Is FUE better than strip surgery?

Many patients wonder if FUE is better than strip? FUE is not necessarily better technique - it's just different. It's critical that patients considering hair transplant surgery understand the unique differences in these two procedures.

With FUE (follicular unit extraction) there is no 'linear scar'  but contrary to popular belief there is a scar! However, it's just a tiny tiny circular "microscar". It's hard to see and that's the great thing about FUE. But it is a scar nevertheless. Because the area heals with a microscar, it is often possible for one to wear their hair very very short. The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery has cracked down on clinics choosing advertising scarless surgery. 

What are the downsides of FUE? 

There are some important considerations with FUE. For example, if an individual is likely to go on to develop more significant balding in advanced ages, then it's possible that with FUE surgery will involve taking hairs from an area in the donor region that might not truly be permanent hairs. 

Take two men at age 29 with thinning in the front of the scalp. Both are destined to go on to develop a Norwood VI pattern without surgery. One gets 2500 grafts with strip and one gets 2500 grafts with FUE. Both look great one year after their surgery and both look good 10 years after. But do both look good 30 years after their surgery? There is a slightly greater chance that the man who had strip will have "fuller" hair at age 57. 

It's important for all men consider hair transplant to understand this concept. There are benefits to both strip and FUE. 

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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