Strip vs FUE
The goal of hair restoration is to move hair from one part of the scalp to another. Hair grafts are harvested from the back of the head, where the hair is less susceptible to hormonal changes, and transplanted into balding and thinning areas. The difference between the techniques is mainly in the way the follicles are extracted from the donor area. While it appears to be simple, it is a complex procedure.
In the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) technique, hair is removed from the back of the scalp in a single strip, cut into grafts and implanted. The Strip method is the most commonly used technique. Strip harvesting creates a linear scar which is easily concealed by the hair above the scar.
In the FUT technique, hair is transplanted in grafts composed of 1- 4 hairs or follicular units. Follicular units also contain sebaceous glands, nerves, muscles and fine hairs. The transplanted follicular units are made into grafts using a microscope, to retain the hair’s anatomy and anatomical parts. This allows for the safe transplantation of thousands of grafts in one session.
The FUT transplanted hair will retain the attributes of natural hair including the way hair grows, and will be undetectable. The advantages of FUT Strip technique:
- It maximizes hair transplant growth with little to no damage to the follicular units.
- It provides a natural look because hair normally grows in follicular units of 1-4 hairs. Transplantation is natural in both the individual unit and in overall graft distribution.
- The key to naturalness is to have the hair emerge from the skin. Creating small incisions with a needle minimizes scalp trauma and the follicular units fit into these small wounds. This preserves scalp elasticity and a tight fit holds the grafts in place.
- A snug fit also aids wound healing and sufficient oxygen to maximize graft survival.
A potential disadvantage of the FUT with Strip procedure is that a scar is created from strip harvesting. This may be a concern for patients who desire to wear their hair very short. But good technique can minimize the scar.
The follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique was created as a non-invasive alternative to strip harvesting and the scar. FUE involves less cutting, and is less invasive. Here whole grafts are extracted one by one and implanted in the recipient area. It leaves only tiny scars in a circular pattern, because they are created by a punch. However, in some cases it creates pigmented dots that may be visible when the hair is very short. Another issue created by the FUE technique is that when a large number of grafts are extracted too close together, the result may appear as a scar.
The FUE technique is good for patients with limited hair loss. It is also appropriate for patients with scarring from trauma, and dermatology conditions, and for patients who tend to heal with wide scars. It is also beneficial for patients who wear their hair very short. It is not indicated for patients with curly hair.
When FUE’s are extracted, the follicular units are potentially susceptible to trauma, which creates a risk that the follicular units will not survive. Moreover, less tissue surrounds the grafts, putting the grafts at risk for dehydration, the main cause of reduced survival. However, these techniques are very dependent on the technical skills of the surgeon. And, many patients who have undergone FUE have excellent results.
Dr. M. David Cole, M.D. of Horizon Dermatology and Laser Institute, is exceedingly well qualified and experienced in hair transplantation techniques. His artistic skills combined with his technical expertise can achieve a natural appearance with the necessary density, using either technique. He will assess the donor hair density and quality to determine the appropriate technique based on your hair, the number of grafts needed and the location of the grafts.
Each technique has benefits and disadvantages. Both are acceptable and can produce excellent results. FUE is ideal for patients who do not want a linear scar. When you are considering hair transplantation, call the Horizon Dermatology and Laser Institute in Newport Beach, Torrance, and Fullerton, California. You will experience a kind and caring environment and superlative professional services.