High quality grafts are those obtained from the donor area undamaged and that contain a protective layer of skin around the follicles. This protective dermis limits mechanical injury to the grafts during the insertion process and damage due to drying. When follicles are cut (transected) or if their protective coat is removed during the harvesting process, they will be subject to poor growth and this will adversely impact the cosmetic benefit of the hair restoration.
In FUE, the follicular units are removed from the donor scalp through a small round hole, without good visualization of the lower parts of the follicle and without the ability to completely control their removal. As a result, the follicular units are more likely to be damaged or stripped of their protective layer of dermis, particularly in the lower portion of the follicle, making them more fragile and subject to poor growth.
In contrast, with FUT, the donor strip is first removed from the scalp and then, with the aid of a dissecting stereo-microscope, the follicular units are carefully isolated with their protective tissue intact. For a more detailed explanation see: Graft Quality: A Challenge of FUE.
With new robotic hair transplant technology, the quality of grafts in the Follicular Unit Extraction procedure is significantly improved; therefore, one key difference between the procedures is reduced.
Follicular Unit Grafts: FUT vs. FUE (Manual)
RIGHT: A 3-hair follicular unit graft obtained through FUE (manual). Note the transected follicle and the raw bulbs, devoid of protective connective tissue.
By: Dr. Robert M. Bernstein
Updated: 2016-02-25 | Published: 2011-06-29