What is the highest density in follicular units per square cm that can be achieved with a hair transplant?
This is a question that is commonly asked. Though it is certainly a valid question, one has to be careful what they do with the answer. Often, there are false assumptions that are made when it comes to density. Before I answer the question, therefore, allow me to point out some of these false assumptions.
- False Assumption 1: If a hair transplant doctor can achieve 80 follicular unit grafts per square cm, that must mean, I can expect to achieve this.
- False Assumption 2: All patients, no matter what their level of hair loss can expect to achieve the highest possible level of density.
- False Assumption 3: Patients who receive lower levels of density must have received a sub-par hair transplant – therefore that hair transplant physician must not be as adequate as those who deliver higher density hair transplants.
- False Assumption 4: Doctors who report that they can achieve higher levels of density must be better hair transplant doctors.
All of the above are false. Listed below are a few things one must understand about hair transplantation and hair density.
- Density is typically measured in follicular unit grafts per square cm. Since follicular units contain 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4 haired grafts, the appearance of density will vary depending on how many hairs are contained in each follicular unit graft. That means it is possible that 40 FU grafts/square cm containing mostly 2 hair grafts will appear more dense than 60 FU grafts/square cm containing mostly 1 hair grafts.
- For patients with higher levels of hair loss, one cannot achieve both high densities and full coverage. One will have to be sacrificed to achieve the other since the donor supply is finite. Therefore a patient measured higher on the norwood scale may choose coverage over density.
In my opinion, the ideal hair transplant patient to receive super high density hair transplants are those patients who are older with low levels of hair loss. Transplanting hair densely packed in an area on a younger patient is risky since hair loss is unpredictable, and dense packed transplanted hair on an older person with extreme loss might leave a patient with unnatural balding pattern.
All quality hair transplant physicians who offer ultra refined follicular unit grafting, can achieve high level of densities when appropriate for the patient, up to approximately 80 follicular unit grafts per square cm.
However, I believe that patients shouldn’t get too hung up on the numbers. Whereas higher numbers sound ultra-impressive – it doesn’t signify a superior hair transplant. Instead, work with a quality hair transplant physician to determine the best course of action for you.
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