How Many Hair Grafts Do You Need For A FUE Hair Transplant?
Hair loss is a common concern that affects the psychosocial function and psychological well-being of both men and women across the world1.
However, thanks to recent medical advances, there are several procedures available to combat the impact of hair loss, helping restore hairlines and, with that, levels of self-confidence.
A Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) hair transplant is a key example of this. This minimally invasive technique involves extracting individual hair grafts from a donor area, before transplanting them into any areas of thinning or balding hair2.
But how many hair grafts are required to achieve the desired results?
To answer this question, it’s crucial to first understand what FUE hair transplants involve, by taking a more detailed look at the factors that can impact the calculation.
Diagram showing a singular hair graft being extracted and implanted during the FUE hair transplant procedure
Factors that affect hair graft calculation
When calculating the number of hair grafts required for a successful hair transplant, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, unfortunately.
Several factors can influence the overall look, feel and success of a hair transplant, and will need to be individually considered by a specialist before your procedure.
One of the key factors to consider when calculating the number of hair grafts required is the extent of hair loss and balding pattern.
These can vary drastically from individual to individual, with different balding patterns requiring varying numbers of hair grafts to resolve the issue.
Individuals with minor hair thinning will typically require much fewer grafts than those with advanced baldness or a condition like male pattern baldness, for instance.
Donor area availability
The size, health and availability of hair follicles in the donor area – usually located at either the back or sides of the head – can be a limiting factor for some patients. Patients with a larger donor area, for example, can typically extract more grafts and have more flexibility over what they can achieve from their FUE hair transplant.
The colour, thickness and texture of your hair can all impact the number of hair grafts required for a hair transplant. Having thicker or curlier hair is usually an advantage, providing better coverage but also requiring fewer grafts to achieve a denser look and feel.
The type of look a patient is trying to achieve could also affect the number of hair grafts required.
Patients trying to achieve a fuller head of hair, for example, will require more grafts than someone simply wanting to address specific areas of thinning, such as covering over a scar.
Therefore, adopting a more conservative, subtle approach when getting an FUE hair transplant will typically require fewer hair grafts than someone deciding to make a more dramatic transformation.
Calculating hair grafts for different areas
Different regions of the scalp require different numbers of hair grafts, depending on the type of look that’s trying to be achieved.
When calculating the number of hair grafts required, it’s important to consider the requirements and guidelines for each of these distinct regions.
To help with this, the Norwood Scale has been designed to analyse the extent of hair loss in patients.
Comprised of seven progressive stages, this scale assesses each patient’s current stage of hair loss, making it easier to make an accurate diagnosis and provide a rough estimate of how many hair grafts will be required.
The Norwood stage that a patient fits into will not only vary depending on where the main areas of hair loss are, but it will also influence the number of hair grafts required3:
- Hairline and temples – to create a more natural-looking hairline towards the front of the head, this will typically require anywhere between 500 and 1,800 hair grafts.
- Mid-scalp – moving further back, somewhere between 500 and 1,500 hair grafts will be needed to address hair loss within the middle of the head.
- Crown – also known as the vertex, restoring hair loss in this area towards the back of the head will usually involve between 1,000 and 2,500 hair grafts.
Generally speaking, achieving a sufficient level of density across the front, mid-scalp and crown regions of the head during an FUE hair transplant will require an average of 4,000 hair grafts.
|Norwood Scale||Operation Needed?||Location||Number Of Grafts|
|2||Yes||Temples||500 – 800|
|2a||Yes||Centre||500 – 800|
|3||Yes||Front and temples||1000 – 1,700|
|3a||Yes||Front and crown||Front: 1000 – 1,700 Crown: 500 – 1000|
|4||Yes||Front and crown||Front: 1,500 – 1,800 Crown: 800 – 1,100|
|4a||Yes||Front||1,700 – 2,500|
|5||Yes||Front and crown||Front: 1,800 – 2,200 Crown: 1000 – 1,500|
|5a||Yes||Front and crown||2,500 – 3,200|
|6+||Yes||Front and crown||Front: 1,800 – 2,500 Crown: 1,500 – 1,700|
Try our hair graft calculator
Here at The Treatment Rooms London, we understand how difficult it can be to determine the number of grafts required for an FUE hair transplant procedure.
That’s why we have created our hair graft calculator – an interactive solution that takes various factors into account, such as your age, gender, hair colour, hair type and hair loss area, to work out the number of grafts required from patient to patient.
Realistic expectations and desired result
Having a hair transplant can produce potentially life-changing results, with research showing that FUE hair transplants specifically can successfully correct conditions like alopecia and vitiligo, as well as issues like cleft lip scars, burns and surgical scars4.
However, it’s crucial for patients to maintain realistic expectations both going into it and afterwards as well, by bearing a few key points in mind:
- FUE hair transplants achieve natural-looking results – FUE transplants are not designed to give you a full head of hair like you had in your youth. They are there to provide patients with a more natural hairline that can improve their overall appearance and well-being.
