FUT Hair Transplant: Procedure, Side Effects, Results in 2022

  1. What is an FUT hair transplant?
  2. How it works
  3. Ideal candidates for FUT
  4. FUE vs FUT procedure
  5. Side effects
  6. Cost
  7. How to prepare for your FUT surgery
  8. Recovery after FUT procedure

FUT hair transplant at a glance

Duration of surgery6 to 8 hours
Costs in the UKfrom £3000 to £9000 per session
Anaesthesialocal
Extraction typestrip harvesting with scalpel
Painmoderate
Risksswelling, numbness of the scalp, infection
Scarringlinear scar at the back, visible with short hair
Recoveryaround 14 days
Stitch removalafter 10-14 days
Regrowthstarts 3-4 months post-surgery
Final resultin 12 to 15 months

What is an FUT hair transplant?

During a FUT hair transplant, surgeons remove a section of the skin from the back of the head using a scalpel. 

This typically measures between 1 and 1.5 centimetres in width, depending on the number of follicles required to achieve optimal coverage.

They will extract the follicles from this strip, and prepare them to be implanted into the balding regions of the scalp. In general, this procedure is most effective for adding density to larger bald or thinning areas.

The surgeon will close the donor area to heal. The disadvantage of this method is that the patient will have a permanent scar in this spot.

How does the FUT surgery work?

This procedure should last from 4 to 6 hours.

This tends to be a faster process than FUE hair transplants, and most patients remain awake (though they receive local anesthesia to numb the treatment area).

fut hair transplant process

How does the treatment unfold?

  • The surgeon will identify the recipient and donor areas, and take photos for future reference.
  • The donor hair will be cut to approximately 2 millimeters to allow for easier access.
  • The surgeon will remove the strip from the back of the head, ready to extract the follicles.
  • All individual follicles necessary will be removed and prepared for transplantation.
  • The site of the extraction will be closed with sutures.
  • The surgeon will insert the donor follicles into the thinning areas of the scalp to build a natural pattern.
  • Antibiotic treatment will be applied to the scalp before it’s dressed with bandages.

The majority of patients notice results between 6 and 9 months after their surgery, though it can take around one year for some to reach that stage. 

Am I a good candidate?

If you’re considering an FUE or FUT hair transplant, you’ll need healthy growth on the back or sides of your head.

That means men experiencing male pattern baldness are good candidates for this method. Men affected by this condition tend to lose their hair on top of the scalp only or develop a hairline resembling an M, with loss occurring around the temples.

FUT is rarely an option for patients with alopecia areata or a thyroid problem.

But it could be right for you if you meet the following criteria:

  • Over 25: This treatment is usually performed on patients older than 25, as hair loss is harder to predict before that age.
age of hair transplant patients
  • Norwood scale: Hair transplants suit male patients affected by hair loss in the Norwood pattern.
  • Size of the balding area: This method works best on larger thinning areas.
  • Density: Patients with thicker hair usually achieve more coverage.

A specialist will examine your hair and scalp during a consultation to determine if a transplant is right for you.

What’s the difference between FUE and FUT hair transplants?

fue and fut procedures

Both types of surgery involve transplanting follicles. The main difference lies in the extraction method.

  • FUT: The surgeon removes a small section of skin from the back of the head and harvests the follicles.
  • FUE: The surgeon uses a handheld tool to take individual follicles from the scalp directly, instead of via a strip.

Which is better: FUE or FUT?

The most popular method is the FUE hair transplantation treatment. Only 3 years ago, most procedures were carried out with the FUT method. 

However, today 66% of all hair restoration surgeries are performed using the FUE instead.

FUT, FUE and combined methods

30% of all procedures are still carried out with the FUT hair transplant technique. 

As FUT also provides permanent results, it can be a feasible option in a number of cases.

What are the advantages of FUT?

  • The procedure is usually faster
  • Prices can be lower
  • Procedures usually involve a larger number of grafts

Key differences between the FUE and FUT methods

FUEFUT
Anesthesialocallocal
Extraction methodPunch extractionSlit extraction with scalpel
Stitches requirednoyes
Extensive bleeding during or after surgeymay occurno
Pain after surgerynonemoderate
Scarring on donor areauntraceable5-15 cm long linear scar
Wearing short hair on the donor areapossiblenot possible
Recovery period7-10 dayaround 14 days
Return to work1-2 days after surgery7 days after surgery
Suture removal10-14 days post-op
Average costs3000-100001000-9000

FUT and FUE combined

Some clinics offer hair transplants with FUT and FUE combined. Using the techniques combined is typically discussed and decided in advance. 

