Hair density is one of many factors you should discuss with an experienced surgeon when considering transplant surgery. The natural density of your hair determines how many follicles the surgeon can transplant and affects the final results of the procedure.
Understanding Hair Density
You can figure out the approximate density of your hair by examining your head in the mirror. If you can easily see your scalp without moving any hair, the density is low. Medium density requires a bit of manipulation to see the scalp. When the scalp is barely visible, you have high hair density.
To a transplant surgeon, hair density has the more specific definition of the number of follicles per square centimeter of scalp. Based on this, density varies according to the degree of loss or baldness. Hair density is also different from person to person and can be influenced by ethnicity or age.
The Role of Density in Hair Transplants
Surgeons performing hair transplants aim to mimic the natural look of your hair. For a realistic appearance, this means matching the density as closely as possible. Trying to achieve a higher density is unlikely to work because your body is only able to support a given number of follicles. Each follicle needs a consistent blood supply to provide it with the nutrients necessary to grow healthy hair.
Follicles are harvested from donor sites with the greatest density and transplanted into areas of baldness or loss to cover the scalp. The higher your natural density, the more donor follicles the surgeon will be able to use to replace lost hair.
Postoperative Hair Density
Although you can’t rely on a hair transplant to create an unnatural level of density, your surgeon should be able to achieve the appearance of normal density if he or she is skilled in the procedure. Whether or not you can regain the level of density you desire depends on what’s causing your hair loss and how aggressive the condition is. Be aware of certain progressive conditions, such as male pattern baldness, that will continue to cause hair loss and may require medical treatment to slow down the progression of hair loss or more than one transplant surgery over time.
Talk with your hair transplant surgeon about how hair density may affect the procedure recommended to address your hair loss. Understanding the possibilities and limitations will help you make an informed decision about whether or not this type of surgery is the best option.