An 8000-graft hair transplant is a very difficult and long procedure to perform. Hair transplant surgery using this many hair grafts is extremely rare. Many clinics are not equipped to be able to perform an 8000-graft transplant.
The Norwood Scale helps to classify the stages of male pattern baldness on a scale of 1 to 7. Most males who require 8,000 hair grafts are at Norwood stage 7.
Stage 7 baldness is the most advanced stage of balding, affecting the sides as well as the front and top of the head. Normally, there is only a band of hair remaining around the sides and back of the scalp.
In female pattern hair loss, the Ludwig Scale is used, with stage 3 being the most severe stage.
With stage 7 male pattern baldness, it is unlikely that a fuller hair transplant can be achieved. This is simply due to the limited number of hair grafts remaining in potential donor sites on the scalp.
To cover all of the balding scalp areas marked above would mean a potential 8,000 grafts would be needed. Having enough grafts to ensure good coverage is often the issue. For this reason, hair transplants above 4,000 grafts are rare. What is more, transplants requiring large numbers of grafts would need to be broken up into multiple sittings for safety reasons and to minimise bleeding. According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons, only 1% of first hair transplant surgeries require a 4000-graft hair transplant or more.
Here is an example of a Wimpole Clinic patient requiring a 6,200 graft hair transplant. The patient required three sittings. The first stage required 2,000 grafts, the second stage 1,500 grafts, and the third stage 2,500 grafts.
Most people cannot achieve an 8000-graft transplant due to the limitations in the number of harvestable follicles in the donor site. It is not possible to cover a Stage 7 scalp with only an occipital donor site.
Mathematically speaking, a donor area only has around 6,000 follicular units that can be harvested safely. As is clear, the numbers do not add up and in most people, therefore, an 8000-graft hair transplant is not possible. A good hair transplant clinic will ensure that they do not overharvest hair follicles. Extracting too many follicles can lead to patchy growth on donor sites as well as unnecessary scarring and can lead to permanent damage to the area.
Recent advancements in FUE techniques mean there is now the possibility of extracting hairs from the body and beard to create a greater number of grafts. Whilst many would presume that using such hairs would mean the original characteristics and texture of the hairs would remain, recent research has shown that the recipient site affects some characteristics of transplanted hairs including their growth and survival rates. Bearing this in mind, it may be possible to achieve a higher number of grafts.
Whilst there has been some success in transplanting a high number of grafts in a single FUE megasession, FUT (sometimes called FUSS or strip surgery) is recommended when a significant volume of grafts is needed. FUE is a much more lengthy and arduous process for both the patient and the surgeon to endure. Due to its length, the hair follicles are more likely to become unstable and/or perish during the process. As a result, more than one procedure may be required to achieve the desired result.
FUT is more common with high-volume transplants. Not only is it quicker, but the hair grafts are much more likely to survive. What is more, a FUT does not change the density of the donor site so it means that it is more amenable for a future harvest.
In the UK, the average cost per hair graft is £3.25. This means that an 8000-graft transplant could cost in the region of £26,000. Given the rarity of hair transplants with so many grafts, booking a free consultation with the surgical team is the best starting point to determine just how many grafts your need and whether you are a good candidate.
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