FUT Hair Transplantation
FUT is a traditional hair transplantation method and is still the most popular method today. This method is suitable for hair transplantation with a large number of grafts because it does not take much time and is more affordable compared to other methods. In this article, we will discuss the cost of hair transplantation with this method and the advantages and disadvantages of FUT and FUE methods.
What is FUT?
The follicular unit transplantation (FUT) or strip method, is commonly used by clinics and surgeons around the world. In this method, a strip of scalp tissue is removed from the donor area, dissected and then transplanted into the recipient area to solve baldness and receding hairline problems
Background of FUT Method
FUT method was developed in Japan and the United States in 1937. However, it was not widely popular until 1997, similar to FUE method. But after that it became the “gold standard method” in hair transplantation around the world.
FUT is a hair transplantation method that gives a more natural result than the traditional method (Hair Plug) as each follicle or hair unit is transplanted rather than using chunks of hair. Therefore, it can help with unnatural hairline and doll-like result found in traditional method.
However, a global hair transplant study showed that FUE is the most popular technique among hair transplant clinics.
How does FUT Method work?
From adolescence to the age of 70, nearly 80% of men suffer from androgenetic alopecia caused by hypersensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone responsible for hair loss. This hormone binds and weakens the hair follicles over time, causing the hair to die and eventually fall out.
The FUT method begins with removal of a strip of skin from the donor area at the back of the head. The strip of skin is then dissected into grafts which are then transplanted into the balding or thinning areas to solved hair loss problem.
FUT Hair Transplant Procedure
FUT is a less time-consuming hair transplantation method compared to FUE method. This s because a strip of scalp tissue rather than individual follicles is removed in the extraction step. However, the implantation and storage steps the same as that of the FUE method. FUT hair transplantation has the following steps:
Hair in the donor area is trimmed. A strip of skin full of hair shafts is then removed from the donor area.
The strip of skin is then dissected into individual hair follicles.
The follicles are stored in a sterile cooling solution until transplanted into the bald-pinching area.
Small incisions where the hair grafts are to be inserted are made in the balding area. These incisions are called recipient channels.
Individual grafts are inserted into the recipient channels using at special angled forceps.
FUT vs. FUE
Hair transplantation consists of 3 main steps: extraction, storage and insertion. All hair transplantation techniques have similar storage and insertion steps, but the significant difference is in the extraction step.
In FUT method, the grafts are obtained from the removal of a strip of skin from the donor area at the back of the head as mentioned above. The strip of skin is then dissected into the individual grafts to be inserted in the recipient channels or small incisions. But in FUE method, the hair follicles are extracted from the donor area, one graft at a time.
In FUT method, graft extraction may take less time than FUE method and is cheaper. It can maintain hair density in the donor area and a large amount of grafts can be extracted. However, compared to FUT method, any scar is noticeable by FUE method for people wearing short hair.
According to a hair transplantation cost study, FUT method is much cheaper than FUE method as it takes less time. However, FUT is not the most common method in low-wage countries such as Thailand, Mexico or India.
Pros and Cons of FUT Method
FUT method takes less time than FUE method because a large number of grafts can be transplanted in one session of FUT procedure.
FUT method produces a long, thin scar. Therefore, the scar may be clearly visible if the patient wears their hair short
FUT method is less expensive than FUE because it takes less time and the hair surgeon does not have to spend much effort in the extraction step.
Hair grafts may be over-harvested because a strip of tissue is removed rather than extracting individual follicles as needed.
Hair in the donor area will not appear thinner as a strip of skin tissue is removed rather than extracting many follicles.
Compared to FUE method, FUT method often cause shock loss at the donor area due to more tissue injury.
Who is A Good Candidate for FUT Method?
Hair transplantation is suitable for older patients as it is easier to determine the full extent of hair loss problem and select the donor area. It is imperative to choose a donor area that is resistant to DHT in order to prevent hair loss in the future. In addition, the hair transplant is suitable for male patients suffering from male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia, but it is not suitable for hair loss caused by other problems.
The donor area should be large and has enough hairs. However, the characteristics of the donor area are not of much concern for FUT method compared to FUE method. This is because a strip of skin tissue is removed, unlike the FUE method, the hair at the donor area will not appear noticeably thinner.
Possible side effects
FUT method has similar side effects as FUE method. It is a very low-risk surgery as only non-life-threatening side effects are observed and its side effects usually within a few days. The possible side effects of FUT method are as follows:
- Bleeding: After FUT hair transplantation, patients may experience slight bleeding at the recipient area and the donor area due to trauma to the scalp where gauze can be applied to initially stop the bleeding in that area.
- Scar pain: After the operation, some patients may occasionally experience pain at a thin wound left at the donor area. The patient will no longer feel pain in the wound once the wound heals and the stitches are removed.
- Risk of infection: Like other operations, FUT hair transplantation pose a at risk of infection as it leaves open wound. However, the risk is low as FUT minimally-invasive procedure and blood circulation in the scalp is high.
- Swelling: Patients may experience slight swelling around the eyes and scalp for several days after operation but this does not result in severe discomfort.
- Scab formation: A large, thin scab may form on the wound resulting from graft extraction. However, it will fall off after about a week.
- Shock loss: Some patients may experience shock loss which is hair loss near the recipient area as a result of tissue injury. However, it is only a temporary condition.
- Itching, stiffness and numbness: Patients may experience temporary stiffness and numbness immediately after surgery.
- Hair shedding: During graft extraction and storage in a sterile solution, the hair follicles lack blood supply and therefore may cause hair shedding after hair transplantation. However, this side effect will only last 1-6 weeks, after which new growth starts.
In recent years, FUE has been marketed as an advanced hair transplant method that produces better results. However, most experts agree that each method has its own advantages and it depends on the condition of hair loss problem and the goals of each patient.
Hair transplantation is performed under local anesthesia. Prior to the operation, local anesthesia is injected into the scalp. The patient therefore will feel pain only during anesthetic injection and no pain should be felt during the operation. The patients may experience slight pain after the operation during the healing process and it can be relieved by taking painkillers.
The success rate of FUT hair transplant depends on the skills and expertise of the hair surgeon. If it is performed correctly, the success rate is 90% or more.
You should lie on your back while keeping your neck and head high. This is to reduce pressure on the affected area. Swelling and damage to the grafts may occur if you lie on your stomach.