Around 85 percent of all men and 40 percent of all women will be affected by hair loss in some form or another, and one of the most popular methods for dealing with it is with a hair transplant.
Hair transplants go way back, all the way to the 1930s, and while they may not have looked so natural in those days, thanks to today’s methods and techniques you can expect to achieve the perfectly restored head of hair in next to no time at all.
There are two main types of hair transplant surgery: FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) and FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction). We’re going to be taking a broad dive into FUT hair transplants, and hopefully, if this is something you’ve been considering, help you get that bit closer to reclaiming a full head of hair.
What is FUT Hair Transplant?
As previously mentioned, a follicular unit transplantation hair transplant is one of the two leading forms of treatment, along with follicular unit extraction. With FUT treatment, a strip of skin (including its hairs) is cut from a donor site on the head, typically at the back of the scalp, and the individual hairs are then extracted from this strip. These are then inserted into the treatment area where the scalp is balding, restoring its fullness and density.
How Does FUT Work?
The size of the strip will be determined by the number of follicles your surgeon will want to cover the bald spots that need treating, but it won’t typically be any more than around 1 to 1 and a half centimetres in length. Once the strip is removed, it’s cut down into smaller strips and individual follicles are removed and grafted into the scalp.
Most FUT procedures take between 4 and 8 hours to complete, depending on the number of hairs being grafted. It’s generally quicker than most FUE procedures due to less precision being required.
What are the Differences Between FUT and FUE?
While both are similar when it comes to their goals and what they achieve, FUT and FUE hair transplant procedures differ somewhat when it comes to their execution. During an FUT hair transplant, your surgeon will remove a strip of your scalp from the back or side of your head from which he or she will take grafts of hair; with an FUE procedure on the other hand, each hair will be removed one by one and implanted in to the treatment area one by one.
Because of the nature of an FUT hair transplant, a fairly noticeable scar will be left behind on the back of your head from where the strip was taken. This won’t be much of an issue, as it’ll be covered up as soon as your hair grows back. It’s something to be considered though if you’re ever going to shave your head. Patients who undergo FUE hair transplant treatment can expect scarring with each implanted hair too, although this will be much more minimal, and much less noticeable.
There are a few differences when it comes to recovery times too, as the strip of scalp that’ll be removed for the hair follicle grafts will result in a lot of bleeding and scarring, and therefore need a lot of time to heal.
Who’s the Ideal Candidate for FUT Hair Transplant Treatment?
If you’re wondering whether or not you’ll be considered an ideal candidate for FUT hair transplant treatment, there’s a thing or two you’ll need to consider.
First off, you’ll need to ensure you have enough hair on your head to provide a graft, and that it’s in an area that won’t itself be susceptible to balding, like the sides or the back of the head. Furthermore, those with male or female pattern baldness (otherwise known with androgenic alopecia) make the best candidates. Anyone experiencing their baldness or thinning as a result of alopecia areata or a thyroid disorder likely won’t be considered for FUT treatment.
Is a FUT Hair Transplant a Painful Procedure?
You’ll be provided with an anaesthetic during your FUT hair transplant, so you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort (besides the anaesthetic injection itself). There may be some soreness around the treatment and donor areas following the procedure as they heal, but your surgeon should provide you with medication to help you manage this.
Are there any Side Effects to Worry About?
There are a few side effects you may experience after your hair transplant, the most common of which (and unfortunately unavoidable) is scarring. Some others include:
— Hair follicle inflammation
— A loss of sensation around the treatment and donor areas
— Itching, swelling, or general pain and discomfort around the scalp
— Pus drainage or crust around the treatment and donor areas
Is there Much Swelling Following an FUT Hair Transplant?
You can expect a fair amount of swelling after your FUT hair transplant, although each person will experience this differently. You’ll be given some medication to help manage it, and it’ll likely be a few weeks until it subsides. If you start to experience swelling around your eyes then don’t be alarmed; this is just gravity helping the blood to travel downwards, and is totally normal.
Are there any Age Restrictions?
Since balding and hair loss is such a gradual thing, most surgeons won’t recommend treatment for anyone under the age of 25. Male or female pattern baldness would likely continue long after the treatment, and there’s no way of nowhere where it’ll affect the scalp, or to what extent. The last thing anyone wants is to have to undergo treatment all over again because hair that was also destined to fall out was used for the transplant.
Will My Results Look Natural?
As we mentioned at the outset, hair replacement techniques have been popular since the 1930s, and have come a long, long way in all that time. While they may have looked a bit hokey in the past, the results of today’s hair transplants look entirely natural—after all, it’s still your own hair, and it’s still growing naturally. It just gets moved from one location to another.
When Will I Start to See My Results?
It can be a while before you can appreciate the full results of your FUT hair transplant, as it’ll take some time for your head to heal and for the old hairs to shed and your new ones to grow in. Most can expect to see some results after around 6 to 9 months, although it’ll be at least a year before you can fully appreciate the extent of the treatment, if not a little longer.
Is it Safe to Wash My Hair After an FUT Hair Transplant?
It’s vital that you take great care when washing your hair after your FUT hair transplant, and you’ll need to give it at least a few days before you do. It’s important that you wash it very gently, and give it a good 2 weeks or so before returning to any kind of regular routine. Your surgeon will be able to give you all the relevant guidance you’ll need in detail, in addition to any products he or she thinks you’ll benefit from.
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