Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or Strip Harvesting

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT Hair Transplants), or strip harvesting, is a popular hair transplant procedure at Crown Clinic. It is the technique used for Embarrassing Bodies star Christian Jessen's hair transplants at Crown Clinic. As opposed to an FUE Transplant which involves harvesting individual hairs, an FUT allows the surgeon to safely transplant thousands of grafts in a single session, which maximises the cosmetic impact of the procedure. During the hair transplant, a strip of hair is removed from either the sides or back of the scalp and transplanted to the affected area.

Why have an FUT hair transplant?

A third of men lose their hair by the time they are 30; 40% lose it by the time they are 40 and more than half of men over 50 show signs of baldness. Nine out of ten patients at Crown Clinic are men seeking a permanent remedy to their baldness. Around 10% of our patients are women who have experienced problems with thinning hair, and half of women will suffer hair loss in their lives. With hair loss an issue for both genders, both men and women can benefit from an FUT procedure.

We treat hair transplant patients for the following reasons:

  • By far the most popular reason is not cosmetic: men find that hair loss can damage their self-esteem and even their career prospects. Hair transplantation is a permanent solution to this problem. The transplanted hair is highly durable and should last the patient for the rest of his or her life.
  • Virtually all men, even those in the advanced stages of baldness, have a permanent horseshoe of hair on the back and sides of the scalp. This gives the surgeon a stable supply of donor hair which can cover current and future areas of hair loss.
  • We tend to operate on patients aged 25 and over - by this age; we can establish what the eventual pattern of hair loss might be. Prior to 25, the pattern is not fully formed, and it is not in the patient's best interests to operate.

What to Expect from a Consultation

Whether you are planning an FUT or any hair transplant procedure, it’s essential that the process begins with a consultation. If you’re intrigued by the speed and convenience of an FUT Transplant, contact our clinic to arrange a consultation.

This is a great opportunity for patients to meet and speak with, our surgeon Dr. Asim Shahmalak. Dr Shahmalak is one of the most respected hair transplant surgeons in the world, renowned for his ground-breaking techniques and his friendly and professional manner.

This first meeting will help us to prepare for your individual case and assess what we’re working with. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any questions and squash any concerns you may have.

A consultation will also help both parties plan the next steps, manage expectations of the procedure and highlight any risks or issues that may occur. These consultations are essential for ensuring that you feel comfortable and are 100% sure when you come to the clinic to undergo your transplant.

If you’re at the start of your journey, and you’re looking to further educate yourself about hair transplants and the various procedures available, our ‘Treatments’ pages are a great place to start. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the topic. You’ll also find case studies of the various celebrities that we have worked with in recent years including Calum Best, footballer Didi Hamman and Gogglebox Star Chris Steed. There’re also real-life examples of some of the more everyday hair transplants we carry out as well as information around eyebrow, eyelash, beard transplants and more.

Is a FUT Transplant Safe?

A FUT transplant is completely safe when performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon. Despite the procedure requiring great precision and care, for a professional surgeon it is a relatively simple undertaking.

A successful FUT procedure will take the following steps:

  • After applying an anaesthetic, the surgeon will delicately extract a strip of skin from your scalp using a scalpel. This will likely come from the back of your head.
  • They will then administer skin clips to this part of the scalp.
  • Along with their assistant, they will then separate the scalp strip into smaller grafts which may be broken down into as many as 2,000 smaller follicles.
  • They will then create a landing strip in your scalp where hair can be transplanted to.
  • These follicles will be placed individually in the affected area of the scalp after the surgeon has made incisions.

What Should be Done Immediately After a FUT Transplant Procedure?

Once the procedure is complete, there are several measures that can be taken to minimise any potential issues during the recovery period.

To minimise swelling, it’s important to sleep with the head elevated to a 45-degree angle for the first 3-4 nights after surgery.

It’s important to stay away from alcoholic beverages for 3 to 5 days. Use ice on the affected area to avoid swelling.

What is the Expected Recovery Timeline for a FUT Transplant?

Within 20 minutes of the hair transplant ending, you can go home, though we recommend that you do not drive if possible, on the day of surgery.

An FUT hair transplant will leave a scar on the scalp, but this is generally not detectable beneath the hair of patients unless they shave their head around the scar tissue.

Thanks to the modern hair transplantation techniques used at Crown Clinic, we can produce results that are minimally visible - even under the closest scrutiny.

New hair growth will start to grow back around four months after the procedure. However, it will take at least six to eight months for the new hair to make any significant difference to your appearance.

Will I Feel Pain After a FUT Transplant Procedure

After a hair transplant, the surgeon will prescribe pain killers. This will help to soothe and control your pain.

Will I Suffer Swelling after Hair Transplant Procedures?

Swelling can happen after the after a transplant - usually around the forehead.

Swelling usually happens on around the second to the fourth day of recovery.

This is completely normal and a transient phase; it is not a sign of further issues.

Again, sleeping at a 45-degree angle will ensure there are no further unnecessary complications.

Am I at Risk of Infection After a FUT Transplant?

Infections from hair transplant surgery are unlikely to happen. It’s important to avoid dirt and bacteria or tampering with donor area or the planted follicles during the healing process.

Patients should report any issues to their doctor immediately.

If you are interested in a hair transplant or have any questions, contact us today to arrange a consultation.

Dr Christian Jessen - successful FUT hair transplant transplant patient at Crown Clinic

Dr Christian Jessen, the presenter of the channel 4 medical show Embarrassing Bodies, has had two FUT hair transplants at Crown Clinic.

He has publicly thanked our surgeon Asim Shahmalak for restoring his hair - describing him glowingly as 'my brilliant surgeon.' Dr Shahmalak is very proud to be known as 'the doctor's doctor.'

Dr Jessen met Dr Shahmalak while filming Embarrassing Bodies - Asim is the hair loss expert on the show and has been filmed carrying out hair transplants on patients featured on the show.

Dr Jessen had his first procedure at Crown Clinic in 2009 and then a second procedure in 2013. On both occasions around 3,000 hairs were transplanted from the back and sides of the scalp to fill out the front of Dr Jessen's hair line.

Dr Jessen said: "I am very pleased I had it done - it has been very empowering for me. I thought to myself, 'Why am I always telling people how to change things about their bodies that they dislike if I can't do the same thing for myself?'

"Dr Shahmalak has a very nice manner and is very calm and I am very pleased with the results he gets."

Dr Shahmalak said: "All my patients get the same level of care but I love the fact that I am the doctor's doctor. Being recommended by a doctor or treating a doctor such as Christian is the ultimate compliment."

View full Case Study

The Difference between FUT and FUE

FUE and FUT aren’t actually separate techniques but they are often talked about in opposition to each other. Instead FUE is part of FUT, as it uses extracted follicular units which are prepared individually before being transplanted.

The other technique involves taking a strip of hair follicles all at once then extracting the units before they are transplanted. This is known as strip excision and results in more prominent scarring.

Read about the pros and cons of FUE and Strip Excision here.

Why Choose FUT hair transplants?

  • Usually less expensive than FUE
  • Procedure can be less time-consuming
  • Unlike with FUT, in large FUE sessions the entire donor site needs to be shaved, posing a cosmetic issue for certain people
  • Maximum Follicular Unit Yield is greater