By the age of 35, nearly two thirds of men will have some degree of noticeable hair loss—and that number jumps to 85% after the age of 50. Men aren’t the only ones affected: women make up nearly half of the number of hair loss sufferers in the United States. With statistics like that, it’s easy to understand why so many people are searching for hair loss solutions that work.
Unfortunately, for every effective option on the market, it seems there are 10 that do nothing except drain your bank account and provide false hope. There is good news, however. Over the last few years, advancements hair transplant techniques and technologies mean patients have access to solutions that provide real, long-lasting results.
For those who have significant hair loss, surgical hair transplantation is the only proven way to truly restore natural hair growth to areas that have balded. If you’ve been hesitant to consider a surgical option, consider that recent advancements have made hair transplant surgery quite a bit easier on patients by reducing discomfort and downtime.
Dr. Sobel says that newer hair transplant procedures have a high patient satisfaction rate and also offer more natural-looking results. Patients additionally reported feeling that the cost was well worth the final outcome.
Here’s a break down of the differences between surgical hair transplant methods.
FUT vs FUE hair restoration
There are two types of hair transplant methods: FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant) and FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction). The best option for you will depend on your individual needs and the recommendations of your physician.
The FUT method of hair transplantation involves taking a strip of skin with hair follicles from the donor site, typically the back of your head where hair is naturally fuller and less prone to balding. From this skin, small groups of tissue containing hair follicles are separated and prepared for transplantation. While this is happening, tiny, individual holes are made in the recipient site where you are experiencing thinning or balding. The prepared grafts are then individually placed into the recipient site.
This method has been around for over two decades and was a revolutionary technique for restoring a natural looking hairline when it was first developed and for many years after. But while it provided previously unachievable results, Dr. Sobel explains that this technique is not without its downsides. This type of surgery can take many hours, depending on the number of grafts placed, and there is no way to avoid the resulting horizontal scar across the back of the head. While healing, this incision will be prominent, and patients will need to take care of both the linear incision on the back of the head and the recipient sites during recovery.
The FUE technique of hair transplantation was developed as a means to achieve the same results of FUT while addressing the disadvantages. Like FUT, FUE involves harvesting hair follicles from a donor site at the back of the head and moving them to create a fuller, natural-looking hairline. Unlike FUT, this method doesn’t involve removing a strip of tissue from the back of the head but rather collecting individual hair follicles directly from the scalp and inserting them into small incisions made in the recipient site.
While the detailed FUE technique requires more time in surgery, this method eliminates the linear scar and advanced wound care needed with FUT. The FUE method also lessens downtime and lowers levels of post-procedure discomfort.