Micrografting Hair Transplants & FUE Comparison

While micrografting hair transplants can often be effective in repositioning hair follicles to alleviate male pattern baldness, Follicle Unit Extraction (FUE) is a more recent surgical technique often with better, more natural looking results than micrografting. The primary difference in the two techniques is not in the actual transplantation procedure, but in how the grafts are acquired. Although both utilise follicular units to obtain donor hair follicles, micrografting requires the surgeon to remove a strip of scalp from which the follicular units are removed by a team of nurses while in FUE, the surgeon removes each follicular unit individually from the scalp without removing any strips of skin. Both can have excellent results if the surgeon is capable. When researching your doctor, ensure that if he/she uses micrografting, the assistants who cut the strip into follicle units use microscopes or stereomicroscopes to follow the natural formation of follicle units rather than diagramming the units however they want.

Scarring with FUE & Micrografting

Scarring is another difference between the two procedures. In FUE, the scalp is not removed so there is no chance of scarring along the donor hair region while micrografting, in contrast, results in a slight scar where the strip of skin was removed. However, if the surgeon sutures it well the scar can be less than 2mm and hardly noticeable. Furthermore, while the FUE procedure does not have potential scarring from the donor region, there is a chance that scarring will occur at the top of the head where the hair follicles are inserted into the scalp, so there is scarring risk associated with either surgery. Again, finding the proper surgeon will diminish the chances of either procedure being less than satisfactory.

Healing with FUE & Micrografting

Healing times are relatively similar between the two surgeries. Both are out-patient procedures which last about 3-5 hours per session after which the patient is able to go home. Micrografts may require a bandage on the back of the head for a day or two but some people do not even need that precaution. The follicles on the top of the head for both procedures do not need bandages and can be washed after the first day. Within a week the scalp should look as if there a surgery never took place because the swelling and scabbing diminishes rapidly in both cases. The hairs will drop out due to telogen effluvium or shock, but the follicles have been transplanted and will grow new hairs between 3 and 6 months after either surgery.

Cost of FUE & Micrografting

Finally, the cost of the procedures can be a very powerful decision maker. Due to the amount of time and technique required in a FUE surgery, these sessions are generally double the price of a micrografting session. Of course a major consideration is the prices. While micrografting can often be accomplished for under £5,000 per session, FUE is often £10,000-£20,000, a price many are not able or willing to spend. Also, the amount of sessions is usually more with FUE as a FUE surgeon generally cannot exceed 500 grafts per surgery whereas a micrografting surgery can move 3,000 hairs in the same amount of time. You must wait a period of at least six months and up to a year in between surgeries, so if you need multiple sessions be aware that it may take longer with FUE.