Suffering from hair loss? Don’t worry; you’re far from alone. Just in the United States, over 50 million people are burdened with premature hair loss. Though in the past, patients had just a few limited, undesirable solutions for their thinning hair—toupees or settling with the genetics gifted to them by Mother Nature—times have changed. Hair restoration is the way of the future—a technological marvel that leaves patients with a thick, natural head of hair, virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Even better, there are multiple kinds of hair transplantation now available, so that patients can always find a procedure that’s right for them. But how do patients know which procedure is the right one?
There are two main types of hair transplant: Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). The key difference between the two is the procedure: in FUE, grafts are removed and placed individually, whereas FUT involves the removal of a strip of scalp, typically between five and ten centimeters in length. (The number of follicular units per strip varies widely depending on the patient.)
With FUT, the donor hair tends to be more viable and of higher quality, so it’s a great choice for a lot of prospective hair transplant patients. The only problem with FUT is that patients are unable to wear their hair very short, as the procedure leaves behind donor scars. FUE doesn’t have a scar because, rather than a strip of skin being removed, each graft is individually pulled from the scalp. However, this takes significantly more time, and, as previously stated, compromises the quality of the hair, due to the very nature of FUE. FUE involves blind dissection, resulting in the loss of, on average, 5-15% of the grafts. In FUT, the surgeon can see everything, down to the very roots of the hair as the dissection is happening. As a result, the number of grafts lost in FUT procedures averages at less than 1%.
So what’s the right choice, then? As with any sort of medical procedure, the answer really depends on myriad factors, all of which should be taken into consideration. The best type of hair transplant varies from patient to patient. Each kind of procedure has both positives and negatives, which patients should weigh and discuss at length with their surgeons before deciding on the one that’s right for them. As stated before, patients hoping to wear their hair short and avoid scarring are more likely to be satisfied with FUE, but any patient with longer hair may want to consider FUT as a better option. Regardless of type, hair transplantation is a fantastic investment for anyone seeking thicker, more voluminous hair, and a more youthful appearance overall.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team based on an exclusive interview provided by Dr. Tom Rosanelli San Francisco, CA.