Once deciding to pursue hair transplantation, there is a series of questions that naturally follows suit. Which technique is best for me? Which surgeon should I trust? What is the cost? How many hairs will I need to fill my balding area? The first of three of these questions all rely, in some way, on the last: the number of hair grafts.
The amount of grafts will denote which technique is used, due to the limitations of certain technologies. For instance, a severely bald individual in need of several thousand hair grafts is beyond the capabilities of strip surgery. A high number of grafts narrows down the choice of surgeons on the same principle; only an advanced FUE surgeon will be capable of transplanting many thousand grafts. And of course, the number of hair grafts also affects transplant cost-the more needed, the higher the price.
How to Calculate the Number of Grafts
A prospective patient must solve this important query in order to gain an understanding of everything else. Typically, a rough approximation can be obtained by simply adding 1,000 grafts per Norwood level. However, this will only be a ballpark figure. A more exact estimate takes key, individualized elements into account, such as:
- personal goals
- hair shaft diameter
- hair color and texture
- the size and shape of the scalp
The best way to get an accurate number is to consult a hair transplant surgeon. If you’re not yet ready for a consultation, there is another way to measure on your own, recommended in various hair transplant surgery textbooks. First of all, standard coverage for an NW 7 level of hair loss is around 200 square centimeters. Using the 1,000 grafts per Norwood level estimation, this comes to 35 grafts per square centimeter. Here’s how to get the textbook hair graft count, based on the previous information:
- Step one: Copy a sheet of square-centimeter graph paper onto a transparent sheet (such as the kind used for overheard projectors).
- Step two: Have a friend or family member place the plastic sheet on top of your head and trace the balding site with wax pencil.
- Step three: Count the number of squares inside the drawn outline and multiply by 35.
Some men with a NW 6 or 7 will have the standard 200 sq. cm. of hair loss. Some will have up to 300, and some will have fewer, like 170. Even after you have used this method and feel you have a good idea of how many hair grafts you need, it remains best to get a consultation from an experienced surgeon.