FUT – Follicular Unit Transplantation
Follicular Unit Transplantation, or simply ‘FUT’, is a cosmetic hair transport procedure that utilizes an innovative strip method. This highly advanced procedure aims to re-stimulate natural hair growth and leave the patient with no ‘tell-tale’ signs that the surgery has been performed. As such, the FUT hair restoration is ideal for those that have large bald areas on their head.
How FUT Hair Restoration Works
In a nutshell, the FUT hair restoration process is a highly innovative cosmetic procedure that seeks to treat hair loss. The process itself entails removing individual hair follicles from a ‘Donor’ site. This donor site will be an area of the head that is not bald and ideally, consists of thicker hair.
In order to achieve this, the FUT hair restoration specialist will cut a strip of hair from the scalp. Next, the specialist will then take the strip and divide in to individual follicles. Finally, the specialist will conclude the FUT hair restoration process by inserting the strip back on to the patient’s scalp – only this time in an area that is suffering from greater hair loss levels. Due to the underlying process, the FUT hair transplant procedure is often referred to as ‘Strip Harvesting’.
A somewhat similar, alternative treatment to the FUT process is that of a FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) hair transplant. The latter differs to the FUT process insofar that single hair follicles are individually removed from the donor area. On the contrary, a FUT hair transplant instead removes a strip of hair from the patient’s scalp.
Interestingly, some patient’s undergoing a combination of the two treatments, which is also a highly effective solution to hair loss. If you are considering undergoing a FUT hair transplant, or simply want to find out how it works, then we would suggest you read our comprehensive guide. So now that we’ve explained what the FUT treatment entails, in the next part of our guide we are going to explore who the procedure is suitable for.
Who is a FUT hair transplant suitable for?
Whilst the FUT hair restoration process is potentially suitable for both male and female patients of all ages, it is important to note that not everyone is a suitable. First and foremost, the FUT hair restoration process is not suitable for those that are completely bald. The key reason for this is that the hair specialist is required to remove a strip of hair from the patient’s donor site. If the patient is completely bald, there will not be a sufficient amount of ‘thicker’ hair to remove and thus, re-insert in to the affected area.
We should also note that those suffering from Diffuse Unpatterned Alopecia will most likely not be a suitable candidate. The vast majority of patients that undergo the FUT hair transplant procedure are those that have developed male pattern baldness. This is the most common form of hair loss in the male demographic, which usually starts with a receding hair line that forms a ‘M’ shape. As male pattern baldness is usually a reasonably slow process, a FUT hair transplant would be an ideal solution.
So now that we’ve explored who is a suitable candidate for a FUT transplant, in the next section we will explain what you need to consider prior to being accepted for the procedure.
FUT hair transplant: What you need to consider prior to treatment
As with the vast bulk of cosmetic treatments, it is imperative that you first undergo a one-on-one consultation with a qualified specialist. The reason for this is that the specialist must first ascertain that you are suitable for the treatment in question. When you first arrive for your consultation, the FUT hair specialist will initially ask you a range of questions related to your overall expectations. This is crucial, as it is important that your goals are realistic.
The hair specialist will also need to ask you some questions pertaining to your medical history. Essentially, this will cover any pre-existing medical conditions you may have, alongside any medications or supplements you are currently taking.
In the next phase of your consultation, the hair specialist will perform a basic physical examination. This will consist of an evaluation of the current circumstances surrounding your hair loss circumstances.
Once the specialist has performed the examination, they will then explain how the FUT hair restoration works. On top of discussing the step-by-step procedure, the specialist will also give you a full breakdown of any associated risks.
If at this point the specialist deems that you are a suitable candidate and you decide that you want to proceed with the procedure, you will be given an appointment date for your FUT hair transplant.
So now that you have a good idea what to expect in your one-on-one consultation, in the next section of our FUT hair transplant guide we are going to unravel the step-by-step procedure itself.
FUT hair transplant: Step-by-step
When you first arrive at the practice, the FUT hair specialist will begin by cleaning the scalp area. They will then proceed to apply an anesthetic to the scalp, which is to ensure that the procedure does not result in any discomfort. Once the anesthetic has been applied, the specialist will then locate the donor area, which in most cases will be the back or side of the head. Once located, the specialist will proceed to remove a strip of hair tissue.
When this has been achieved, the specialist will then apply a row of stitches to the area. Whilst in most cases the hair removal process will leave a fine scar, this should be covered by the remaining hair. Next, the hair specialist will cut the donor strip in to individual follicular units. This is a highly skilled process that requires an act of precise microscopic dissection. In the final stage of the FUT hair transplant process, the hair specialist will puncture ultra-small holes on to your scalp.
This will be the areas of your scalp that have developed hair loss. The specialist will then insert the previously removed follicular graft units. Once the treatment has been concluded, the specialist will apply a disinfecting solution to the scalp area, as well as apply a bandage to protect the area.
In the terms of how long the FUT hair restoration takes, this can vary greatly between patients. In most cases, this will average between 4-8 hours.
So now that we’ve covered the underlying step-by-step procedure of a FUT transplant, in the next section we will discuss what you need to consider post-treatment.
What to consider after a FUT hair restoration procedure
When the FUT hair transplant process has been completed, the specialist will explain what you need to do to ensure that you understand your post-treatment guidelines. As such, there are a range of steps you need to take to ensure that you recover in the quickest time possible.
Firstly, you will need to ensure that you sleep in a ‘Semi-Sitting’ position. This will prevent you from touching the treated area, which will likely lead to discomfort. As such, avoid scratching, rubbing or touching the area at all. The hair specialist will most likely prescribe you with pain relief medications to assist with the discomfort. Moreover, they will also suggest that you wear a hat to protect the treated area from direct sunlight.
Ultimately, you will most probably need to avoid any physical or strenuous activity for at least a month post-surgery. It is crucial that you do not hinder your recovery process, as this could lead to further complications. Finally, you should also ensure that you refrain from drinking alcohol or smoking for at least two weeks after the FUT treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from potential candidates. If we have failed to answer a specific question or concern that you might have, please feel free to contact the practice.
When will I begin to see the results from my FUT hair transplant?
Result timeframes will vary from patient-to-patient and as such, there is no hard and fast rule as to how long it will be before you starting noticing a change in your hair formation. However, the vast majority of patients begin to see noticeable results after about 4 months. However, in order to see the full results from the procedure, you will likely need to wait at least one year.
Are there any risks to undergoing a FUT hair transplant?
As with all cosmetic procedures, there are a range of risks that you need to consider prior to undergoing the FUT hair restoration process. Whilst the hair specialist will explain all of the underlying risks to you during your one-on-one consultation, we have listed some of the most notable below.
- You are likely to experience discomfort, itching and numbness around the affected area. Take note, this is temporary.
- If you fail to follow the post-treatment guidelines, you run the risk of infection or inflammation
- The donor site process can result in scarring
- In rarer cases, some patients experience a sudden element of ‘Shock’ hair loss. If this does occur, it is a temporary process that usually results in the hair growing back 3-6 months later.