Shouldn't a hair transplant surgeon have a rough estimate of how many grafts you will need for adequate coverage?

I have had three hair transplants, totaling 5,300 grafts, added to the top of my head, front to back. The most recent was 9 months ago, when I received 2,300 grafts. The consultant in the transplant office told me I just need another coat of paint, and that 2,000 grafts, would do the trick. My surgeon, however, has never given me any number, or any game plan, regarding the amount of hair, or the number of transplants I would require. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 6

Proper surgical plan

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Before carrying out the procedure, during an in-person consultation I always provide our patients with a precise surgical plan along with an accurate estimate of the number of grafts necessary considering their calculated density, hair caliber, coverage value, number of hairs per follicle. Thus, this should not be considered as normal and I advise you to talk with your surgeon. 

Istanbul Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

You've been sold a surgery by a salesman rather than a doctor. This should NOT be normal but it happens often.

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You've been sold a surgery by a salesman rather than a doctor.  This should NOT be normal but it happens often.  It is unfortunate. 

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Hair restoration plan

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I would ask to speak with your surgeon to come up with an exact plan.  It is necessary because you don't have an endless amount of donor region and every graft used counts.   

To figure out number of grafts needed for a procedure, it is very straight forward and does not require an "expert in the field". Basically use a ruler to measure the area of the region you want to cover.  Multiply that number by the density you are looking to obtain.  Most folks have a density in the range of 60-90 follicles/cm2.  

So your zone 1 is typically 32cm2.   At a density of 70 fu/cm2, you would need roughly 2100 grafts applied to the region to result in the density desired.  

Obviously for this equation to work, the clinic that you are working with must have a high yield rate.

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Use of consultants in the office of a hair transplant surgeon

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The Use of consultants in the office of a hair transplant surgeon is something I strongly disagree with. Only an experienced doctor can create a master plan for your entire hair loss restoration. I have written extensively on a concept of a Master Plan, see below many of these writings

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Treatment Plan

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I typically give my patients a treatment plan that involves a plan to stop hair loss as well as meet their goals both short term and long term.  With hair transplant, I always work to manage patients donor and expectations.  

Justin Misko, MD
Lincoln Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Hair transplant

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This is a common question- how many grafts are needed to get the result that I want? Typically this is discussed at the first consultation with a rough estimate of what may be required. This depends on the patient's goals, the amount of donor hair and what the surgeon feels is prudent and realistic.

Things do change with time. Some patients may loose more hair as things progress.This can definitely affect the expectations and possibilities and thus affect the game plan. 

I would recommend discussing with your hair transplant surgeon your long term goals, if they are realistic, and what it would take to get there. Best of luck!

Mark Hamilton, MD
Indianapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.