On average (prior to the effects of hair loss and/or balding), a single strand of hair will grow anywhere from two to six years, enter a resting phase for a few months, and fall out. This process takes place so slowly that at first, most men don’t realize it’s happening. In fact, by the time it becomes noticeable, 50% of the hair on a man’s head has already been lost. This becomes more pronounced as men age. Two-thirds of the men in America experience a loss of hair to some degree by age 35. By the time they reach 50 years of age, roughly 85% of men notice that their hair has become considerably thinner. The culprit accounting for over 95% of men’s hair loss is Androgenic Alopecia, otherwise known as male pattern baldness (MPB). This adds up to approximately 35 million men who are experiencing some degree of hair loss in America alone.
These days, the story doesn’t have to end that way. With all the different types of hair loss treatments that are available, men who are interested in exploring them should consult a hair restoration specialist, weigh their options, and become well-prepared to make an informed decision. Here are some of the differences between two common hair restoration procedures: Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS).
Often referred to as follicular transfer (FT), FUE is one of the main approaches used to acquire the follicular units necessary to perform hair transplants. A follicular unit is a naturally occurring cluster of hairs. Although these units generally consist of one to four hairs, there may be as many as seven or eight hairs in a natural grouping.
During the FUE procedure, a tiny punch generally between 0.7 to 1 millimeter in size is used to harvest each individual follicular unit graft one by one. The procedure generally takes about eight hours.
The length of healing time needed after undergoing the FUE procedure depends on your skin type. However, the grafts will take within days, and any redness diminishes in roughly four or five days.
FUE procedures are minimally invasive, have reduced rates of complication, and have shorter recovery periods. After the FUE procedure, a man is also able to shave or cut his hair.
During the FUSS procedure, a strip is surgically removed from the non-balding area of the scalp, then placed into incisions made in the balding area of the scalp.
Because FUSS is a more invasive procedure than FUE, it has a higher rate of complications, and requires a longer recovery period. If scars are a concern, you’ll want to be aware that because of the nature of the procedure, FUSS results in a scar in the back of the head. According to RealSelf, scalp micropigmentation may improve the appearance of scars resulting from FUSS treatment. Due to pulling of the scalp in subsequent procedures, FUSS limits graft harvesting.
When deciding on which procedure is the right one for you, consider the invasiveness of the procedure, the likelihood of complications, healing time, and the potential for scars. Discussing these factors with a hair loss specialist could be the first step on your path to a full head of hair.