The Hair Graft… What Happens When…

  • Thomas
  • Apr 11, 2019

Hair Graft. The topic of this blog is: “The Hair Graft… What Happens When…” But First I need to explain a concept…

The Graft is sometimes confusing because it i synonymous with follicular Unit. So let us straighten this concept out now.

A GRAFT is the same thing as  FOLLICULAR UNIT. 


Both the GRAFT and the FOLLICULAR UNIT can contain 1, 2, 3, 4, or even 5 follicles in a bundle. This is important because a hair transplant quote for the number grafts you need, means you will get at least double that number in hair follicles. Most people walk away from our clinic having 2.9 follicles per graft on AVERAGE. That is just a tick under 3 hair follicles per graft/Follicular unit. This also means there were many 3 and 4 hair grafts. 

The reason why I bring this up is because there are people out there that advertise something alone the lines of:  Come get 1000 grafts for $1 per graft. Well… Yes that is a cheap price but you will get only 1000 hairs not grafts. Our grafts and most of the leaders of this industry who offer 1000 grafts will get in fact well over 2500-3000+ hairs depending on the individual’s characteristics.

 Look at this picture of a normal scalp and its many follicular units or grafts.  As you can see, the hairs on the scalp are bundled in these nice groups.  Also you can see in this sample that there might not be many 1 haired grafts on a given scalp. In this sample and in my opinion, this 1 haired graft to me looks like it is miniaturized (undergoing a shrinking from male pattern baldness or just in its normal cycle going into a resting phase.) 

Most scalp follicles on HUMANS stay in a growing phase and not in resting phase. Some of these follicles will stay in the growing phase throughout your lifetime.  In fact only 15-20% of hair follicles go into a resting phase and then come back to a growing phase quickly. Body hairs on the other have erratic short phases of growth and resting. But what is interesting to me is that the human losses 80-100 hairs daily as they go into resting phase. It is normal to see this many hairs fall daily.

So lets switch gears here… Recently we had a patient who had a large FUE transplant. I told him that it would be great to show people different attributes about live hair follicles but I never get to use fresh follicles. He donated 10 grafts for the interest of hair science so I was really thrilled. Here is my experimentation:

 Past blogs I have explained the importance of making sure every graft remains hydrated with saline and exposure to air being detrimental. Why? Because if a graft is exposed to air too long it will sustain desiccation… AKA DEATH. But what does that look like? I am glad you asked. Lets take a look at what happens to grafts exposed to air too long. Heck lets bathe grafts in plain water. Or desiccate a graft with an adulterant such as salt.  These all create different changes in the cellular structure of the hair follicle. 

I took many pictures of the grafts to show these changes and also exposed the pictures to filters to enhance the follicular features.

Let’s quickly review the anatomy of a graft/follicular unit.

Ok, Now let’s look at our grafts for this learning session. Below are vry health grafts. As you can see these hgrafts are of a blond and dark color also known as salt and pepper look. I apologize for the clarity not great.

Here is what happens when you leave them out in air:



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