Those thinking of a hair transplant most probably first consider the hair growth, the “result”. Hair has to come from somewhere to get to this result. This is the donor area. What’s the importance of the hair transplant donor area to the quality of a hair transplant? Can any hair loss pattern be successfully treated? Do the hair characteristics make any difference to the result achieved?
The Hair and Scalp Examination
For the Doctor, the importance of the donor area is often the initial examination. They need to examine the hair and skin qualities to determine how much hair can safely be used. Today, and long-term, if and when the hair loss pattern progresses, some aspects may be specific to either the FUT or FUE hair transplant techniques. But in general, the donor area characteristics will tell the Doctor if the individual is a good hair transplant candidate.
Donor hair density calculation per cm2
Donor Surface Area measurement
The average number of hairs per Follicular Unit (FU)
Donor hair density
The donor hair density will determine your suitability for a hair transplant. It is measured by the number of natural follicular units per cm2. Density can vary from genre and hair characteristics. There must be a minimum density value to make a hair transplant viable. Especially as the donor hair is a finite resource. It will run out. Donor hair density can start as low as 50 FU cm2 to over 100 cm2, with an average donor density around 75 FUcm2. The sides commonly will have a slightly lower density of hair compared to the back or occipital area.
Donor Surface Area measurement
The surface of the donor safe zone will vary dependent on the technique, FUT or FUE. Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) removes a thin strip around the occipital bone at the back of the head and around the sides. The length and width of the strip are dependent on the required number of grafts and the laxity of the skin. The strip is well within the DHT immune hair zone area.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) has a much wider zone to harvest FU from. Although this does not mean the number of FU that can be safely removed is more than FUT, there is no specified safe-zone for healthy hair units. It depends on the genetics of the hair follicles. Age, hair loss pattern, family hair loss all needs to be considered. The donor zone will measure from one ear to the other, regardless of the graft numbers. This helps to minimise any changes to the hair density around the back and sides, and it also spreads the scarring to minimise the visibility.
The hair characteristics directly impact the look of the hair transplant result. Hair characteristics can range from hair colour, calibre, the diameter of the hair, whether it is fine or thick, curly or straight, as well as the high or low contrast between the hair and skin complexion. These aspects will affect the planning of your hair transplant procedure.
The better your hair characteristics the better hair transplant candidate you make. Treating advanced hair loss patterns is easier to plan for. Ideal hair characteristics include a thick hair shaft, curly or wavy hair. A lax scalp and low contrast between your skin colour and your hair colour.
The average number of hairs per Follicular Unit
Hair numbers are not the same as graft numbers. Or, they should not be anyway. A graft should be a follicular unit. A follicular unit contains one to four hairs per unit. The number of hairs per FU is important in determining whether a person is a good or bad hair transplant candidate. If the average number of hairs per unit is low then there may not be enough hairs to treat higher thinning patterns. Even smaller patterns of loss may suffer as the natural groupings cannot be placed in a design pattern to give enough density to appear natural.
A hair transplant made up of all single hair grafts will never look natural. The same applies to a hairline made up of two or more hair units. This will result in a pluggy, unnatural pattern of hair growth. On an average size hair transplant, the graft to hair ratio should calculate to around 2.2 hairs per graft. This may differ if only a small number of grafts are required and mainly single hairs are used, but, on average this ratio is correct.
Scalp laxity will be a crucial factor when determining the width of the strip in FUT procedures. Too tight and it will require a narrower strip being removed and as a result, reduce the graft numbers harvested. But it will ensure a neater closure with less room for any stretch back.
With FUE, laxity can affect the extraction process from the scalp and more so with Body Hair FUE. Some areas of the body will be flabbier making it harder to keep enough purchase on the skin ensuring a safely removed graft without high transection or excessive scarring. Skin laxity will change from person to person. It is important the doctor “measures” the area to help in the calculation of grafts numbers and healing potential.
Free, No-obligation Consultation
The next step is having answers to your questions. At HRE an online consultation is free and confidential and without obligation making it easy for you to get the answers you need.
Your personal assessment is designed to answer your questions. Are you a good hair transplant candidate. What is your hair loss stage? Are your goals and expectations realistic? How many grafts, which technique and the cost.
For an online consultation and request a quote use the consultation form and complete the details. Alternatively, request more information on a hair restoration treatment by sending your contact details to us.