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Both procedures are recognized as safe and effective in the hair restoration industry. Just because a doctor may recommend one don’t believe they are a “quack” or using an outdated method. Rather, there are simple differences in how each is performed. Most doctors or at least different doctors in the same office are able to provide both types.

Donor Hair
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a process where each follicular unit is taken individually from the scalp in random places. Think of random “plucking” throughout the scalp seeking donor hair. Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) differs in that the doctor surgically removes a small strip of the scalp from which then the donor hairs are harvested.

Scarring
Because an actual strip of the scalp is removed to harvest donor hair, a patient who opts for the FUT will have a small, visible scar along the back of the scalp whereas someone who elected FUE will not have a visible scar line because the donor hairs have been plucked at random. The FUT scar should become less noticeable over time but the FUE procedure produces very little chance of any visible scarring.

Pain Management and Scarring
A person who chooses the FUE method will have significantly less pain because there was no actual removal of skin or scar that needs healing. Those who have FUT will experience more discomfort, and pain and need time for healing since part of their scalp’s skin was literally removed from the back of their head. However, both methods are not extremely painful and are done as an outpatient procedure. Any patient who does experience mild pain will likely have their doctor prescribe them pain medication for a short period of time during recovery. As with most procedures, the amount of pain and recovery experience will depend upon each individual person.

Cost Differences
A person interested in hair restoration, as mentioned throughout this article, needs to have a consultation as the cost of a procedure will vary based upon the needs of the patient, patient expectations, and desired outcomes. Traditionally, the FUE procedure will cost more than the FUT as the time, skill, and precision needed to extract donor hair are much more compared to a FUT procedure where the doctor removes a straight line of the scalp and then harvests the hair from that strip which is no longer attached to the scalp. However, don’t discard the idea of FUE solely based upon the notion that it may cost a significant amount more than FUT. More men are electing FUE these days which is causing doctors to lower their prices due to the increased demand.

Which is right for you?

This is something you need to discuss with your surgeon during the consultation process. The surgeon will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each, if you are a candidate for both procedures. However, during the consultation, the surgeon may state that you are not a candidate for one or, in some cases, either procedure. If you have your mind set on a procedure and the surgeon states you are not a candidate, you should seek a second opinion from a different surgeon.

Additionally, the surgeon may recommend that you have both procedures. For instance, the FUT procedure may be utilized first to maximize the yield. Then, in follow-up procedures, the surgeon may utilize the FUE method as the scalp may have then become too tight to perform additional FUTs or the scar from the first procedure has become too wide. For instances when the FUT scar has become too wide or noticeable, the surgeon may utilize FUE to graft donor hair into the scar which will lessen its visibility. On the other hand, if FUE is first utilized but the yield is lower than what was anticipated the surgeon may recommend trying FUT which may produce a higher yield.

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