FUT vs FUE

The cost of the FUE method is much higher than FUT and yet most patients still prefer it. Because it misleads a lot of people thinking that the newest technique should be the best.

The FUE method for hair transplant has been around since 2002, which makes it 16 years. It is currently as popular as FUT method for hair transplant surgery. According to the statistics at the 2014 ISHRS annual meeting, 89% of the hair surgeons perform it.

Personally I would not recommend it. Except for very limited indications, FUE is not the patient’s best interest.

The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is the largest association of hair loss and hair restoration physicians in the world. It has annual meeting once a year .

The majority of the active hair transplant surgeons attend the annual meeting. Usually about thousand members attend the meeting yearly to discuss the most recent advances and information on hair transplant.

In the last meeting (2017) at Prague, ten famous hair transplant surgeons were invited to the stage and were asked if they were to have a hair transplant, which surgery would they consider FUE or FUT.

One female surgeon said she prefers to have only medicine based treatment. Two surgeons like to have FUE method done only if it is a small area and if only one surgery was needed. The rest of seven surgeons all prefer to have FUT method done for themself.

The reasons are

1. FUE does not reduce the scars but instead spreads it into much larger areas. Thousands of scars will be left forever and only covered up by the adjacent hair temporarily. One day, the hair around the donor site get thinner or narrower than the safe zone; the scars will become visible and will be impossible to cover up. Instead of FUE, FUT reduces the scar down to 1/10th most of the time. It’s still not visible as long as you keep the surrounding hair one centimeter long.

2. FUE can’t use the best donor available but will instead ruin it. Punch scars can change the hair direction during growth. FUE is a blind procedure and it will harder to punch intact grafts for future procedures. As a hair transplant surgeon, I am always concerned that there will not be enough donor to cover the balding area. Damaging the donor is the worst possible thing that can happen.

Differences between FUT and FUE

Comparison FUE FUT
Is it the latest technique? no, it is the oldest punch graft but change the size of punch
Tool punch blade
Donor harvesting blind view under direct microscopy vision
Wound treatment leave open closed
Scar thousand of small punch scars one linear scar
Scar distribution

(in same length)

5 to 6 times wider one line only
Total Scar Size 10 times bigger
Scar long term effect permanent permanent
For keloid patient disaster-hard to treat thousand keloids easier- only one scar to treat
Quality of graft defect graft (no tissue around follicle) intact graft (come with tissue around follicle)
Growth rate of transplantation 61.40% 86% Read Dr.Beehner’s study
Impact to 2nd surgery huge-scar tissues change the hair direction minimum- can use different donor area
Length of hair need to cover up the scar 1 cm 2 cm
Hairstyle options such as marine cut no yes
Price Double

Why most surgeons prefer FUE?

FUE: need only one technician

FUT: need 3-4 technicians
Some surgeons do everything by themselves without hiring any assistance to save on business costs. It is for their own best interest, not yours.

In addition to the overhead expense, the surgery fee is double for the FUE technique. The incentive using FUE for physicians are simply irresistible. Especially for new physician who’s just starting his practice with only 3 to 5 surgeries a month. It’s difficult to start a business when you need to hire 3 to 4 technicians to assist.

Learn More form a hair transplant surgeon’s experience as a FUE patient

Dr. Anastassakis presented his own FUE experience at ISHRS annual meeting on Oct 2014.