It can also happen that the patient opts for a FUT hair transplant, but the surgeon finds that the scalp is too tight to proceed with this method. 

The surgeon will usually decide if the treatment can be finished with the FUE or it can be performed at another time in the future.

number of hair transplants per patient

While in almost 60% of the cases a single hair transplant session is enough to achieve the desired result, you might need another procedure in the future.

After an FUT hair transplant, it is possible to have another session with a different method.

Potential side effects

Patients rarely develop side effects after the surgery. The potential issues include:

  • Hair transplant scar (will be visible if you keep your hair short, even though it fades with time)
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Cysts
  • Follicular inflammation (folliculitis)
  • Numbness
  • Bleeding

Shock loss is fairly common: hairs usually fall out within 2 months of surgery but should grow back no more than 4 months later.

How much does an FUT cost?

The average price of the FUT method ranges from around £3,000 to £9,000 in the UK, though hair transplant costs more at some clinics.

Rates are based on:

  • The number of hairs involved.
  • The surgeon’s experience and credentials.
  • The travel expenses you need to cover for treatment outside the UK.
  • The location of a clinic, as some cities are more expensive (e.g., in London).

How to prepare for your FUT procedure?

Before your FUT hair transplant procedure, you will receive a list of instructions on how to prepare for the surgery day. These may vary clinic by clinic, and your doctor will consider your medical history too.

In general, before your FUT procedure, your surgeon will advise you to:

  1. Wash your hair thoroughly the night before.
  2. Avoid using styling products on the morning of your procedure
  3. Don’t drink any alcohol 24 hours before surgery
  4. Avoid taking any anti-inflammatory medication and aspirin in 24 hours before treatment.
  5. Stop smoking at least 24 hours before surgery.
  6. Don’t have a haircut before your surgery. It is important to let the donor area grow so that there is enough for the transplant. Plus it will cover the stitches following your surgery.
  7. Massage your scalp regularly about 2-4 weeks before your surgery to improve blood flow. 

Recovery after FUT hair transplant surgery

The full recovery after FUT hair transplant takes around 2-3 weeks.

Though your surgeon will advise you about the aftercare and the products you should use, your recovery timeline will likely go as follows:

  • After surgery: Remove the bandages
  • 1 day after FUT: Start using the medicated products to keep the sutured area clean.
  • 2 days after surgery: Avoid alcohol, caffeine and spicy food to prevent bleeding.
  • 7-10 days after surgery: You may return to work.
  • 10-14 days after surgery: Visit your surgeon to remove stitches.
  • 3-4 weeks after FUT: The transplanted hairs fall out. 
  • 3-4 months after FUT: New regrowth starts on the implanted area and the density will gradually improve
  • 6-8 months after treatment: You will notice a significant change in the density
  • 12-15 months after FUT: You will see the complete result.

You will see the result of your FUT hair transplants around a year after the surgery. 

If carried out by experts, the technique can offer you dense results that will boost your confidence. Though you will have to consider the potential drawbacks of the method, the result will likely have an overall positive impact and may make it up for you.

FAQ

Which is better: FUE or FUT hair transplant?

FUT is recommended for patients experiencing substantial hair loss. However, in most cases, FUE is considered a better option, as it’s less invasive, leaves no visible scars and offers shorter recovery.

Is FUT hair transplant permanent? 

When performing Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) treatments, a surgeon creates tiny punctures and transplants follicles from across your scalp to bald or thinning areas. While the techniques differ, both the FUE and FUT hair transplant methods are regarded as permanent.

How much does a FUT hair transplant cost? 

FUT transplants cost between £1,000 and £10,000 in the UK on average, though prices vary. Some clinics will charge significantly more than others. Factors that affect costs include the number of hairs to be transplanted and the clinic’s location.

What is the success rate of FUT hair transplant? 

Most respected surgeons report that their FUE success rates exceed 90%, so it can be an ideal solution for patients experiencing hair loss of any kind. The FUE hair transplant technique achieves higher success rates than all others.

Does FUT hair transplant hurt?

FUT hair transplants are carried out in local anaesthesia, so you shouldn’t feel pain during the procedure. Once the anaesthetic wears off, you can expect slight to moderate pain for a few days that can be managed with painkillers.

Last medically reviewed on May 9th, 2022

HairPalace relies on scholarly sources, including peer-reviewed articles, as well as publications of medical associations and academic & research institutions. We follow strict sourcing guidelines and avoid tertiary references. Read our editorial policy for further information on how we keep our content up-to-date and accurate.