Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) Advantages & Disadvantages
When it comes to hair restoration, there isn’t just one treatment that’s best for all heads. Different procedures address different problems. This is why it’s extremely important to visit an experienced physician before you choose a hair treatment that’s best for you.
If you’re deciding on a hair transplant, there are two primary procedures: follicular unit excision (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT). We’re going to take a deeper look at follicular unit excision today by discussing the procedure’s advantages and disadvantages compared to FUT. This way, you will be better able to choose the best procedure for you.
Follicular Unit Excision Disadvantages
- Must shave the entire donor area
For most FUE procedures, you will have to shave the entire donor area, which is basically the entire sides and back of the scalp. If you aren’t already wearing your hair in a short style, we recommend getting a “transitional” haircut that is shorter than your usual style in order to prepare for the time after your procedure when the hair is growing back. If you are having a small or medium-sized FUE treatment (<1000 grafts), you may be able to keep your hair longer prior to the procedure. Longer hair will cover up the donor area as it heals and the hair grows back.
- Larger donor area
The donor area for FUE is typically larger than for FUT. While the back of your scalp is typically harvested during FUT, your surgeon may tap into the upper, lower and side portions of your donor area in order to get the right amount of grafts for FUE.
- More fragile and transected grafts
The grafts that are extracted during FUE tend to be more fragile than those during FUT. Grafts include the hair follicle, bulb and a small amount of surrounding tissue. These grafts can be more fragile because they typically contain slightly less of the protective dermis and fat than an FUT graft, which is microscopically dissected by hand.
Also, FUE is a “blind” procedure, meaning that the device used to harvest the grafts can not see through the skin to detect the location of the hair bulb. Therefore, you can expect to lose some of the hairs that are harvested due to transection, or cutting of the hair above the level of the bulb. However, ARTAS Robotic technology can reduce the chance that these grafts will be damaged through constant and careful adjustments of its’ algorithms.
- Typically more expensive
The FUE procedure tends to be more expensive than the FUT procedure due to the technology that is involved.
Follicular Unit Excision Advantages
- Virtually invisible scars
Instead of making a linear scar on the back of your head, like FUT, FUE involves making very small, round punches to the back of your head. Each punch consists of a follicular unit (a group of one to four hairs). These punches leave small dot-shaped scars on your head, unlike the long linear scars from FUT that are harder to hide. You’ll be able to easily conceal these FUE scars, even with short haircuts. Just be aware that your scar may be visible if you completely shave your head.
- Minimal pain after your procedure
Since small punches are made into your skin, pain after your procedure is minimal. During FUT, an elliptical incision is made into the skin down to where the hair bulbs reside. This incision requires sutures or staples and can cause discomfort for several days. For FUE, you typically won’t even need pain medication post-op. However, all patients are given medication to ease the pain.
- Less downtime
Along with less pain, the small punches require less time to heal than linear scars. No stitches or scalpels are used, so the donor wounds will heal within just a few days.
- Ensures a natural-looking hairline
Both FUT and FUE leave you with a natural-looking hairline and thicker head of hair. Advancements in transplant technology ensure that your transplanted hair looks completely natural. Neither procedure produces “plugs.”
- Less risk of complications
If you have FUE through an ARTAS Robotic Procedure, a lot of the guesswork and manual labor of other hair transplant procedures is replaced with robotic speed and precision. This means less risk of complications, less scarring and less downtime.
FUE with ARTAS Robotic technology is one of the most accurate, speedy and consistent ways to receive a hair transplant. We hope this article helped you learn if this treatment is right for you. If you would like to learn more about follicular unit excision or follicular unit transplantation, feel free to contact us today! We would love to put you on a path to thicker hair.