How Many Grafts Do I Need For A Hair Transplant?

Sun 26 Aug 2007

I am considering hair transplantation.   How many follicular unit grafts do I need?

The number of follicular unit grafts you will need is dependent upon your goals and your level of hair loss.   Hair loss can either be measured according to the Norwood Scale or the Ludwig Scale.  

A good rule is to take your norwood scale rating and multiply it by 1000 (on the conservative side) to 1500 (on the liberal side).   This will give you a good idea of how many follicular unit grafts you will need to achieve decent coverage and density.   To read more about coverage verses density see the following Hair Loss Q&A Blog.

Keep in mind, however that the donor supply (the hair on the sides and back of your head where hair is removed for hair transplantation is finite.   This means that a first-rate hair transplant doctor must make good use of your available donor.   Those who are  higher rated on the norwood or ludwig scale may have to sacrifice a bit of density to receive the coverage they want.   On the other hand, a patient may decide they want more density in an area and decide not to transplant hairs in other areas.

Though numbers certainly are important, I have found that hair and skin characteristics make a  big difference in order to achieve the illusion of density.   Those with  thicker hair, for example  may need fewer grafts than those with thinner hair to accomplish their goals.  

I recommend therefore,  discussing  your hair characteristics as well as the number of grafts  with your hair transplant physician and how it will relate to accomplishing your goals.

Bill
Associate Publisher of the Hair Transplant Network and the Hair Loss Learning Center
View my Hair Loss Weblog

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4 Comments so far:

  1. pavitra says:

    im 28 years old.im affected by hair loss for 8 years. now everywhere on my head hairs are less and thin, scalp area is more affected so how many grafts i need and how much it cost. i want transplantation on full head to make my hairs dense. till what age it can be done.. is there any side effects?i have dandruff also for 8-9 years.

  2. Pavitra,

    First, I recommend consulting with a dermatologist to ensure that the hair loss is a form of genetic balding and not caused by an outside factor.

    Next, I would highly investigate preventive medications such as finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Rogaine). These could really help stop and improve some of the hair loss.

    Third, although it’s difficult to estimate the number of grafts (without pictures), I recommend trying the hair loss learning center graft calculator:

    http://www.hairlosslearningcenter.org/content/common-elements/mm/introa.html

    This should give you a rough estimate of where you stand and how you would like to proceed.

    Finally, the goal of hair transplantation is creating the illusion of density. You most likely will not have hair like you did as a child, but a skilled surgeon can create an excellent, cosmetically significant result. To find one of these surgeons, follow this link:

    http://www.hairtransplantnetwork.com/Consult-a-Physician/hair-loss-doctors.asp

    I hope this helps!

    Blake (Future_HT_Doc)
    Editorial Assistant

  3. James Blake says:

    Hi,

    I have 2 questions.

    1.) My hair loss didnt start at the temples but rather the temple points receded all the way to the part where the ears meet the head. Is this a strange beginning of recession?

    2.) I’ve been receding since I was 16 and now, I’m 20, turning 21, do you think it would be reasonable for me to contemplate a hair transplant? I’m a norwood 2, but added with my temple points having receded all the way back.

    Thanks.

  4. David (TakingThePlunge) says:

    James,

    Truthfully, there is no “normal” way to recede. Balding can occur in many forms.

    If you’ve completely lost your temple points already, there is certainly a possibility that further balding is in your future. In my opinion, you should consult a dermatologist and consider starting Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) as soon as possible.

    Generally, hair transplant surgery is not recommended for patients in their early 20s. However, since your primary concern is restoring temple points, you may be a candidate. Your best option is contacting one of the pre-screened, high quality hair restoration physicians at http://www.hairtransplantnetwork.com and scheduling a free online consultation.

    Best of luck!

    David (TakingThePlunge)

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