The Facts of Follicular Unit Transplantation: What Patients Need to Know

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Strip harvesting also referred to as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is providing natural high quality grafts with a less visible scar. FUT, also known as strip harvesting, is a technique where a strip of scalp is excised from the specific designated donor area, and follicular units are meticulously dissected under magnification. This technique lends itself to a high volume of grafts to be harvested with minimal follicular transection, typically less than 2%. The resulting linear scar, when properly managed, can be almost invisible in the majority of cases (Pathomvanich, 2018).

FUT is indicated for patients who require a large number of grafts in a single session, benefiting from its efficient harvest method. The technique's contraindications include patients with insufficient scalp elasticity or those who prefer to wear their hair very short, as the linear scar might be a concern. The technique is praised for its ability to maximize follicular unit harvest while minimizing hair follicle transection (Khanna, 2021). FUT demonstrates lower transection rates compared to follicular unit extraction (FUE), with FUT surgery typically showing transection rates ranging from 1 to 1.9%. Factors such as hair follicle length and donor density can influence transection rates. Reducing transections ensures a greater number of viable grafts for transplantation (Tan, 2018).

Hybrid Techniques: Performing both FUT with FUE often referred to as hybrid harvesting, allows for maximizing the number of follicles harvested in one session while preserving an untouched area for possible future transplants. This approach is particularly beneficial in patients with advanced baldness, aiming for larger coverage or higher density (Basto, 2017).

Both FUT and FUE are successful at creating high quality grafts but specific patient eligibility and patient preference may also guide the choice between methods. FUT remains the standard in hair transplantation, offering an efficient way to obtain a high volume of grafts with a single, minimally visible scar. The technique's evolution and the possibility of combining it with FUE cater to a broad spectrum of patient needs, reinforcing its value in the field of hair restoration.