back of the head or neck, with the process repeated until enough follicular units have been gathered. This option is often preferred for younger people, as well as those who have scarring or healing issues.
What are the risks?
As with every surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with FUT and FUE.
Patients will experience soreness and swelling around the scalp which will ease within a week. There is also the risk of scarring, particularly with FUT, as a whole strip of tissue will be removed. However, the surgeon can perform this in an area where hair will grow back to minimise noticeable scarring. While it is unlikely, there is also the risk of infection, however, this is rare as antibiotics are prescribed before and after the surgery, and you will be informed of correct post-op care instructions.