Is FUT an outdated technique?
Hair Transplant was first done in 1959, by Norman Orentriech, wherein he used 6-12 mm punches for hair grafting. Though the transplant was successful, but it gave an unpleasant unnatural “Doll’s hair” appearance. Then the major change occurred by late 1970’s when the concept of mini and micrografts came into picture and grafts were then preferably extracted through strip method. FUE is a relatively newer technique on the block. It came into picture around 2007.
So broadly you have two techniques FUT & FUE, FUE is further rebranded with many fancy names like DHT,DHI, DSFT etc. FUE and FUT, both have their own indications, advantages and limitations.
Lets take a look at the age old technique of hair transplantation i.e FUT. Shall we?
FUT is done under technique and requires a very skilful surgeon highly experienced in cutting and suturing. In this technique we remove a strip of skin and stitch it back by trichophytic closure in which the scar is minimum and hairs grow through the scar. Further visibility of scar can be reduced by transplanting some hair grafts on the scar or by camouflage techniques like SMP (Scalp micropigmentation). Healing is very fast. The patient can shampoo his head after 4th day of the surgery and he can go back to his work place on the very next day of the surgery as we do not shave off the complete scalp.
FUT technique ensures harvest of large no of grafts, with preservation of donor area for future use. Individual hair follicular units are then separated under high magnification microscopes which ensures high graft survival rate.
FUT can also be combined with beard/body hair transplant to get more no of grafts in a single session. Once a FUT is done in a patient, then in future (if required) another FUT or FUE can also be planned in the same patient.
Despite being a wonderful technique with multiple benefits and no disadvantages, still FUT has been looked down upon by many. There are many myths circulating about FUT in the market. The main reason behind these false accusations is that most of the surgeons and clinics offering hair transplant lack the appropriate surgical skills and training required to perform a FUT surgery. And hence the favoured bias towards FUE, claiming it to be the most advanced technique available.
Let’s debunk some myths revolving around FUT in the hair transplant market.
1. MYTH: It is an outdated technique & nobody does it now, hence we are not doing it.
FACT: It is a highly sophisticated surgery which needs years of experience, a well trained technical team of at least eight people, lot of surgical instrumentation, high power microscopes, huge investment, unlike FUE which does not need all this and works well on franchise model.
2. MYTH: FUT leads to a big scar at the back of the head.
FACT: The scar at the back of head due to FUT surgery is very minimal because of a special technique called TRICHOPHYTIC closure. It is however important to note that not all FUT are same & the final outcome of FUT scar depends on the skills and experience of the surgeon.
3. MYTH: FUT will cause tightening of the scalp or difficulty or pain in movement of head.
FACT: The movements are not affected & the elasticity at the back of the head is so good that it even allows three FUT surgeries in a patient. Infact FUT is performed only after checking the elasticity of the scalp.
4. MYTH: FUE will give you more grafts than FUT & FUT grafts will fall after some time.
FACT: FUT gives you more number of grafts than FUE, without any doubt. Therefore combining the two procedures can really help the patient to get maximum out of his donor area. Moreover FUT gives the surgeon the freedom to take out grafts solely from the permanent donor zone, which have a longer life. As opposed to this, while doing FUE alone to get large no of grafts, the surgeon is forced to us the unsafe donor zone as well, which have a high chance of thinning and fall out.
In short FUT can help to procure large grafts while maintaining the donor density at the same time. It become more crucial in cases of high grade advanced baldness and in patients with progressive baldness with high probability of second transplant in near future.
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