Hair transplantation's continuing progress has led to significantly less intrusive treatments. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), FUE's less effective predecessor, are both done under local anesthesia and almost always painless. However, this is where the similarities between FUE and FUT stop.
FUE, and particularly Cole Isolation Technique (CIT®), is the least intrusive hair transplant method currently available. The procedure involves extracting follicular grafts individually and placing them in the recipient sites, usually the hairline. Patients will not experience any pain during the procedure itself but they will feel some soreness, tightness, and numbness the day following it. There also may be some blood and other fluid. By the third day, or fourth day, however, such discomfort is usually gone.
FUE patients may also deal with mild swelling on the forehead, one reason most clinics prescribe a steroid to lessen or prevent its development. Patients should sleep in an upright position for at least the first half week to help counteract any swelling that happens. Patients prone to swelling, occasionally, may find it increases in severity and spreads to their cheeks and nose. This is very rare, but if it happens, should subside within half a week.
FUT, on the other hand, is more intrusive than FUE. This older method involves extracting a swath of skin from the back of the head and dissecting it for grafts. These grafts are then transplanted to recipient sites. The quality of a FUT transplant's recipient depends on both the surgeon's placement and their skill at dissecting grafts. However, the extraction of the skin itself requires staples to close and will always leave a noticeable scar that alters hair growth patterns.
Healing from FUT is typically more complex and requires more patient attention. They must monitor and clean the extraction site, which is typically more painful than a FUE extraction site, as well as sleep upright for at least a week and contend with more severe swelling. The staples used to close the wound are typically removed after two weeks but will not fully heal until a few months afterwards.