Hair Restoration: Automated or Manual

When discussing hair transplantation and restoration, the considerations are typically limited to two procedures: Follicular Unit Transplantation and Follicular Unit Extraction. FUT is a more invasive procedure that includes incisions and sutures. FUE is minimally invasive in comparison, and it is likely the favored procedure by many doctors. While doctors still use FUT, it is often reserved for those patients with a medium to a long hairstyle, due to scarring. However, even with FUE providing some benefit over FUT, there is still the matter of discussing manual and automated FUE.


FUE is a minimally invasive procedure where a doctor uses a device with a 1mm punch to extract a single hair follicle. Once removed, they use a similar tool to punch the follicle into the recipient area. The preference for this procedure over FUT is that transplantation does not require the removal of a linear strip from your scalp. Therefore, FUE reduces potential risks and also provides a more natural appearance.

Automated FUE

While still in use, manual FUE is likely less efficient and effective when compared to automated techniques. With programmed punches, computer led procedures can execute more precise and consistent follicle removal and transplant, which ultimately leads to increased patient satisfaction. Also, since automated systems do not tire as humans do, the procedures are quicker, resulting in a reduction of error.

Manual Versus Automated

Automated FUE is still relatively new when compared to other hair restoration methods, but the techniques and devices used are not complicated for practiced physicians. Therefore, many hair restoration surgeons are getting accustomed to the new automated process. Granted, not every hair clinic is going to offer automated FUE, but for those that do, it is wise to know the level of experience the doctor has.

If you choose to have a manual FUE procedure, then be aware that some inconsistency in delivery can lead to a popcorn texture on the donor site as well as an uneven recipient area. Automated equipment is designed to limit these types of results by applying even pressure and transplanting grafts to uniform depths, something unlikely in manual procedures.

No matter what type of hair restoration procedure you choose, do your homework beforehand. FUT causes linear scarring and is more invasive than FUE. Manual FUE may result in inconsistent transplant depth, which may lead to uneven and textured scalps. Automated procedures, however, are designed with consistency and proficiency in mind, which allows for a natural appearance and faster recovery. Contact a hair restoration specialist to discuss your surgical options.

Resource: Hair Transplant

Dr. Robin Unger, Hair Restoration NYC