The technologies available these days to treat hair loss are remarkable. There are a variety of treatments from a variety of providers. But if you’re specifically considering a hair transplant, how do you decide which type of hair transplant is best for you?
Your hair transplant surgeon can provide you with all the information you need, tailored to your circumstances, to help you make an informed decision. But let’s look at some of the different types of hair transplant and what they involve.
What are Hair Plugs?
In the bad-old-days of the 1980s, hair plugs were a popular method of restoring hair in balding men. This method involved removing a long strip of skin and hair follicles from the back of the scalp, leaving a long scar. The donor section of skin and follicles (or graft) was then cut into smaller ‘plugs’ and implanted in the sparse areas of the head. However, the grafts of hair used for the plug method contained an unusually large number of hairs clumped together and once implanted gave a doll’s hair/head look to the new hairline. Thankfully, this method is rarely used nowadays, as there are techniques that lead to a much more natural look.
What is Follicular Unit Grafting and Follicular Unit Transplantation?
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or Follicular Unit Grafting (FUG) use the same follicle harvesting methods as old-style hair plugs, sometimes called Strip Surgery. Healthy hair follicles are harvested from the back of the scalp in a long strip. Once removed, this long incision is stitched and stapled closed. This leaves a scar which can be difficult to hide if you wear your hair short in the back.
The donor follicles are dissected into individual follicle grafts, each containing 1-4 hairs. Once implanted, these small grafts achieve a more natural look than hair plugs. It looks like natural hair growth and does away with the doll’s hair look, common with hair plugs. However, this method leaves you with a painful recovery time and visible scarring.
What is Follicular Unit Extraction?
The difference between Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and FUG/FUT is how donor follicles are harvested.
FUG/FUT do so by harvesting a long strip of skin from the back of the scalp. Follicular Unit Extraction, however uses a series of specifically designed instruments to extract hair follicles one by one. No need for an invasive incision or stitches and staples. Follicles are dissected into sections of 1-4 hairs each and are implanted into the desired area. Great care is taken to ensure no trauma is caused to the follicles. This ensures the hair will grow well in its new position.
Follicular Unit Extraction has a longer procedure time than FUG/FUT, but this is our preferred technique at Melbourne Hair Transplant Clinic because of its immensely better recovery time, with a lot less discomfort, and less pain drugs.
Punch incision around hair follicle
Extraction of follicular units
Harvesting of the grafts
Implantation of the grafts
Why we choose Follicular Unit Extraction over FUT/FUG
- Follicular Unit Extraction is much less invasive: no strip harvesting of donor follicles.
- It leaves no unsightly, tell-tale linear scar on the back of the scalp. When performed correctly and follicles are removed evenly, FUE punch scars can be virtually undetectable.
- Recovery is faster and less painful.
- It makes the most of healthy follicles, maximising donor hair for harvesting.
The Short Version
- Hair plugs, FUT and FUG all use the strip harvesting method of removing a long strip from the back of the scalp.
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) uses specially designed instruments to harvest donor follicles one by one and transplants them to the desired areas.
- FUE is a better choice for hair transplant because of its decreased recovery time, less discomfort, and less pain drugs.
- To find out more book an appointment with Dr Paraskevas.