What is the difference between FUE and strip method hair transplants?
Hair transplant surgery can have an amazing impact on the happiness and confidence of those suffering from hair loss and baldness, but when choosing what type of surgery to have, many patients are confused as to the differences between strip and FUE transplant surgery. Although both can give effective results, the surgeries do differ quite dramatically, and each has its own pros and cons which patients must weigh up carefully before booking their treatment.
The main difference between the FUE and strip methods is the way that donor hair is extracted. During the strip method (also known as FUT – follicular unit transplantation) the donor hair is removed with a scalpel in a long strip. The donor area is usually located at the back of the head, where it tends to be at its thickest and healthiest. Individual follicles are dissected from the strip with the help of fiber optic microscopes. The surgeon then inserts the individual follicles into areas of the scalp where hair is thinnest, in the same slots that once contained hair. The area in which the donor strip was removed is then closed with either sutures or staples.
With Neograft, a specific FUE (follicular unit extraction) hair transplants, the donor areas are shaved and follicles are removed individually via a tiny vacuum device, rather than in a long strip, before being inserted into the recipient area in the same way as described above. This allows for the hair transplant technicians to have more control of the extraction area in order to minimize scarring and trauma to the scalp. The procedure does not involved scalpels or sutures and is therefore less invasive.
Differences in procedure length
FUE hair transplants tend to take longer than the strip method, since individual removal of the follicular units is far more meticulous . Depending on the severity of hair loss and the number of grafts required, an FUE procedure can take between six and eight hours. By comparison, strip hair transplant surgery usually takes between four and seven hours.
Differences in recovery time
When it comes to strip hair transplants, much of the recovery is based on the donor site in which there are sutures or staples. Generally, sutures can be removed after seven days, during which time patients may feel some pain and discomfort. It usually takes around one month for the donor site to fully heal, but there is a risk of the remaining scar being permanently visible.
FUE hair transplants require a much shorter recovery time, since there are no major incisions which need to heal. Patients can usually return to work the following day and should not notice too much discomfort in either the donor or recipient areas. The donor sites will scar, but since only very tiny areas of tissue are removed, the scarring is minimal and barely noticeable when the surrounding hair regrows.
With both transplant methods, it is usually nine to 12 months until the transplanted hair is fully grown and the full results can be appreciated.
Which is better?
Many patients prefer the FUE technique because it doesn’t cause any visible scarring. Although FUE procedures are significantly more time consuming, this is offset by the fact that little to no downtime is needed after the surgery. FUE is seen within the cosmetic surgery industry as the more refined hair transplant method, and for this reason more and more people are choosing it in their search for a thicker, healthier head of hair.