Today we are going to talk about Grafts. One of the biggest causes of confusion in the hair transplant world and something every patient should understand if you want to know what you are getting for your money. For example, if clinic A and clinic B both tell you that they are going to give you 2,000 grafts for a different price, should you just choose the cheaper price? You may be surprised to know that 2,000 grafts at clinic A, could be twice the amount of hair as 2,000 grafts at clinic B!
First, let’s begin with the definition of a graft. A graft is merely a term used in medicine to describe a piece of living tissue that is removed from the body. Grafts are then placed in another part of the body. For example, during breast reconstruction, fat grafts are taken from the body and used to hide the effects of breast cancer. When someone has a burn on their leg, a surgeon may take 1 graft of tissue from the other leg and use it to repair the burn. In hair transplantation, a graft simply means a piece of tissue extracted from the back of the scalp. It does not denote the number of hairs in the graft or even if the graft contains hairs at all. It is very common in procedures performed by robots for example, that many of the grafts extracted do not contain any hairs at all.
Types of Hair Grafts
Take a look at the photo below provided by one of our generous patients during his hair transplant surgery.
Notice a difference between graft #1 and graft #5 for example? Graft #1 has a single root, spawning a single hair. Graft #5 has 8 roots, spawning 8 hairs. If we transplant 1,000 grafts like the first, you get 1,000 hairs. If we transplant 1,000 grafts like the 5th, you get 8,000 hairs, a whopping difference.
What if I told you that it takes 5 times longer to extract graft #5 than it does to extract graft #1, or that it takes significantly more surgical skill to extract graft #5 without damaging any of the roots. For this reason, 90% of clinics will only extract 1 and 2 haired grafts (especially if they charge per graft). So if you pay for 2,000 grafts, you will likely end up with anywhere between 2,000 to 4,000 hairs.
Now, we are not saying that we only extract grafts with 8 hairs, in fact, most patients have very few follicles with this many hairs in them. Most have follicles that range from 1 to 5 hairs, with an average of 3 hairs per follicle. At our clinic, we begin by extracting the follicles with multiple hairs and slowly work our way down to the ones and twos. This is what allows us to give patients anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 hairs during a 2,000 graft hair transplant. It’s good to get some of those single haired grafts because they are used to make a more natural hairline.
The point of this article is to educate you, the patient, on what grafts really mean and how they can be used to lure you by some clinics. Many clinics will offer more grafts for the same price as a competitor but in reality, they will merely take smaller grafts and end up giving you fewer hairs. At Venus Hair Restoration, we do things very differently. We do not charge per graft, but rather we focus on getting as many hairs as possible. Because we focus on extracting larger grafts our procedures are often more lengthy than other clinics, for example, a 2,000 graft procedure can take anywhere from 8 to 10 hours to complete. But, at the end of the day, our results speak for themselves and we will spend as many hours as we need, to provide you with a lifetime of results.