FUT Hair Transplant
Before Your Journey Begins
If you are considering having a hair transplant, there seems to be a bewildering amount of information to consider. So how do you go about choosing the right method for you, and finding the best clinic to carry out your transplant? Here are a few facts that may help you make your choice.
What Are The Different Hair Transplant Methods?
In the past, hair transplants were mainly done using the plug method, when plugs of hair were inserted into your scalp to fill in bald areas. However, results were not always ideal, and sometimes patients were left with unnatural looking hair. Nowadays, the most popular methods of hair transplantation involve relocating small groups of hair, or even individual hairs, giving a much better result. There are two main methods used: Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
The FUT method uses your own hair, transplanted in units of 1-4 hairs, which also contain sebaceous glands (oil glands), nerves, tiny muscles and some fine hairs. Thousands can be done at one time, making this a quick and effective form of transplant.
How Is FUT Carried Out?
A long, thin strip is taken from the back of the head (this is known as strip harvesting) and dissected into individual units. Each unit is transplanted into a small incision in the bald scalp area. Stitches are needed to close the scar - they may need to be removed later, or they may be dissolvable. The recovery period is about two weeks.
What Will Happen Before The Surgery?
You will have an initial consultation with your surgeon so that your scalp can be examined. The surgeon will then discuss your options and advise you about the best way to proceed. You can talk about whether you want the transplanting to be done over several sessions, or in one long session which will last about six hours.
Before the surgery, you are advised to avoid drinking alcohol or smoking, both of which can affect your blood supply to the transplanted hair follicles, making it harder for them to take root properly.
What Will Happen On The Day?
FUT is a day procedure, done under local anaesthetic. You may also be given a mild sedative to help you relax. Your hair will be shampooed, and an antibacterial agent put on your scalp. The strip will be harvested and the wound will be closed. The strip is then dissected and the units transplanted into your scalp.
What Happens Afterwards?
You will probably need to take antibiotics to minimise the risk of infection. The wound must stay covered for a few days for protection, and you should protect it from direct sunlight. It is important to begin to shampoo your hair within one or two days of the surgery in order to avoid scabbing around the implant sites which can affect the success.
Don't be surprised if most of your transplanted hair falls out after a couple of weeks - this is due to shock and is completely normal. However, you will see new growth within two or three months, and you can expect full regrowth after six to nine months. If you have any gaps, these can be dealt with in time.
What Are The Advantages of FUT?
There are several advantages to FUT over other methods:
- This method gives excellent regrowth results.
- Your hair grows naturally in units of 1-4 hairs, so your hair will look normal.
- FUT is easy to plan; the small units allow the surgeon to match your own hair growth pattern.
- There is little trauma to your scalp; the units only need a tiny incision and the blood supply is easily maintained.
- Transplanting can be done on a large area immediately, leaving you free to get on with your life.
- You will have a thin scar where the strip was taken.
- There will be some bleeding.
- You will feel sore for a few days.
- You will need stitches.
What Are The Disadvantages?
What About FUE As An Alternative?
FUE also uses small units, but the units are harvested and transplanted individually. This method doesn't leave a scar, although some dimpling can occur. There is little bleeding or pain, the recovery time is quicker (around a week) and you will not need stitches. However, there there is a tendency for more units to die off as they are out of the body longer, so further surgery may be required. It is also more expensive than FUT.
How Much will FUT Cost?
The cost of FUT transplantation can vary between £3,000 and £30,000. This depends on several factors including how much transplantation needs to be done and the experience of the surgeon. Most clinics can offer ways to pay over a period of time.
How Do I Choose A Reputable Surgeon?
Check that the surgeon is registered with a professional body, such as the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS), the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS) or the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians (CIHRP).
Look at the track record of the clinic. Does it have a good success rate? How long have they been operating? Do they specialise in hair restoration, or are they a generalist clinic? Can they show proof of their claims to success, such as detailed close-up photos or video? Find some independent reviews and testimonials about the surgeon to help you decide. Lastly, do they use the latest methods? These are generally considered to be FUT or FUE.
Research Is Key
Opting for a hair transplant is a major decision, and there are many aspects for you to consider. It is essential to investigate everything very carefully, and be sure you have taken the best possible advice before spending a large sum of money on a transplant. But with care, you could soon be enjoying a new lease of life with a renewed head of hair.