Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)- more commonly known as Strip Harvest Surgery
Strip Surgery is the standard and most widely used procedure in the hair transplant industry. The strip excision method is the process by which a strip of scalp tissue is surgically removed from the donor area of the scalp that has hair predetermined not to fall out. The donor area is then sutured. Sutures are typically removed 10-14 days after surgery. The centimeter wide strip of scalp tissue is segmented and the individual hair grafts of one to three follicles are extracted from the strip with the use of a scalpel. To increase the number of preserved follicles, strip dissection takes place under 6x to 10x magnification. Though not required, we prefer to cut the hair in the patient’s recipient area short so that the physician is able to see the patient’s scalp.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Human hair grows in tiny bundles called follicular units. These units are seen on the surface of the scalp as a tiny group of hairs that appear to be growing together. The follicular unit of the adult human scalp consists of 1-4 terminal (full thickness) hair follicles. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a technique that involves using a small punch to extract follicular units from a patient’s donor area. Extreme care must be taken not to transect or sever the underlying hair follicle. Hair in the donor area must be cut very short for FUE. In addition to the full terminal hairs, follicular units contain 1-2 fine vellus hairs, sebaceous (oil) glands, a small muscle, tiny nerves and blood vessels, and a fine band of collagen that surrounds the unit (the perifolliculum). The follicular unit is thus the hair bearing structure of the skin and should be kept intact to insure maximum growth.
Strip vs. FUE
Deciding on which procedure is right for you depends on several factors. While the popularity of FUE has grown due to its minimally invasive nature in the way grafts are removed, strip is still the most widely performed procedure.
Strip is more economical and allows for a much larger graft extraction in a single surgical session. The donor area of a strip excision will require a longer recuperation time before it is fully healed. Both procedures leave behind slight scars. Strip surgery produces a fine linear scar, however we are known for our closure technique. We are experts at producing a very fine, nearly undetectable closure scar. FUE produces hundreds of tiny dot like scars which are generally even less detectable than the strip scar.