Once you’ve decided that you’re a candidate for hair restoration surgery, the next step is to determine which procedure is best for you. While follicular unit extraction (FUE) can seem like the ideal option for many patients, strip harvesting surgery is also worth considering. In fact, strip harvesting might be the better option for some patients, instead of FUE. As with any surgery, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of the procedure before deciding if it’s the best option for you.
What to Know About Strip Harvesting Surgery
Pro: More Hair Can be Transplanted
Perhaps the biggest “pro” of strip harvesting is that it it allows a surgeon to harvest more follicles for transplanting during a single session. With FUE, each follicle is harvested one by one. That means smaller scars, but it also means the procedure takes longer. A surgeon may work on a smaller area when performing FUE and opt for strip harvesting if a patient wishes to have a wider area treated.
Con: It Creates a Scar
One of the main reasons why people consider FUE over strip harvesting is because strip harvesting creates a linear scar. During the surgery, the doctor cuts away a section of scalp, then stitches the incision closed. Although it is possible for a scar to form after the incision heals, it is usually very fine and very easy to conceal with any remaining hair.
It’s also important to remember that FUE creates scars as well. The big difference is that the scars from FUE are usually very tiny pinpricks. They can be located all over the scalp, though, which can make them visible. Plus, if a patient decides to have a second FUE procedure performed, the surgeon will need to harvest additional grafts, leaving more tiny scars all over the scalp. When a second strip harvesting surgery is needed, the surgeon can work near the site of the first incision, removing the initial scar.
Pro: Hair Doesn’t Need to Be Cut Short
Not everyone likes the idea of having to cut their hair very short to undergo hair restoration surgery. For some people, such as women who regularly wear their hair long, getting a close crop is a no-go. Since the procedure involves cutting away a full strip of hair, there’s no reason to trim the hair very short before strip harvesting.
Con: Recovery Can Take Longer
One last drawback of strip harvesting. Since the surgery does involve creating an incision, recovery afterward can take longer than recovery after FUE. There might be more discomfort as the incision heals. Luckily, discomfort tends to be minimal for many patients and is easy to manage with pain relievers and rest.
Pro: Results Look Natural
Most importantly, the results you get from strip harvesting surgery look natural. It’s your own hair that’s transplanted, and that transplanted hair is there to stay. Once you start to see regrowth, it’ll be like you never had hair loss at all.