Outrageous Graft Numbers: Understanding the Difference

So, you’ve made the decision to enhance your appearance and go for a hair transplant and now you’re hearing all about “graft numbers”. You should know and understand graft calculation to better prepare you for your hair restoration surgery consultations so you’re getting realistic expectations.
Although your main goal is likely having as much hair transplanted as possible in order to look like you did when you were 20, there is a limit to the number of grafts that can be transplanted in one session. Be aware of physicians who offer these outrageous graft numbers as you are likely being scammed and now your intelligence has been insulted as well. They’re either giving you a fictitious number or they are attempting to place too many at one time which carries many risks.
If the follicular units (1-4 hairs) are extracted and then divided up into smaller groups, or into individual hairs, the fictitious “graft numbers” will significantly increase and so will the price of your hair restoration procedure (if the patient is charged by the graft), without any increase in fullness (and possibly even less fullness due to sub-optimal growth). So, more than likely the clinic was counting follicular grouping or hairs and sometimes this can be deceiving because 4,000 hairs may amount to only 2000-2,500 grafts.
For example, if a patient has a 2,000 graft hair transplantation procedure where the 4- grafts were split up into 1- and 2-hair grafts, either through poor dissection or intentionally, the new procedure would now have much more ‘grafts’ with exactly the same number of hairs. Now, more sites would need to be unnecessarily placed into the patients scalp to accommodate these grafts. This in turn would cause the hair to be spread out over a larger area of the scalp, decreasing the potential density in the more important areas such as the front and increasing the cost of your new hair transplant!
That is why Dr. Yazdan does a full exam and consult to discuss this in depth and NEVER charges by the number of grafts. It’s simply unrealistic resulting in unrealistic expectations from the patient.
Another reason for an absurdly high graft count is physicians attempting to plant a large number of grafts in “mega-sessions” which poses its own set of challenges. As the number of hair grafts placed per area rises, so does the risk of vascular compromise (decreased blood flow to the area caused by injury to the scalp) and this can result in sub-optimal graft growth.
For instance, in an FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) transplant, Dr. Yazdan typically recommends no more than a true graft count of 2,000 and for the traditional Strip/FUT method, no more than 3,500 should be harvested in one procedure. Using the FUT technique- a 3,500 hair graft procedure will require an incision greater than 20cm on the back of the scalp consequently excellent scalp elasticity is needed otherwise this could significantly increase the risk of a widened scar. A wide donor scar can potentially create a cosmetic problem and can limit the amount of hair that can be obtained if a future hair transplant procedure is needed.
Another word of caution, in FUT (Follicular Hair Transplantation), microscopic dissection is used to dissect naturally occurring 1-4 hair follicular units from the donor area. If these units are kept intact during dissection, growth will be maximized, and a hair transplant patient will get the greatest possible fullness and density. However, if dissection is poor and some of the hair in the follicles are destroyed, the results will be less than ideal.
To avoid such problems, men and woman in need of a larger hair transplant should take caution when choosing the right surgeon and should only be reserved for the most experienced surgical teams. As you see in the photo above, this is a great example of a physician at an outside clinic who overharvested the donor area while using a much larger punch size than needed.
Because these factors are ‘deep-rooted’ in all hair transplant procedures, it is important that the surgeon focuses on maximizing hair growth, rather than seeking some arbitrarily high target number of grafts.
“What is ultimately critical for the patient is not how many grafts were transplanted, but how many actually grow. My results speak for themselves.” Said Yazdan.
This blog was written as a result of a patient being told that he was receiving a 7,000 graft transplant. See link below.
For questions or to schedule a consultation, call one of our offices conveniently located in Irvine, Newport Beach, Beverly Hills and Las Vegas at 888-717-5273 or contact via our website at contact Modena Hair Link