What is Hair Graft?

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Kuddusi Onay

A hair graft is a small piece of tissue containing hair follicles that are extracted from a donor area of the scalp and transplanted to a balding or thinning area.

Each graft can contain one to four hair follicles, and the technique used for extraction can vary depending on the method of hair transplantation chosen.

Types of Hair Grafts

Hair grafts are categorized primarily by the number of follicles they contain:

  • Single Hair Grafts: Used for a natural-looking hairline by transplanting individual hairs.
  • Micrografts: Contain two to three hair follicles.
  • Minigrafts: Usually contain four hair follicles and are used to add density behind a hairline. Understanding the types and uses of different grafts helps in achieving the most natural appearance.

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The Hair Transplant Process: Utilizing Hair Grafts

The hair transplant process involves several steps:

  • Consultation: Determining the patient’s needs and the viability of their donor hair.
  • Extraction: Removing follicular units from the donor area.
  • Preparation: The extracted units are prepared under a microscope.
  • Implantation: The grafts are implanted into the target area. The success of the transplant largely depends on the skill of the surgeon and the quality of the donor hair.

Determining the Number of Grafts Needed for Surgery

The number of grafts required varies based on the patient’s hair loss extent, desired density, and the characteristics of the donor hair. A typical session might involve anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 grafts. Advanced planning ensures optimal coverage and aesthetic outcomes.

Post-Surgical Care and Maintenance of Hair Grafts

Post-operative care is crucial for the success of hair grafts. This includes gentle washing, avoiding strenuous activities, and possibly taking medications to prevent infection and swelling. Proper care ensures the best possible environment for hair growth and graft survival.

Common Myths and Misconceptions About Hair Grafts

There are many myths surrounding hair transplantation, such as it being suitable only for men, or that it guarantees a full recovery of lost hair. Dispelling these myths is important for setting realistic expectations and understanding the capabilities and limitations of hair transplantation.

After a hair transplant, it generally takes about three to four months for the transplanted hair grafts to start growing. Full growth and the final results of the transplant can be observed within 12 to 18 months. It’s important to note that the transplanted hair may fall out initially—this is a normal part of the process, and the hair will regrow from the newly established roots.

Hair grafts are typically considered permanent. The hair follicles that are transplanted from the donor area are genetically resistant to balding, which is why they continue to grow after transplantation. However, the longevity of the results can be influenced by factors such as genetic predispositions, age, and overall health.

Most adults who have stable hair loss and sufficient donor hair are candidates for hair graft transplantation. However, individuals with certain health conditions, insufficient donor hair, or non-pattern hair loss might not be suitable candidates. A consultation with a hair restoration specialist is essential to determine eligibility.

While hair grafting is generally safe, like any surgical procedure, it carries some risks. These may include infection, bleeding, scarring, and an unnatural-looking hairline if not done properly. Choosing an experienced surgeon and following all post-operative care instructions can help minimize these risks.

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