If you’re considering a hair transplant, you’ve probably been doing some internet research and come across some information concerning FUE and STRIP techniques. Debate over the advantages and disadvantages of each approach can be confusing. In this article, we’ll cover the two techniques, how they work and when they are the most appropriate choice.
Both FUE and STRIP are acceptable techniques when performing hair transplant surgery. We’ll define each technique here
This method is performed by taking a strip of hair bearing skin from the back and sides of the head. Using a microscope, the strip is separated in individual hair grafts. The grafts are the planted within tiny holes in the area of thinning. A very fine linear scar is left and can be covered with your own hair.
FUE stands for Follicular Unit Extraction. This method uses a sharp punch instrument to remove each individual graft at the skin’s surface. This instrument may be powered or designed for hand use. While marketed as a scar-free surgery, this is not accurate. The scars left by the FUE method are small dots measuring less than 1 mm. They are almost invisible even with short hair.
Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to both methods.
This is still considered the gold standard for harvesting grafts. This method has been in use for more than a decade.
- Very little hair wasted. The roots of the graft are microscopically examined and can be trimmed to the size desired
- Large numbers of grafts can be harvested and then planted with a high success rate
- Greater time and cost effectiveness
- There will be a scar. It is fine and linear, but wearing a shorter hair length may not be possible.
- Future surgeries may be planned to remove the old scar
- One to two days of taking pain medication is usually needed after surgery.
FUE is a method that works very well for the smaller cases. It is difficult to find a surgeon who can perform a high quality FUE transplant when working with larger numbers of grafts.
- Because of the small diameter of the punches used, scarring is difficult to see even when hair is worn short.
- Quicker healing time
- Controlling the size and appearance of the harvested grafts is difficult as they are plucked without seeing the root.
- Higher graft failure rate as follicles are sometimes damaged during harvesting
- More labor intensive with a higher cost
- Future surgeries are difficult to plan following a large FUE session.
While FUE may be a great method for a transplant requiring a small graft number or in cases where future donor hair requirements may be low, the STRIP method is the preferred method in most cases. Comparing the cost and results of both methods, along with the success rate, makes the STRIP method a more reliable choice.