Do you have a receding hairline? Or do you have a balding area that takes a large area on your scalp?
These two problems are the most common ones and most of the time it is expected that a hair transplant can cover all the parts without hair. It is quite natural as everyone wants to have the look of their younger selves. So, no bald point is desired by the patients.
Let us tell you the very first rule for hair transplant: In the word “transplant” you can see the prefix “trans” which means transfer. So, hair transplant is actually a hair transfer. As you all know, you cannot transfer something not existing and also if you transfer something, you move it to another place and it does not stay in its previous place.
You can think of each follicle as a football player in the transfer season! (But you can transfer a hair follicle only once.)
This principle briefly says that the hair follicles are only changing places. The surgeon cannot create any new hair out of nowhere. Hair cloning is also not possible yet. So, the surgeon takes the hair follicles from your donor area and transfer them to the recipient area.
DHT: The Reason Behind Hair Loss
We should be really thankful for the donor area as it is completely resistant to Dihydrotestosterone, shortly DHT. DHT is a male hormone and male pattern hair loss happens because of DHT. Each second lots of biochemical reactions happen in our bodies and DHT is a product of these reactions.
As it can be figured out by the name, Dihydrotestosterone contains the famous hormone testosterone. Testosterone is converted into DHT by the help of certain enzymes that get into a chemical reaction with testosterone. So, it can be said that dihydrotestosterone is a byproduct of testosterone.
The hair follicles on the donor area are not affected by DHT, that’s why they are %100 resistant to hair loss. This immunity is what makes hair transplant possible. The DHT-free follicles are extracted by the surgeon and implanted to the receding or balding parts of the scalp.
The donor area is located at the back of your scalp and between the two ears. Just image the area and you will see that it covers the 1/3 of the scalp more or less. With the available hair grafts at the donor area, we have to set up a balance. A balance can make the donor area seem natural as if there are no grafts collected from there. And a balance will cover the balding and receding parts in an aesthetic way with the extracted grafts. So, knowing that hair transplant is a hair transfer from one part to the other, also consider that when you take a hair follicle from the donor area, it won’t be there anymore.
Let’s Dive into the Donor Area
The average density of the donor area is about 90 to 120 grafts per cm² and in each graft, there are 1 to 5 strands of hair. So, we can say that per each cm² there are approximately 250 hairs. However, we can only extract one-third of the donor area without harming it. If more is taken then the donor area will look receding and balding which is not preferable at all.
Though it varies from person to person, the donor area takes around 200 cm² on the whole scalp. As there are 100 grafts per cm² in this area, we can say that there are 20.000 grafts (200*100) in total on the donor area. However, as you have seen that it is not possible to use them all but only the one-third of it, so eventually you will have 6.600 grafts suitable for hair transplant without any harm to the donor area.
So, if someone has no hair on the top, middle and front of the scalp but only on the donor area, the donor area containing approximately 6.600 grafts would not be enough to cover the rest of the scalp.
Fortunately, hair loss is mostly experienced partially as it is also stated in the Norwood Hamilton Scale. The last stage of the scale is Norwood 7 and it is the condition mentioned above. Luckily, having a totally bald scalp (Norwood 7) is a rarity.
The Artistic Nature of Hair Transplant
Hair transplant is a matter of balanced design in which the experience and talent of the surgeon show itself. The surgeon should come up with a unique design for each patient that will cover the balding part but also preserve the donor area. The type of hair loss, potential hair loss in future, age and ethnicity are a few of the many factors that should be taken into account. Considering all these the surgeon should carefully calculate the number of grafts to be extracted and implanted in balance. If not, the result may look unnatural.
Unfortunately, many of the information above is not given to patients by clinics. You may have seen promises like “maximum number of grafts up to 7000-8000” or “full coverage regardless of your balding type” as deceptive baits. If these promises were made true, then the results would be a pure disaster with empty patches on the donor area and unnatural volume on the recipient area.
As MCAN Health, we always suggest our patients the most realistic treatment plan with the most efficient and natural results. Working with the best talented and experienced hair transplant medical team, we focus on the individual design for each patient to have the best of the donor area. Although our treatment covers the maximum number of grafts, we plan reasonable numbers considering the number of sessions required and the condition of the donor area. If you are looking for a good treatment, we advise you to do an extensive research first.