What is the highest density of hair transplants?
One of most common questions asked by hair transplant applicants is “what is the highest density of hair transplant?” or “Will I need more than one session for a hair transplant?” The answer to this question depends on many things, but in general, the maximum number of grafts that can be implanted is 4,500, which is possible with combined method. Graft refers to hair follicular units that usually include 2 to 3 and sometimes 4 to 5 hairs. That is, the highest density of hair transplant is 10 to 14 thousand hairs.
False advertisements have caused more false beliefs and many ambiguities about the highest density of hair transplantation, which we intend to explain in this article.
How can I increase the density of my hair transplant?
One of the unrealistic words we see in advertisements of hair transplant clinics is the promise of high densities. What is scientifically and practically feasible is a maximum of 4,500 grafts, and any promise more than that is a baseless claim. Of course, planting 4,500 grafts is also difficult and depends on two very important factors:
- Characteristics of the patient’s hair and baldness: such as pattern of baldness, quality of hair, strength of follicles, density of hair bank, etc.
- Skill, technique and experience of the surgeon.
Both factors are necessary to achieve the highest density of hair transplantation. It is possible to achieve higher densities, but not with a single hair transplant. Non-surgical hair transplant methods require re-implantation of hair to create high density, which is done about a year after operation.
Can hair density be increased?
The second ambiguity is that with hair transplantation, “you can achieve natural hair density or even higher densities.” This belief is also not true. The normal density of hair in a person who does not suffer from hair loss and baldness is about 80 to 100 follicular units per square centimeter of head. It means that there are about 100,000 follicles in head.
Hair transplantation is usually done when 50% of hair in bald area has been reduced. Baldness cannot be visually recognized until more than 50% of hair has fallen. For this reason, planting 35 to 55 hair follicles per square centimeter is enough to beautify head. It means that the highest density of hair transplantation has a relatively large distance from natural density, but it is completely sufficient to cover baldness.
Achieving natural hair density is almost never done. For three reasons:
- There is no need to reach natural density to fill head empty areas, and planting this number of grafts will waste the follicles. However, hair loss may continue and other areas of head may become empty. If too many follicles are harvested in initial implantation, there are no follicles left to fill new bald spots.
- Too many grafts can make it difficult to supply blood to other follicles. If this happens, your natural hair around the implanted areas will shock and fall out.
- Transplanting too much grafts can cause severe damage or deviation in blood supply system of scalp. This issue also leads to scarring and necrosis (cell death) of scalp.
For these reasons, the highest density of hair transplants is usually lower than natural density. Of course, your situation may be such that it is possible to reach densities close to natural state. This is done only if your surgeon is sure that blood supply to the rest of follicles will not be affected and that you will not experience hair loss due to shock.
The overstated importance of density
From a professional and scientific point of view, the density of hair transplant is not that important. With almost all hair transplant methods, minimal densities can be reached, and reaching the highest density of hair transplants is not a guarantee of transplant success.
Earlier, we talked about the dangers and limiting factors of high densities and said that half the natural density of hair is enough to cover bald areas. With this density, your hair will look natural and if no one has seen you before, they will not know at all that you have a hair transplant.
What matters more than hair density is surgeon skill in placing and spreading grafts. If the surgeon is skilled enough, he will use the minimum number of grafts to achieve most natural result. The way to spread and place the follicles can be designed in such a way that visually your hair is as close as possible to natural density.
So know that the skill of surgeon is much more important than achieving highest hair density.
What is the most common hair density?
The Hamilton-Norwood Scale is a classification system used to determine the extent of hair loss in seven stages in people experiencing androgenetic alopecia. Norwood scale gives a perspective about how many grafts could be needed for a hair restoration surgery with adequate density, but the numbers given are approximate numbers that disregard your physiological differences, such as whether the quantity of grafts physically fit your scalp or whether you have enough grafts.
all in all, the grafts to be obtained from the donor area aren’t infinite. So, if you wonder “how many grafts do I need for full hair coverage?”, by looking at the scale, you may calculate that approximately 4500 grafts are necessary for a front to back full hair coverage, but eventually, your doctor will tell you the real, physically feasible and necessary number.
|Norwood Scale||Number of Grafts||Crown||Area|
|2||500 – 800||–|
|3||1600-2400||–||Front and temples|
|3 vertex||1800-2600||2000-3200||Front and crown|
|3a||2000-3000||–||Front and crown|
|4||2200-3400||3400-3800||Front and crown|
|5||2600-3800||3800-4500||Front and crown|
|5a||2800-4200||4600-5600||Front and crown|
|6||3000-4600||5000-6400||Front and crown|
|7||3200-5000||5000-6400||Front and crown|