EXPERT GUIDE

FUT hair transplant

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sternberg Written by David Stelzer on 2 Feb 2021

The FUT method is one of the most common techniques practiced with modern-day hair transplants. This method is particularly suitable for transplanting a large number of grafts in a small amount of time. This technique is more affordable for many patients than alternative methods. But what does it really cost? Is FUT better than FUE? And what are the best FUT surgeons? Learn all the answers in this guide.

What is the FUT method?

The follicular unit transplantation (FUT) method, or strip method, is a hair transplantation technique commonly used by hair transplant clinics and surgeons across the world. Hair follicles are taken via a strip of skin from the donor area at the back of the head and transplanted to restore hair growth. These hair follicles are inserted to the bald areas on the scalp, resulting in new growth.

 

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Origins of the FUT method

The FUT method had its origins in Japan and the USA during the 1940s. However, similar to the FUE method it did not become widely available until the early 2000s. It quickly became the “gold standard” for hair transplants across the world.

It was a far more natural technique than previous hair transplant methods as individual follicles or hair groups were implanted rather than chunks of hair. This helped to resolve the issues of unnatural hair lines and a patchy result that was common prior to this technique.

However according to our global hair transplant study the FUE method is currently the most popular technique among hair restorations clinics:

Most common hair transplant method

How does the FUT method work?

By the age of 70, nearly 80% of men have experienced some form of balding typically as a result of hereditary hair loss, or male pattern baldness. The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes hair loss by binding to the hair follicle and weakening it over time, eventually leading to the follicle falling out. Male pattern baldness is a condition when an individual’s hair follicles have a hypersensitivity to DHT as a result of their genetics.

The FUT method works by removing a strip of skin from the donor area at the back of the head which is dissected into individual hair grafts. These grafts are then inserted into the bald or thinning areas of the scalp to restore hair growth.

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FUT hair transplant procedure

The FUT method is a quicker hair transplantation method than the FUE method as the extraction process is done with the removal of a singular strip rather than individual follicles. The implantation and storage of the follicles follows a similar process as the other methods. The steps to the procedure are:

  • The hair in the donor area will be trimmed down, then the surgeon will remove a strip of skin containing the hairs to be reinserted.
  • The surgeon will then dissect the strip of skin into individual hair follicles which are prepared to insert in the bald areas.
  • The follicles are stored in a sterile cooling solution while they wait for insertion as the bald area is prepared.
  • The surgeon creates small incisions in the balding area, called recipient channels, where the hair grafts are to be inserted.
  • The surgeon finally uses special, angled tweezers to insert the grafts into the recipient channels.
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FUT vs. FUE method

The extraction, storage and insertion of hair grafts are the three phases included in any hair transplant method regardless of the technique used. The FUT and FUE are virtually identical in the storage and insertion phases, but they differ greatly in the way they extract hair follicles from the donor area.

Hai Transplant FUT or FUE

As previously stated, the hair grafts in the FUT method come from the extraction of a strip of skin from the donor area at the back of the head. The strip of skin is then dissected into the individual hair grafts which are inserted in the recipient channels. The FUE method, in contrast, removes these hair follicles one by one from the donor area.

This removal technique can be quite time consuming which often results in a more expensive surgery. It also leads to a visible thinning of the hair in the donor area when a large number of grafts are needed. However, the FUE method will not leave behind as noticeable of a scar for patients who prefer short hairstyles in comparison to the FUT method.

After our hair transplant cost study the FUT method is typically cheaper than the FUE technique. This is due to the fact that the FUE method is much more time consuming. Interestingly, the FUT method is not very common in low labor cost countries like Turkey, Mexico or India.

Pros and Cons FUT method

Pros Cons
The FUT method is a quicker transplant procedure than the FUE method, a large number of grafts can be transplanted in one session. A long, thin scar is left after the FUT method, which can prevent the patient from wearing their hair short. Otherwise, the scar can be more noticeable.
The FUT method is cheaper than the FUE method as it requires a shorter amount of time and the surgeon does not have to put in as much effort to manually extract individual grafts. Overharvesting of grafts can occur with a full strip being removed rather than individual follicles extracted as needed.
There is no thinning of the donor area hair as a strip of skin is removed rather than pulling many individual follicles. Shock loss is a common issue in the donor area with the FUT method as there is more tissue trauma than with the FUE method.
The FUT method allows other hair transplants to be easily performed after the initial method as the donor area remains full of hair.
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Preferred candidates

Older patients are typically preferred for hair transplants as it is easier for surgeons to identify the full extent of what their hair loss will be and select a proper donor area. It is important to select a donor area which is not going to lose hair in the future as the donor area must be resistant to the hormone DHT. In addition, patients suffering from male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia are optimal candidates. Patients who have hair loss resulting from other problems are oftentimes not candidates for a hair transplant procedure.

A full and ample donor area is always preferred for hair transplant procedures however, this is less of a concern for the FUT method than the FUE method. When the strip of skin is removed it does not thin the donor area visibly in the way an FUE hair transplant will, so it is often better for patients with thin hair.

The FUT method is often used by patients who want to hide their hair transplant, e.g. celebrities that have a hair restoration.

Before and After FUT Method

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Possible side effects

The FUT method has similar minor side effects to the FUE method of hair transplant. The FUT method of hair transplant is a very low-risk form of surgery with the only side effects being non-life threatening. In addition, the majority of side effects disappear within several days. Here is a list of the most common side effects patients experience that our experts have compiled:

  • Bleeding: There should be minor bleeding after the FUT hair transplantation from both the area where the grafts are implanted and from the extraction area. The application of pressure with gauze is an easy way to treat the bleeding.
  • Scar pain: The thin wound left behind in the donor area can cause pain for some patients after the surgery. Once the wound heals and the stitches are removed the patient should experience no pain.
  • Risk of infection: All forms of surgery carry a small risk of infection as it leaves behind an open wound. The wound left behind from the FUT method is at a very low risk of infection as there is a high level of blood circulation in the scalp.
  • Swelling: For several days after the surgery there could be minor swelling in the eye area and the scalp. This is relatively minor and does not cause a large amount of discomfort for the patient.
  • Scab formation: A large, thin scab can be expected to form over the extraction wound. It will fall off roughly a week after it forms.
  • Shock loss: Some patients may experience hair loss in areas near the transplanted grafts from tissue trauma. This effect is known as shock loss and is only temporary.
  • Itching, tension and numbness: A feeling of tension and numbness may be experienced by the patient after the surgery.
  • Hair shedding: While the hair follicles are stored in the sterile solution, they lose their connection to the blood supply, which can cause the hair to shedding effect after implantation. This side effect will only last about 1-6 weeks before new growth starts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better an FUE or FUT hair transplant?

Is an FUT hair transplant painful?

What is the success rate of an FUT hair transplant?

How do you sleep after an FUT hair transplant?

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