I have noticed some hair transplant patients will have a lesser number of follicular unit grafts but a greater hair count. Which is more important? Does the hair count matter? Often I only hair loss patients speak about the number of grafts they received.
In my opinion, both are relevant. Hair graft counts alone can be misleading, as follows.
Say a hair restoration patient has 1000 follicular units available in the donor area. When trimmed to their naturally occurring groupings (true follicular unit grafts of 1’s, 2’s, 3’s and 4’s), they will average 2 hairs per follicular unit. This will yield 2000 hairs as per my example. Now one can cut each and every follicular unit down to one hair grafts, and if a hair restoration physician were to do that, you would have 2000 grafts. This would be labeled as a “2000 graft case”, when, in fact, a surgeon is moving the same amount of hair mass in both instances. As Pat Hennessey, Publisher of the Hair Transplant Network says, “More slices doesn’t make the pizza bigger”.
Now, to the hair loss newbie, the 2000 grafts sounds like a “better and bigger deal”. In fact, the result obtained, were one to compare the 1000 graft case (native follicular unit grafts, original groupings) with the 2000 graft case (all follicular units cut down to 1’s), in my honest opinion, the 1000 graft case would look much more natural, due to the heterogeneity of grafts (which mimics nature).
There was a time back in the early to mid 90’s when some hair transplant clinics, so excited that you could get all these cut down single grafts to survive, would do just that. The result, to my eye at least, left one with a wispy “airbrushed” kind of look that IMO didn’t look at all natural. So in my opinion, it’s important to know both the number of grafts and hairs you received.
Dr. Timothy Carman