A hair transplant is one of the best ways to improve the thickness and density of your hair. In fact, thinning hair is one of the most common reasons for getting a hair transplant. Thin or patchy growth can make you feel self-conscious about your hair, which is why many people turn to hair transplants to improve their hair density.
The average person can lose up to half their hair before it becomes noticeably thin . But a 50% decrease in hair density sounds like a substantial amount of hair loss. So how much can a hair transplant improve your hair density?
In this article, you’ll learn:
- whether a hair transplant can increase hair density
- what to do if you don’t see an increase in hair density after a hair transplant
- how to boost hair density following FUT or FUE surgery.
Low density vs high density hair
Normal hair density is approximately 100 follicular units per cm², although this varies between people of different ethnicities [2-3]. White people typically have a higher hair density than people of Black or Latino descent. Age is also a major factor in hair density; as we get older, our hair becomes thinner, even in the absence of male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss .
These differences can impact your hair transplant procedure. People with fine hair, or lower hair density, must have more follicular units extracted to achieve the same result as someone with thicker, higher density hair .
Can a hair transplant increase hair density?
Hair transplants can successfully increase hair density. In fact, you only need to create 50% hair density to create the illusion of thick, full hair . Steve Carell’s rumoured FUE procedure is a great example of a hair transplant increasing hair density. Post-transplant hair density of around 35-40 follicular units per cm² is often enough to achieve this [1, 5].
In one study of multiple hair transplant patients, surgeons achieved a mean density of 50 grafts per cm² with FUE transplantation and 75 grafts per cm² with direct hair implantation. The photos below show results of 2 patients in this study before surgery, immediately after surgery, and 1 year after their DHI transplant .
Some people also choose to get a hair transplant for a fuller buzzcut. While this is an option — particularly for people who might want to grow their hair out again in the future — scalp micropigmentation may be a more cost-effective way to achieve similar results.
What is a high density hair transplant?
In recent years, researchers have experimented with packing more grafts into a smaller area to improve the final results. This is known as a high density hair transplant.
High density hair transplants can have excellent results. One study found that densely packed grafts survived and grew at a higher rate than less densely packed grafts . But you’ll need a highly skilled surgeon to pull this off. Poor surgical technique is a key reason for low graft survival rates, so it’s better to find the best hair transplant surgeon who can provide excellent hair transplant success rates than to seek a high density hair transplant.
Can you get a second hair transplant to improve hair density?
32% of hair transplant patients have more than one hair transplant to get the results they want . Even celebrities like Wayne Rooney and Elon Musk have had multiple hair transplants to improve the fullness of their hair. (See more in our gallery of celebrity hair transplants before and after.)
But you need enough hair in your donor area to have more than one hair transplant. If a previous surgeon has overharvested your hair follicles, you might not be eligible for another hair transplant. Patients must usually have at least 40 follicular units per cm² in their donor area in order to have a hair transplant . Patients with higher donor hair density can have 3, 4, or even 5 hair transplants if needed.
No density after a hair transplant: what went wrong?
If you don’t see an improvement in hair density 5 or 6 months after your hair transplant, many factors could be to blame. First, you may need to wait a little while longer to see results. According to the hair transplant growth chart, final results start to be seen around 4-6 months after surgery, but it may be 12-18 months before your final density is visible.
If there’s still no improvement in hair density, it may be down to:
- Unrealistic expectations — if your surgeon has overpromised your results, you may be disappointed with your final hair density. Choose a reputable surgeon to design an appropriate, realistic hairline
- Poor surgical technique — an unskilled or inexperienced surgeon may impact the success of your hair transplant, leading to low graft survival rates
- Poor aftercare — if you don’t follow your surgeon’s aftercare advice, it may lead to a failed hair transplant
- Incorrect or inappropriate technique — your unique circumstances may make you better suited for certain techniques. For example, FUT is usually more successful than FUE in patients of African descent, while attempting to pack too many grafts into a hair transplant on scar tissue is unlikely to succeed
- Hair transplant side effects — complications like hair transplant infection and necrosis can cause your hair transplant to fail.
Choosing a skilled surgeon at a reputable clinic is the first step to getting a successful hair transplant. But what else can you do to get great hair density after a hair transplant?
How to increase hair density after a hair transplant
- Use products like Minoxidil and/or Finasteride — these are essential for preventing thinning in future
- Follow your surgeon’s aftercare advice — take some downtime after your hair transplant to ensure your post-hair transplant recovery period goes smoothly
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy — PRP therapy has shown promising results for maximising hair density after a transplant 
- Practise good haircare — avoid heat styling, tight ponytails, overbrushing, and other grooming practices that can damage and even snap your hair.
Choose a hair transplant clinic with a 97-100% success rate
At the Wimpole Clinic, we have more than 45 years’ experience of providing state-of-the-art hair transplants with excellent success rates. We’ve worked with thousands of patients to create thick, full hair that restores your confidence.
See more of our results in these hair transplant before and after photos, and read our hair transplant clinic reviews to learn more. Then book a free consultation with our team to see how we can give you the hair density results you want.
- Logic of Hair Transplantation
- The logic of follicular unit transplantation
- Evaluation of Hair Density in Different Ethnicities in a Healthy American Population Using Quantitative Trichoscopic Analysis
- Evaluation of Hair Density and Hair Diameter in the Adult Thai Population Using Quantitative Trichoscopic Analysis
- Evolution of hair transplantation
- Survival of densely packed follicular unit grafts using the lateral slit technique
- International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery: 2022 Practice Census Results
- Hair Restoration Surgery: The State of the Art
- The Role of Platelet Plasma Growth Factors in Male Pattern Baldness Surgery
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