This insightful information was posted on our hair restoration forum by Dr. Alan Feller of Great Neck, NY who is a member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians.
Are there any negatives to FUE that you don’t have with FUT such as survival rate? I know it takes longer and is more expensive. Anything else people should know?
When it comes to hair transplant surgery, there can be no question that growth from follicular unit extraction (FUE) cases is not as consistent as that of strip procedures. The reason is obvious: the amount of trauma the follicular unit grafts must endure during FUE surgery, even the very best and meticulous FUE surgery, is far greater than the amount of trauma experienced by the equivalent FUT grafts. It’s a simple matter of physics.
That said, hair follicles are pretty hearty. Ask anyone who’s undergone multiple waxings, electrolysis, and laser hair removal. Those little guys will often endure all of that and still come back.
FUE is a great procedure, but it is very exhausting and time consuming even on the best hair restoration surgeons. Smaller cases usually do better because lack of fatigue can make the difference between hurting a graft and not hurting a graft. Also, if 10% of 300 grafts don’t grow, it’s not nearly as obvious compared to 10% of 1,500 grafts. That is, you probably won’t miss 30 grafts out of 300, but you most certainly will miss 150 grafts out of 1,500. The bigger the number of FUE gets, the more the equation works against the final result.
There have been some absolutely awesome FUE results in the larger ranges, but I have yet to see anywhere near the same consistency compared to follicular unit transplantation (FUT). Should a large FUE fail, it likely will not be reported online for several obvious reasons. But do an online search and look for even the best FUE results and then compare them to that of strip consistency and presence and there’s no contest.
FUE is a viable option for some patients. In fact, it may be the ONLY option for some patients but its failure rates are higher and this fact must be acknowledged, digested, and accepted before going for this procedure. Of course the same may be said for strip, but FUE is at the greatest disadvantage on this point.
Choose with your head, not with your heart. Of course no one wants a linear scar in the back of their head. Come to think of it, nobody wants an incision in the back of their head either, but most of the hesitation to have strip surgery comes from fear. Meet with your doctor and if you have trust and faith in the plan you arrive at together, then submit yourself and go for it. Strip or FUE.
Dr. Alan Feller
David – aka TakingThePlunge
Assistant Publisher and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning Center, the Hair Loss Q&A Blog, and the Hair Restoration Forum
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