Reading though different hair restoration forums and browsing through results, it appears that follicular unit transplantation (FUT) yields better results and is more consistent in comparison to follicular unit extraction (FUE). In theory if shouldn’t be the case as FUE allows you to extract any kind of graft you want whereas strip is limited and you only got what’s in a strip of skin that’s been cut off.
FUE results vary. Some results are on par with FUT and some are not so great. Many surgeons don’t do any testing. I think the only one who does it is Dr. Rassman (not sure if he still does). Many don’t even test body hair transplants (BHT) and move to the large sessions without knowing what % of grafts will grow and we all know how unpredictable BHT can be.
Disturbing part is a lot of FUE clinics advertise 100% growth or close to it. Truth is they can’t predict that even if they are the best in the field. Also, excuses such as hair color, scalp contrast and curl is the reason why some results look better than others. Yes, these are the factors but they are often used to cover up for poor yield.
Should there be mandatory FUE testing before moving on to larger sessions? That way, you know exactly what to expect. Once you have 4000-6000 transplanted you really don’t know if hair growth was 60% or 90%. In my opinion, it’s a big difference.
Poor yield can occur in all hair transplant procedures. A cursory search of any hair loss forum would reveal cases of poor yield at the hands of both FUE and FUT clinics. A test requirement might as well be applied to FUT surgeries since the majority of patients presenting to my clinic with complaints of poor yield have had FUT surgery and not FUE. This of course is a reflection of the fact that there are many more strip procedures being performed worldwide than there are FUE.
I do not require a test procedure in the majority of patients presenting to my clinic. I do however, require testing for patients with tightly curled afro-textured hair. That said, a patient should have the option to request for a test procedure (whether it is a FUE or strip procedure). They should have a low threshold for such requests if the clinic they are dealing with is new to the field (FUE or FUT). There should be no good reason for a clinic to refuse a test request since the test procedures are done at a fee.
Dr. Sanusi Umar
Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.
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