How Many Grafts are Available For Hair Transplantation Surgery?
I am balding and considering a hair transplant. I have read about the “finite” donor supply. Approximately how many donor grafts do I have available for hair transplantation?
For this question, I will namely address Strip surgery or follicular unit transplantation.
On average, a hair transplant patient has approximately 5000-7000 follicular unit grafts available for Follicular Unit Transplantation. Once a hair transplant patient is “stripped out”, FUE can be considered and approximately 2000-3000 follicular unit grafts may be available without creating the appearance of the “moth-eaten” look.
How many donor grafts are available for hair transplantation is dependent upon a number of variables.
1. Patient’s Donor Laxity
Donor laxity refers to the elasticity of your skin in your donor area (the sides and back of your head where the tissue which contains hair follicles is removed). The more elastic your skin, a wider strip can be taken containing more hair follicles
2. Patient’s Donor Density
Donor density refers to the proximity of hair follicles in relation to one another. The average density in follicular units per square CM is approximately 80 FU/sq CM.
3. Length of strip removed from by the Physician
This refers to the physical length of the removed tissue from the scalp. Many hair restoration clinics have a different idea regarding the ideal length of strip, so ultimately, physician selection may impact the final follicular unit graft count.
4. Physician Selection
Physician clinic is vital in determining a successful and quality hair transplant. However, even among the elite Coalition Physicians, there are varying philosophies regarding donor removal. Some hair restoration clinics are simply not comfortable with removing larger strips. Some prefer to do smaller multiple sessions rather than a larger single session. Is one philosophy better than the other? This requires a lot more discussion. Be leary however, of hair transplant physicians who set maximum size limits on session sizes for all patients – especially those who’s maximum session size is 2000 grafts or less.
A note on selection of a hair transplant doctor: It is best to choose a hair transplant doctor that has a public record of consistent positive results, not only posted by the clinic itself, but by real patients of that clinic. Being able to read real hair transplant patient experiences and view high resolution before/after photos should be available online for research and viewing purposes.
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