If you’re considering a hair transplant, you’ll probably want to know how many hair grafts you need to get the hairline you want. In general, the more hair you’ve lost, the more hair grafts you’ll need — but there’s more to your hair graft calculation than this.
By the end of this article, you’ll know:
Hair grafts are tiny clusters of follicles that are extracted from one area of the head and implanted in thinning areas. They look like this:
Grafts are usually made up of groups of 2-5 healthy hair follicles. They’re also known as follicular units.
In FUE surgery, hair grafts are removed with an instrument known as a micropunch. Most micropunches are less than 1mm in diameter .
In FUT, a strip of skin is removed from the donor area. This strip is then sliced into individual hair grafts. Find out more about the differences between FUT vs FUE.
The hair grafts are then implanted into the balding areas commonly caused by male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss.
There are 3 key criteria used to determine how many grafts you’ll need:
The scalp is separated into zones. Each zone requires a certain number of grafts to fill. This diagram shows how many hair grafts are required for each zone:
The extent of your hair loss is analysed against the Norwood Scale. The Norwood Scale shows the 7 progressive stages of hair loss in men with male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia).
Your Norwood stage determines approximately how many grafts you need.
While the Norwood Scale gives a rough indication of how many grafts you’ll need, you must also factor in your continuing hair loss.
If you’re still losing hair, it’s important to manage this before you opt for hair restoration surgery. This can ultimately reduce the number of hair grafts you need now and in future surgeries. Solutions like Minoxidil and medication like Finasteride and Dutasteride are often prescribed to slow the rate of hair loss.
Sometimes hair loss progresses to the point where you need multiple hair transplants. In these cases, your hair transplant surgeon should aim to preserve your donor area so you can have additional procedures in the future. That means your graft count may be lower initially to ensure you have enough donor hair for future transplants.
All prospective hair transplant patients should be aware that there is a limit to how many grafts a surgeon can safely extract. This is known as your safe donor area, and it prevents hair transplant overharvesting among other hair transplant complications.
There’s some debate about what constitutes a safe donor area. This diagram shows 4 commonly used models:
Some research suggests that the safe donor area decreases in size as you age . Studies have shown that it’s safe and effective to extract up to 6,000 grafts in certain patients with large donor areas — but not all patients will be able to have this many grafts .
Regardless of the donor area model used, hair transplant surgeons shouldn’t extract more than 25% of the hair follicles from the safe donor area in a single hair transplant procedure . So be wary of clinics that offer high graft quotes (in excess of 6,000 grafts), as this may constitute overharvesting.
There’s very little difference between FUT and FUE in terms of the number of hair grafts you’re quoted. Some research suggests that the transection rate is slightly higher in FUE hair transplantation, so graft survival may be slightly lower . However, these differences are negligible, and shouldn’t impact your overall graft quote or hair transplant success.
FUE hair transplant surgery is generally slightly cheaper than FUT, as it’s a less invasive procedure that requires fewer surgical team members to perform. It also gives you less scarring and a faster hair transplant recovery timeline.
Hair transplants for women use a different chart to measure progression of female pattern hair loss. This chart is known as the Ludwig Scale:
The table below shows the average number of grafts needed for each stage of the Ludwig Scale:
The average cost per hair graft in the UK is £3.25. However, some clinics reduce their price per graft and inflate the number of grafts quoted in order to appear more competitive in terms of hair transplant cost.
As a result, it’s important to get quotes from a range of clinics. This will tell you whether you’re paying a fair price for your hair transplant, and whether a clinic is quoting for a higher number of grafts than is really necessary.
Read our hair transplant cost analysis to learn how to spot a shady clinic, and how much you should be paying for a hair transplant in 2022. If you are interested in a hair transplant with the Wimpole Clinic, see our hair transplant price list.
If you are considering surgical hair restoration, you are probably curious about other elements of the hair transplant process. Factors such as costs, length of surgery, recovery times, and potential side effects could make you pause for consideration.
That’s why it’s important to research the hair restoration process thoroughly so that you can choose a reputable clinic you can trust.
Learn more about what each different transplanted hair graft looks like.
Norwood stage: 2-3Number of grafts: 500
Learn about 500 graft hair transplants in more detail.
Norwood stage: 3ANumber of grafts: 800
Norwood stage: 2-3Number of grafts: 1000
Find out more about the coverage and costs of 1000 graft hair transplants.
Norwood stage: 3-4Number of grafts: 1500
Find out more about 1500 graft hair transplants.
Norwood stage: 3-4Number of grafts: 2000
Learn everything you need to know about a 2000 graft hair transplant.
Norwood stage: 3-4Number of grafts: 2500
Norwood stage: 4-5Number of grafts: 3000
Learn more about getting a 3000 graft hair transplant.
Norwood stage: 5-7Number of grafts: 4200
Learn more about 4000 graft hair transplants, including coverage, cost, and results.
Norwood stage: 6-7Number of grafts: 4500
Find out more about high-volume procedures such as 5000 graft hair transplants, including costs and coverage.
The only way to find out exactly how many hair grafts you’ll need is to have a hair loss consultation at a reputable hair transplant clinic. Our experienced consultations will examine your hair and scalp to give you an accurate hair graft quote.
Consultation at the Wimpole Clinic is free, so book your consultation today and get an accurate quote for how many hair grafts you need to get a full, natural hairline.
Simply fill in your details in the form below and we'll get in touch with you shortly.