FUE vs FUT

Key Differences between FUT Strip Surgery and the AHI FUE technique

The most important difference between Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and the Strip Method is the technique used for extracting the follicular units. With FUE, a specialized punch with less than 1mm diameter is used to extract the hair from the scalp. The main advantage of this technique is that follicular units are extracted directly form the scalp rather than in larger groups, which obviates the utilization of scalpel and stitching.

fue-fut

On the left you can see a simple diagram showing how follicular units extraction happens. A punch of under 1mnn diameter is placed in the skin to th depth of the hair’s root allowing the Hair Transplant Surgeon to remove the hair from the skin without causing damage.

This new non-invasive technique is offered by very few hair transplantation clinics in Europe. The reason is that very few hair transplant surgeons are able to master this difficult technique because FUE requires special know-how and correct practice from the medical team in order to complete this procedure in a way to produce results.

It should also be noted that FUE clinics or individual FUE hair transplant surgeons should be able to demonstrate extensive previous experience in strip surgery and be able to produce documented results like we do. This is the only way that they can prove that they have mastered this hair transplant technique. It is therefore recommended that potential FUE patients evaluate which FUE clinic based to chose based on either its previous Strip results and/or its current FUE results.

1. Extraction of Follicles

FUT: Hair transplantation has for many years been based on the donor site STRIP extraction method, which means that a long strip (20-25 cm in length and 1cm to 2.5cm in width) of hair bearing skin is removed using a scalpel from the donor site of the head, the area is then stitched up and a period of 30 days is required for full healing.

This donor skin is passed to nurses to be divided into grafts either with or without microscopes, depending upon the clinic which is doing the procedure.

Up to 30% of the donor strip grafts can be damaged through the scalpel extraction procedure and through the graft dissection which is carried out by the nurses.

AHI FUE: The graft extraction is simple, painless and heals within 2-4 days.

This is excellent for the patient as he does not have to endure a period of 30 days where he should be careful about exercise and movement as healing is extremely rapid.

There is no requirement at all for the use of scalpels or stitching, as we have said the AHI FUE technique is minimally invasive and completely client friendly.

Each follicular unit is removed individually (one by one) carefully by a surgeon whom is wearing high magnification loupes.

One hugely important factor with the AHI FUE technique is that not even one follicular unit is damaged during extraction. Should the surgeon decide for any reason that he will not remove the follicular unit that has been targeted, he simply leaves it there, opts not to remove it and it will continue to grow normally as before.

2. How Invasive are these Techniques?

FUT: This strip method is considered to be major surgery as the doctor should be a surgeon (not a regular doctor or mere dermatologist), as the procedure is invasive and the doctor needs to have undergone surgical training

AHI FUE: The AHI FUE technique is not considered to be invasive surgery at all.

3. Are Invasive Surgical Tools Used/Scalpels?

FUT: The strip extraction method requires the surgeon to use a scalpel in order to cut 5mm deep into the scalp to remove the donor strip.

AHI FUE: The donor grafts (follicular units) are removed with a minimally invasive specially designed extraction tool which ranges from 05.mm to 1.0mm in diameter.

Each follicular unit is removed individually (one by one) carefully by a surgeon whom is wearing high magnification loupes.

One hugely important factor with the AHI Technique technique is that not even one follicular unit is damaged during extraction. Should the surgeon decide for any reason that he will not remove the follicular unit that has been targeted, he simply leaves it there, opts not to remove it and it will continue to grow normally as before.

4. Is Suturing Required?

FUT: Stitches are required following the removal of the strip in order to close the area that has been removed.

AHI FUE: There is no stitching required.

5. Recovery Time

FUT: The post operative recovery time is 30 days, during which time the patient must completely avoid exercise and must follow a very careful post operative care program.

The strip extraction method is a painful experience that disturbs the day to day recovery post operatively of the patient.

AHI FUE: The AHI FUE procedure incurs no pain at all, it is minimally invasive and therefore there is almost no post operative discomfort or post operative recovery time and for this reason most of our patients head back to work or travel home the day following the procedure.

6. Sports

FUT: The strip extraction method demands that the patient does not play sport for 30 days post operatively.

AHI FUE: The FUE technique allows the patient to go back to a sports program 14 days post operatively.

7. Is it Possible to Damage the Follicles?

FUT: An unfortunate aspect of the strip extraction method is that it is possible to transect (damage / cut) up to 30% of the donor strip follicles during the extraction procedure, due to the scalpel transecting a large number of follicles.

AHI FUE: One vitally important aspect of thr AHI Technique is the quality of the donor grafts taken / removed. We have found in extensive FUE studies over the past years that the quality and strength of the donor grafts removed are far higher than those removed with the strip extraction.

8. Do doctors or nurses carry out the procedure?

FUT: Another unfortunate aspect of the strip extraction method is that the strip is passed to nurses (following extraction) and is then divided by nursing assistants. The potential problem with this is that the doctor is no longer in control of quality. The nurses can divide follicles as they like and a good percentage of damage can be done to the donor follicles.

AHI FUE: Quality control during the procedure and optimum care of the grafts is maximized as only one doctor and one assisting doctor or nurse are involved in the whole procedure.

9. Number of Grafts

FUT: The total number of grafts are dependent upon the strip removed by the surgeon. This means that perhaps too few or too many grafts are removed. The number of grafts removed by strip extraction cannot be known exactly during the strip removal.

AHI FUE: The doctor can decide the exact number of grafts to remove, as he removes them one by one.

10. Will there be Scarring?

FUT: One of the most unfortunate aspects of this method (FUT STRIP extraction) is that it leaves a donor area scar. No matter how good the doctor / surgeon is, there will always be a donor site scar, therefore should a patient shave his hair short in the donor area, a line or scar will always be visible.

AHI FUE: There is no linear scarring at all and we are more than pleased to be able to present patients and their results during consultations and seminars to validate this statement.

11. Healing Time

FUT: One additional disadvantage of this method of extraction is that the patient must wait 6 months for the area to heal fully before considering or being able to undergo a 2nd procedure and the patient must have sufficient elasticity in the donor site before the surgeon can agree to undergo additional procedures.

The strip extraction is not advisable for small sessions, unlike the FUE technique, where a patient can ask for anything from 100 grafts upwards at any time.

AHI FUE: The AHI FUE technique allows the patient to dictate to the clinic / doctor the number of grafts and follicles that he would like to or can afford to undergo. This is an excellent benefit to the patient as he can choose to undergo a procedure of his choice (as far as the number of graft go) dependent upon his budget.

12. How are Follicles Placed?

FUT: In general most FUT procedures use the scalpel / blade opening method of follicle placement. This means that the doctor is required to make an opening in the thinning area of the scalp with a scalpel and then place the follicles / hairs with a forceps (something like tweezers). This does not allow the doctor to control the angle of the hairs placed, and there is potentially scarring in this area due to the placement tools used.

AHI FUE: The AHI FUE technique allows us to place follicles / hairs with the Follipen Implantation method. The Follipen is a microsurgical tools which placed each hair at exactly the correct angle, direction and depth without creating scarring. The results are extremely natural and this is a tried and tested method of hair placement for many years now. Many FUT doctors are now looking at learning this method of follicle placement due to the natural results and hair lines created.