What is FUT?
With an FUT (follicular unit transplant), after numbing the donor area with injections of a local anesthetic, a strip of the scalp is removed from the back of the head. Depending in the number of grafts required, the strip is usually about 1.0-1.2 cms. wide and can be several cms. short or extend from ear to ear in length. Then, under a microscope, this strip is separated into the individual grafts under a microscope. Every hair grows from an individual hair follicle but sometimes these follicles are very close together in pairs or triplets. These pairs and triplets (and the occasional quadruplet) are also referred to as follicular units. When separating the strip into grafts, we try and maintain that anatomical integrity so some grafts will have one hair but in instances where the follicles are very close together, those parings are kept intact and some grafts might have two or three hairs. Since hair normally grows in these groupings, having grafts with 2 or 3 hairs looks completely natural but can provide more density than individual hair follicles. Using a fine pair of forceps, these grafts are then placed into the recipient sites that have been created using a small needle or scalpel. Although this is an older procedure, it is still considered the gold standard, yielding a higher number of grafts and a slightly higher growth rate.
What is FUE?
FUE (follicular unit extraction) is the newer method of graft extraction and consists of removing the grafts individually with a biopsy type punch. Although the punches are very small (less than 1mm. in diameter), grafts containing multiple follicles within one graft can still be obtained. The benefit of this procedure is that there’s no linear scar as there is with an FUT. This is ideal for someone who likes to shave the back part of their head, shave the sides of their head, or keep their hair really short. The downside is that the graft yield and growth rate is slightly lower. After the grafts are obtained, they are gently placed into the recipient sites. The recipient sites are created using a very fine scalpel blade or small needle. Initially, the graft is simply held in by the elasticity of the skin. As the site heals, a scab forms that then locks the graft firmly in place.