Follicular Unit Hair Transplant (also called FUT for short) is a more advanced Strip Method procedure where hair is transplanted into the recipient site in the naturally occurring groups of 1-4 hair follicles found within the donor strip taken.
First, the donor strip is removed by the Strip Method – a full length of skin is removed from the donor area of the scalp. (This is the main difference between the Strip Method and the Follicular Unit Extraction Method – the follicular unit extraction method removes all the grafts individually from the donor area and does NOT remove a whole strip of skin as does the Strip Method). The area where the donor strip is removed is sutured closed, generally – but not always – leaving a thin, fine, line scar.
During this type of hair transplant, these follicular groups of hair follicles found within the donor strip skin are dissected usually using a stereo-microscope – which is performed almost exclusively by the staff. In the Follicular Unit Extractiontechnique ( FUE), the individual follicular units are removed directly from the back or sides of the scalp by the surgeon – through a small round very fine cutting tool. This FUE technique results in no linear scar, no stitches, and superior healing.
Follicular Unit Transplants (or FUT) utilizing the Follicular Unit Extraction method, is not only the latest Hair Transplant Surgery Technique available, but it also far exceeds the Strip Method (with or without using the FUT) regarding donor hair health and healing. Keep in mind that the Strip Method employs removal of the donor hair by surgically removing a ‘strip’ of skin from the donor area of the scalp. After the strip is removed, the clinic may dissect the strip into Follicular Units (therefore termed a Follicular Unit Transplant) or dissect the grafts into random size grafts and not dissecting according to the natural grouping of ‘follicular units’ found in the scalp. Follicular Unit Extraction is a far superior technique than the strip method because all the grafts are removed by the surgeon, all the grafts are removed in their natural follicular groupings, and the healing is far superior.
As Dr. Loria explains on his video regarding the LORIA FUE Procedure, he selected a semi-automatic approach to harvest the donor hair follicular units. This allows TOTAL control of graft harvesting – and is not dependent upon a vacuum to suck out the grafts (the fully automated approach).
This control allows Dr. Loria to determine what pressure to exert to pull out the follicular unit. This technique demands skill and time, and that is one reason it is not commonly utilized. The fully manual approach, using a manual punch device to harvest grafts, is slow, too time consuming, and unstable considering the rotary motion needed to cut the donor follicular unit possibly causing transection or trauma.
See the next Q & A below – this Q is answered there.
There are two man reasons.
First – Most hair transplant surgeons cannot perform this type of procedure because they do not have the training or they simply do not have the manual dexterity/skills. This will cause them to charge an exorbitant amount to deter the patient from even considering this procedure performed. Dr. Loria performs this procedure at a very reasonable and affordable price.
Secondly – The hair transplant surgeon would simply rather perform the STRIP Method – which is far easier and faster for the surgeon. So, the surgeon charges an exorbitant amount to deter the patient from have the FUE Procedure. Dr. Loria discourages all patients from having a strip method performed due to the potential scarring it may cause in the donor area.
There is not ONE good reason to perform a Strip Method – except for donor hair instability to the follicular extraction and physicians charging exorbitant fees to perform such a procedure deterring patients. Arguments put forth such as having more donor hair available utilizing the Strip Method, or causing more scarring using the FUE technique, etc., are all untrue. If visualized under the microscope, the healing of the FUE site is not visible to the naked eye. If a scar is not visible, who would really care about it? Also, why can’t one take just as many if not more grafts out of the donor area as compared to the Strip Method? After taking into consideration of the dissection waste and transections involved with the Strip Method, the Follicular Unit Extraction Method is superior.
There are only a few reasons. When a new surgical technique is developed most physicians will naturally not know how to perform such a technique without training. A few physicians will pursue training but most physicians will NOT. Why… you might ask? If a physician’s clinic is very busy, the mentality is… ‘why change now… we are busy’.
This is unethical but this is what happens. Considering that the Strip Method ( even though a substandard technique) is still considered ‘acceptable’, physicians like Dr. Loria easily recognize that the Follicular Unit Extraction method is far superior and should always be the procedure of choice. Other reasons involve the physician’s inability to perform such an intricate and meticulous procedure, the physician’s desire to perform the easier ‘Strip Method’ – not wanting to cut all the follicular units, the difficulty in obtaining adequate training, or there might be ‘profit’ motive as well. Some will build arguments that many patients are not candidates for the procedure due to follicular ‘splaying’, etc. This is not true. A far majority of patients are candidates for the newer, more advanced Follicular Unit Extraction method – without exception.
Yes. The FUE is far superior in healing than the Strip Method in several ways. First, there are no stitches to be removed with the FUE technique, like in the Strip Method. The stitches are a source of pain and discomfort for 2 weeks after the hair transplant is performed.
Secondly, the Strip Method ALWAYS forms a long linear scar in the donor area – the only question is how wide will it be? This depends on the surgeons suturing skills AND the patient’s healing capacity. With the FUE technique, the skin healing cannot be detected with the naked eye – only if the FUT method uses a very small extraction instrument as is used in the LORIA FUE Technique.
A patient may have had a strip method performed in the past and may take advantage of the fact the a donor scar is already present, the cost is less for this ‘Strip Method’ procedure, and the patient is willing to go through the discomfort of stitches for two weeks after the procedure is performed. Please note that if the surgeon does not remove the first scar while performing the second hair transplant procedure, the patient will now have two long scars – this is not advantageous. If the original scar is removed, then the choice to have the Strip Method performed is up to the patient.
At Loria Medical, we use a very small ultra-fine blade to create recipient sites for hair transplants. The key to success with making recipient sites concerns their depth, width, angulation, and pattern of the cuts. All of these factors must be taken into serious consideration for an optimal outcome.
At Loria Medical, Dr. Loria’s goal is not to transplant as many grafts as possible, but to get the best results possible without exhausting a person’s donor supply. It is very important to keep reserve donor hair for future hair loss. Unnecessarily large sessions also risk poor growth due to individual patient limits on circulation and healing capacities.