I’m interested in getting a hair transplant to lower my hairline, but I don’t know how many grafts I’ll need to get a dense result. How can I calculate the number?
There is no magic number or formula to know how many grafts you’ll need to be satisfied. There are graft calculators that can give you an approximate amount, but again you may not be happy with the density. In general, surgical hair restoration follows the 50% rule. The 50% rule dictates that hair loss becomes visible once you lose 50% of your natural density.
On average, most people are born with approximately one hundred thousand hairs on their scalp. If you break down that number into grafts, you’ll get roughly 50,000 follicular units. If you break it down even further, the top of the scalp has approximately 25,000 units. Okay, enough of the math lesson, we already know it is impossible to replace 25,000 follicular units. So how do hair transplants work? Well, they work by replacing 50%, because hair loss isn’t visible until you lose more than 50% of your natural density.
Hair transplant surgeons can dense-pack up to 60 follicular units per square centimeter (cm2). That said, the average person doesn’t need 60 follicular units to get a visible improvement. Most patients require anywhere from 40-50 follicular units per cm2 for a visibly dense result. There is a point of diminishing returns. Blood supply is vital to the survival of grafts. If the grafts do not have enough blood supply, they will die. You can transplant 100 follicular units per cm2, but if the grafts don’t survive- it’s pointless.
It is important to remember that hair transplants do not replace your hair loss- hair for hair. Hair transplants give you the ability to have the ‘illusion’ of a fuller head of hair, but you will never have the hair you once had. Maintaining realistic expectations is vital. At some point, you need to accept that your hair may show visible signs of weakness in certain lights or conditions. Ultimately, that is what separates a good hair transplant candidate from a bad one.