What is a FUT Hair Transplant?

Hair loss affects up to 85 percent of men and 40 percent of women. Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and other hair transplants are minimally invasive surgeries to help cover bald spots caused by hair loss.

There are two predominant types of hair transplantation currently in use:

  • Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
  • Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

In FUT surgery, the surgeon cuts a strip of skin from the back or side of your head and extracts individual hair follicles. These follicles are then inserted into the balding parts of your scalp. The surgery works best at covering a receding hairline caused by male pattern baldness.

FUT surgery is also called Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS).

How does a FUT Hair Transplant Work?

During FUT, the surgeon cuts a strip of skin from your scalp, usually from the back of your head. The exact size of the strip depends on the number of follicles needed to cover bald spots. The strip usually doesn’t exceed 1 to 1.5 centimeters (0.4 to 0.6 inches) wide. Once the individual follicles are removed from the strip, they’re re-inserted into your scalp.

Hair transplant surgeries take between 4 and 8 hours. FUT surgery is generally quicker than FUE surgery. Most people stay awake during the surgery with a local anesthesia that numbs their scalp.

Here’s what your procedure will likely look like:

  1. The surgeon will re-draw your hairline, mark the area of hair extraction, and take photographs for your medical record. You may have the option of taking a sedative before surgery. Local anaesthesia will be applied to your scalp to numb it.
  2. The hair at the donor site, where your hair is removed from, will be trimmed to about two millimeters.
  3. The surgeon will cut out the strip of skin with the hair follicles that will be used as a graft. You’ll stay awake during the surgery.
  4. A technician will remove individual hair follicles from the strip and prepare them for transplantation.
  5. The surgeon will close your scalp with sutures.
  6. The hair follicles will then be inserted into the balding parts of your scalp in a pattern that looks natural.
  7. An antibiotic and bandages will be applied to your scalp.

Most people see results from the surgery in 6 to 9 months. Some people have to wait a year to see results.

Who needs a FUT procedure?

Both FUT and FUE transplants require you to have enough hair on your head to use as a graft.

Men with androgenic alopecia (commonly called male pattern baldness) make the best candidates for FUT. In men, this condition commonly appears in the Norwood pattern or an M-shaped hairline with hair loss at the temples. Women with this condition usually experience the Ludwig pattern, which causes hair loss along the hair part or thinning at the top of the head.

If a medical condition like a thyroid disorder or alopecia areata is causing your hair loss, FUT surgery likely won’t be an option.

The following conditions also make you a good candidate for FUT surgery:

  • Age. FUT is generally performed on people over the age of 25. Hair loss patterns are less predictable in younger people.
  • Diagnosis. Men with the Norwood pattern of hair loss tend to respond best to hair transplantation.
  • Hair thickness. People with a high hair follicle density generally receive better coverage.
  • Area of balding. FUT is most useful for treating hair loss at the front of the head.
  • Hair color. People with a hair color similar to their skin color generally make better candidates since they have less color contrast.

FUT vs. FUE Hair Transplant

FUT and FUE both involve transplanting individual hair follicles. During FUT surgery, the surgeon cuts a strip of skin from the back or side of your scalp and then extracts the hair follicles. In FUE surgery, the surgeon will remove individual hair follicles directly from your scalp, rather than first taking a strip of scalp skin.

FUE is currently the more common surgery. Some of the advantages of FUE include:

  • quicker healing time
  • less pain after surgery
  • doesn’t cause a significant scar
  • hair from other body parts can be used
  • can be used even if you have poor hair density

Some advantages of FUT include:

  • may be a better option if you need a large number of hair follicles grafted
  • shorter operation time
  • cheaper surgery

For more information, please call us at (323) 744-3133.