Now if one was to go to a world class hair transplant doctor for surgery and there are no depressions or bumps, what would be the difference between transplanted hair and natural hair? I know that the transplanted hair can be a little thicker because it’s from the back of your head but I want to know if there is anything else that would set it apart, and how a top hair restoration physician would be able to tell the two apart? Also are there any limitations on transplanted hair (assuming you will not be balding and there is enough donor hair)? Is there anything that I can’t do with the transplanted hair that I would be able to do with the native hair?
In state of the art follicular unit transplantation procedures, even we surgeons can have a hard time differentiating transplanted grafts from native hair. The “tip-off”, in actuality, isn’t really the difference between the actual look of the hair itself, or the base of the shaft, etc; rather it is the “gestalt” or background against which the transplanted graft occurs.
In general, in nature when hair begins to “thin”, the shafts will decrease in diameter along with a general decrease in hair count/square cm. When examined closely, there will be a “gestalt”: an over-riding pattern of an association between the diameter of the hair shaft and the number of follicular units per square cm (FU/cm2). When hair is transplanted, especially in a one procedure hair density (assuming native being 100FU/cm2, single pass density being 40-45FU/cm2), there will be a “mismatch” between the diameter of the shaft (healthy, robust shaft from donor, as you point out) and the overall hair count/cm2 as compared to native hair. It is that difference in the context of the transplanted hair that one might notice. Again, as Bill Seemiller pointed out on our hair loss forum – this is getting really abnormally close in a fashion that would not occur in everyday activity. Hence, to the casual observer, at “normal” distances, the state of the art hair transplant will be undetectable when talking about this concept above. Also, if a second procedure is performed to increase hair density, this observation becomes more difficult to reproduce, as the mismatch between the two factors is further decreased.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Timothy Carman