Hair Restoration – Pros & Cons of Follicular Unit Extraction

The two main techniques Dr. Thompson utilizes to perform hair transplant surgery are Follicular Unit Transplant (strip method or FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). FUT is performed by taking a strip of hair from the back of the head and extracting each follicle that is then transplanted to the thinning areas of the scalp. This method is very common and when the incision is closed properly by an experienced facial plastic surgeon, the incision will fade to a faint line that others will not notice.

Follicular Unit Extraction for successful hair restoration is becoming increasingly popular as follicules are extracted one by one with no need for an incision in the back of the scalp. There are many advantages to choosing FUE versus FUT but many disadvantages as well, as outlined below.


Advantages of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

  • No scar in the donor area – important for those that wear their hair very short
  • Decreased healing time with no donor area incisions
  • No downtime or limitations on exercise immediately following surgery
  • Less discomfort following surgery
  • Better for those with a greater risk of scarring, ie those with very tight or loose scalps, those that are very muscular and athletic
  • Enables one to harvest finer hair from the nape of the neck – typically for use at the hairline or for eyebrows
  • Makes it possible to harvest non-scalp hair, such as beard or body hair


Disadvantages of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

  • With the strip method, all follicles are harvested from a donor area where hair is most permanent – the back of the head. With FUE, follicles are taken from many areas of the scalp and much more is needed to ensure a sufficient amount of grafts. Overtime, scars from FUE in the upper and lower areas of the scalp where follicles have been extracted may become noticeable overtime with continued thinning.
  • The quality of the grafts tends to not be as good as it is with FUT. There is a higher rate of graft damage (follicular transection), grafts are more fragile and subject to trauma during placement (due to the lack of protective dermis and fat), and there a lower chance of of capturing the entire follicular unit during extraction.
  • The likelihood of needing an additional procedure is higher as lower quality grafts may not grow as well.
  • Though very small, more scars will result from additional FUE treatments. With FUT, the strips is excised and closed again still leaving only one scar.
  • Since follicles are harvested one by one, FUE takes longer than the strip method and larger cases may need to be performed over a two day span
  • FUE is typically more expensive than FUT

View Before and After photos and visit our hair restoration page to learn more. For a free consultation with Dr. Thompson to discuss hair replacement surgery, call (801)776-2220 to schedule an online consultation or in-office at our Layton, Bountiful or Draper office location.



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