- Initial consultations are vital – arranging a consultation with a hair transplant specialist is a crucial first step, providing you with an opportunity to calculate the number of grafts you need and set more realistic expectations about what can be achieved.
- Multiple sessions could be required – FUE transplants are not always a ‘one-and-done’ type of procedure. Depending on the extent of hair loss, achieving full coverage may require multiple sessions and might not provide immediate results.
- Correct maintenance is key – FUE transplants are not designed to stop the progression of hair loss. Therefore, you may need to consider using other non-surgical hair loss treatments, like finasteride or minoxidil, to maintain results over the long term.
- Patience is crucial – the results of an FUE transplant take time and vary from person to person. It can take several months to see the full results, so it’s important to keep patient, utilise your surgeon’s advice and stick to their recommended maintenance plan.
FAQs on hair graft calculations
Here at The Treatment Rooms London, our patients ask us many questions about what’s involved during the FUE hair transplant procedure, especially about the number of hair grafts they are likely to need.
Here are some of the most common questions we get asked.
What is the best way to work out the number of grafts required for an FUE transplant?
Calculating the correct number of grafts required for an FUE hair transplant will vary depending on several factors, including the total area that needs to be covered, the desired hair density and the patient’s specific hair characteristics.
While tools like our hair graft calculator can estimate how many grafts you’ll need, each patient is different. Therefore, arranging a consultation with a hair transplant specialist is the best way to find out how many hair grafts you will need to achieve your specific aims.
What factors can affect the accuracy of my hair graft calculation?
Providing an accurate estimate of the number of hair grafts you need will depend on certain characteristics of your hair, such as its thickness, texture and colour5.
It will also depend on the skill and knowledge level of your surgeon, as well as the overall size and quality of the donor area you have available to use.
Can I achieve the same density as my original hair with an FUE hair transplant?
Achieving the same density as your original hair with an FUE hair transplant can be challenging, as it depends on factors like the availability of donor hair and the extent of baldness.
While an FUE hair transplant can provide excellent results, it often doesn’ts replicate the exact density of your original hair. Therefore, it’s important to discuss with your hair transplant specialist about what can and can’t be achieved.
How important is the condition of the donor area in calculating the number of hair grafts required?
The health and condition of the donor area condition are critical during graft calculation since they can impact the number of hair follicles available for transplantation.
Put simply, having a healthy donor area with an adequate follicle supply is essential for achieving a successful and natural-looking result from an FUE hair transplant.
Are graft calculations different for men and women?
The number of hair grafts required can differ between men and women due to subtle variations in hair loss patterns and donor areas.
Men typically experience male pattern baldness, for example, which will often require more grafts, whereas women may have different hair loss patterns that will require more specific types of hair graft calculations.
Are there any risks associated with overestimating or underestimating grafts?
Yes, there are several risks associated with both overestimating and underestimating the number of hair grafts required for an FUE hair transplant.
Overestimating can lead to donor depletion, excessive scarring and an unnatural appearance, while underestimating can result in inadequate coverage and lower hair density, which can then impact the overall results6.
This therefore highlights why consulting a hair transplant specialist is so important.
Are there any online tools that can help calculate the number of grafts I need?
Yes, our interactive hair graft calculator has been created for this exact reason. By taking into account your age, gender, hair colour, hair type and hair loss area, we can then work out the number of grafts you will need.
Book a consultation for an accurate graft calculation
Determining the number of hair grafts needed for an FUE hair transplant is a complicated process that will require carefully considering several factors.
While it may be only natural to want to restore your hairline back to its best, it’s equally important to have realistic expectations and understand that achieving a natural appearance is the primary aim of an FUE hair transplant.
Here at The Treatment Rooms London, we have helped numerous patients achieve successful outcomes and restore their hairline.
Our team of specialists can assess your individual needs, discuss your goals, and provide you with a personalised graft calculation and treatment plan tailored to your exact needs. Simply get in touch with us today to get started.
- Collins, K. & Avram, M. (2021). Hair Transplantation and Follicular Unit Extraction. Dermatol Clin. 39(3): 463 – 478. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0733863521000231?via%3Dihub
- Dua, A. & Dua, K. (2010). Follicular Unit Extraction Hair Transplant. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 3(2): 76 – 81. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2956961/
- Chouhan, K., Roga, G., Kumar, A. & Gupta, J. (2019) Approach to Hair Transplantation in Advanced Grade Baldness by Follicular Unit Extraction: A Retrospective Analysis of 820 Cases. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 12(4): 215 – 222. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6967160/
- Sharma, R. & Ranjan, A. (2019). Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) Hair Transplant: Curves Ahead. J Maxillofac Oral Surg. 18(4): 509 – 517. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31624428/
- Zito, P. & Raggio, B. Hair Transplantation [Updated 2023 Feb 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547740/
- Kerure, A. & Patwardhan, N. (2018) Complications in Hair Transplantation. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 11(4): 182 – 189. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371733/
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