Donor Area - Will it grow back as thick?

I am scheduled for FUE (Neograft) soon and am wondering if the donor area will grow back as thick as it is now. The donor area will be in the back of my head and the transplant area will be on the top of my head near my forehead.

Doctor Answers 23

Donor & Transplant Regrowth

Unlike the transplant area, the donor area has hair follicles that will naturally continue to grow. Keep in mind that the grafted hair will stay in place for about two to three weeks before shedding. After shedding, the new growth will begin in 3-4 months and your hair will continue to grow normally.

I suggest you consult a board certified facial plastic surgeon because the board certified credential ensures you receive the highest quality knowledge, treatment, care and skill available. A consultation provides you the opportunity to relay your concerns and desired outcome to the surgeon while the surgeon can assess your health profile and discuss his/her pertinent advice.


Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Will my donor area grow back as thick following an FUE procedure?

Dear C_list,

It looks like whomever counselled you for your FUE procedure using the NeoGraft tool did not do a great job. By the very nature of an FUE procedure, the donor area will never grow back as dense as it once was. The NeoGraft tool is simply that: a tool that is used to perform a type of hair restoration surgery called Follicular Unit Extraction, or FUE. With an FUE procedure, the follicle is removed from the donor area. This follicle will continue to grow in the recipient area as if it’s still in the donor area, and that’s why hair restoration works. But note that the follicle is now in the recipient area, not the donor area, so the density of donor area follicles will decrease with any FUE procedure, and never return to the level of density you had prior to an FUE procedure. That being said, to casual observers in social situations the donor area will appear to have normal density, but under very close scrutiny (eg: getting out magnification loupes and bright lights) the density in the donor area will always be less after an FUE procedure, regardless of which brand of tool was used to perform the surgery.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Ken Anderson, MD
Atlanta Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Will it grow back as thick?

The donor area will be thinned out because those grafts are transplanted to the recipient area. But as long as the surgeon who is performing the procedure knows how to properly extract there should not be a noticeable difference. The Art in NeoGraft is to achieve this outcome.

Good luck.

Donor area

The donor area is obviously thinned out some, but not to the point of noticing any difference. I personally have had a Neograft FUE transplant, and can't even feel a difference. It is thought that over 50% of hair follicles need to be missing from an area to start to look like it is thinning. Density is usually very good on the back and is why FUE is a viable option. Of course, the expertise of staff involved in the procedure, knowing what kind of spacing between extractions is necessary is critical. So make sure you are going to an experienced facility and staff.

Gregory Chambon, MD
Overland Park Family Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Donor hair regrowth

The short and sweet of it is No, but who will notice. In most cases the donor site is used because it has enough density to support a loss of 2000 follicles (give or take). Obviously the donor site can't actually grow in as thick as it once was because we have borrowed from Peter to pay Paul, and moved these follicles to the transplant area. That's why these are your babies and making sure that you get a good result is very important because you cant as they say go to the well too often. I hope this helps

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

Donor Area - Will it grow back as thick?

Will the donor site grow back as thick after a hair transplant? Excellent question. Actually, it doesn't grow as thick in the literal sense. However, you have to lose about 50% of your hair for you to visually notice a difference. Hair transplants are basically taking hair from an area with excess hair and transferring it to an area with the least hair.

One of the skills that comes from experience in this field is to know how many grafts you can take without seeing a difference in the hair density of the donor site. There are many other skills that are important such as designing a hairline that is completely natural and angling the hair in the natural direction for the area being grafted.

The entire goal is to keep the resulting hair transplant natural and imperceptible for both the donor and recipient sites.

Donor area regrowth

The donor area can never be exactly the same as before because some of the hair follicles have been moved to the recipient area.  Neograft is done in such a way that the percentage of grafts taken from the total hair available in the donor area will not show a discernible change to the eye.  On average, approximately 15% of the hair is taken for the recipient site.  That amount is not enough for the area to appear thin or diminished.

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 137 reviews

Donor area not as thick but a worthwhile tradeoff

The donor area from an FUE procedure is usually about 25% less thick. However, this is easily tolerated and disguised and well worth having thicker hair where it is more critical.

Hair Thickness from Donor Site

The hair in the back of the head is more resistant to the testosterone influx that often causes hair from the crown of the head to fall out for many men (and women), leading to what is typically known as male-pattern baldness.  As the donor site hair is less likely to fall out, it is very often used for hair transplantation.  That being said, it is not unreasonable to expect that the donor site will maintain its visual thickness that you are accustomed to.  If too much hair is taken from the donor site, particularly follicular units too close together, or too many at one extraction appointment, than the hair in the back of the head may not continue to appear as thick.  However, the most that is taken from one treatment is usually several hundred to approximately 2,000 follicular units, and this will maintain the appearance of thick hair in the back of the head. 

Donor Area.... Does it grow back after hair restoration surgery?

With hair restoration surgery you are basically borrowing from one area to give to another. You take from the donor site and give to the recipient site. So, no, the hair in the donor site will not grow back as thick as it was before surgery. But it is a balancing act. We take from one area enough to give a good improvement in the recipient area (i.e. front of your scalp usually) but not so much that we hurt the density in the donor area (i.e. back of your scalp). 

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 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.