Why Do You Need to Know the Difference Between a Graft and a Hair Follicle?

About 2 months ago, we received the following email. As we have been hearing about similar complaints for a long time, we will share the content of this email and explain what you should do to avoid such problems in future.

Hello. I had a hair transplant at a clinic in Istanbul about a year ago. In their initial analysis at the clinic, they told me that I had male-pattern hair loss at an advanced stage and I needed a hair transplant with 5000 grafts. I told them I was ready to pay for 5000 grafts if that was going to solve the problem as I had been very uncomfortable with my appearance for a long time. It has been over a year since my hair transplant and my hair still looks very thin. What should I do? I hope you can help me; I would consider another hair transplant if necessary, but I have to say I lost confidence in the treatment and hair transplant centers.

Many thanks.

We invited the patient to our clinic for a detailed analysis, but we knew that no new hair would grow anymore as it took one year for the transplanted hair to grow. When we compared the before and after photos of the patient, the balding areas were restored well, but his hair did not seem to have received 5000 grafts.

Indeed, our analysis revealed that he only received 1500 grafts, and we explained the situation to the patient. He insisted that he had paid for 5000 grafts, but we assured him that he did not have more than 1500 grafts in his hair and told him to contact the center that performed the procedure.

The next day, he was very angry because he called the center and they told him that he only received 1500 grafts. To make matters worse, the center said they transplanted 1500 grafts, but it meant he received 5000 new hair follicles in his hair. This explanation was naturally confusing for the patient.

Problem: Graft or Hair follicle?

Hair follicle refers to the root of the hair, the part buried under the scalp, while a graft (follicular unit) is the collection of hairs grouped together in the scalp.

Our own experience shows that people seeking to get a hair transplant make their choice of center in 6 to 12 months after they begin to research for options. Some of these people do intensive research and come to our clinic, knowing all the details they need to know about hair transplantation. They may be so well-prepared and ask questions that are so detailed that we may have to think twice before giving a clear answer.

Majority of the patients conducting sufficient online research about hair transplant or visit various hair transplant centers know the difference between a graft and a hair follicle. People who rely on a hair transplant center without doing enough research may sometimes experience a great disappointment after the procedure due to a misunderstanding or hair centers that exploit people’s lack of knowledge.

In the preliminary appointment, some hair transplant centers tell their patients they need 2000 grafts to cover all their balding areas but in reality they just transplant 700-800 grafts and tell the patient he received 2000 grafts. Once the transplanted hair grows back, the patient realizes that there are still bald areas in his hair and contacts the center to ask about the situation. The hair transplant center says they transplanted 2000-2500 hair follicles/roots, and that this was the original number agreed upon in the first place. In reality, they just play with words and use different terms to confuse the patients.

Probably, hundreds of people deciding to get a hair transplant experience similar problems every day. To avoid such issues, we recommend you to learn the differences between the terms used in hair transplantation and clarify everything before the procedure through face-to-face communication with your hair transplant center.