This question, which was answered by Coalition surgeon Dr. Alan Feller, was asked by a member of our Hair Restoration Social Community and Discussion Forums:
I recently met with two hair transplant surgeons and was provided with two completely different estimates regarding the number of available follicular unit grafts. One doctor claimed I had 4,000 donor grafts available to remove and implant, while the other claimed I only had 2,000 available grafts. Is one surgeon correct and the other incorrect? What would account for such a large difference?
All hair restoration physicians have their own take on what donor resources are available. Their are many more variables than one might think. For example, someone who actually went to the trouble to find out the average density of their donor might think they know with accuracy how many grafts are available, but, when one figures in skin flexibility, existing scars, dimensions of the skull, positon of the ears, the diminesions of the donor area, etc – the final number is not so clear. Add to that the ability, confidence, and experience of the doctor and you may have quite a range of numbers.
Having 4,000 grafts in your donor area does not necessarily mean they are all available for harvesting in one session or even multiple sessions. Some areas of the donor area are unreachable (unless follicular unit extraction is then employed).
My guess is that while you were told you have 4000 grafts available by the first doctor, the second may have been a bit more specific by saying that he can grab half of that in one session given your physiological parameters. Having had surgery in the past most certainly can reduce the amount of grafts available for harvesting in one sitting.
Dr. Alan Feller
Blake Bloxham – formerly “Future_HT_Doc”
Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning Center, the Hair Loss Q&A Blog, and the Hair Restoration Forum
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