Dr_Wesley_photoThe success of any hair transplant surgery is partially dependent upon the number of follicular unit grafts (hair groupings as they occur naturally in the scalp) a hair loss patient has available for extraction and implantation. If a patient has high density in the donor region (permanent DHT resistant hair on the sides and back of the scalp), a large number of grafts can be harvested and transplanted into the balding regions of the scalp. This is true for both prominent hair transplant procedures including Follicular Unit Transplantation and Follicular Unit Extraction.

Hair transplant patients often want a maximum number of grafts implanted at a very high density in order to achieve the fullest head of hair possible.  However, this brings up some important questions.  What is the average donor density (number of available follicular unit grafts) in hair transplant patients? What about patients with higher or lower densities? Also, is it ethical to implant a large number of follicular unit grafts in younger patients?

In order to answer some of these questions, Coalition hair restoration surgeon Dr. Carlos Wesley recently investigated the follicular unit donor availability in hair transplant patients. The study, which was published in Dermatological Surgery, reviewed what hair transplant surgeons can and should do with the limited number of follicular units in hair transplant patients.  The article seeks to clarify the limits of the finite supply of “permanent” donor area hair used in treating hair transplant patients (specifically young patients).

After reviewing the data, Dr. Wesley determined that patients with an average hair density and potential to develop Norwood Level V baldness were estimated to yield and average of 6,404 follicular units, 4,963 follicular units with below-average density, and 7,904 follicular units with above-average density.  When Level VI male pattern baldness is anticipated, estimated mean harvest yields are 5,393 follicular units with an average density, 4,204 follicular units with below-average density, and 6,661 follicular units with above-average density.

Dr. Wesley believes this data can serve as useful guideline numbers for patients and physicians alike to help choose appropriate surgical goals.

To review the article, please see the following: Estimating the Number of Lifetime Follicular Units: A Survey and Comments of Experienced Hair Transplant Surgeons. 

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Wesley on his most recent publication!

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Blake – aka Future_HT_Doc

Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning

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