Hair Transplant Calculations – Calculating Lost and Available Hair

One of the saddest things I deal with on a daily basis is cases of bad hair transplants. When people try to go the cheapest route, they are left with bad results. Growth is poor, appearance is unnatural, scarring is excessive – the list is long. Falling for the promise of a high number of grafts for a low price is usually to blame. There is science and math behind determining the percentage of hair lost and the amount of hair available in the donor site. In this article, you’ll learn how to apply this to your own hair loss.

You Need to Know

You may be wondering why it is important that you know these numbers. Can’t the doctor just tell you? Sure, of course he can. The problem lies with clinics and surgeons that will misrepresent what is really realistic in your case. If someone tells you that you have 15,000 grafts available, they are lying to you. People are also mislead when they are told how many grafts it will take to fill in the balding area.

For these reasons, you should know approximately how much hair you have lost, how much you have and how much you will need for a transplant. When you have this information, you will know what’s real and what’s not.

The Calculations

On average, each person has around 80 to 110 grafts per each square centimeter. Each graft is the equivalent of approximately 2.6 hairs. Those of Middle Eastern, Asian and African American heritages have slightly less. Use the calculations and examples below to arrive at your own individual numbers.

  • Hair Loss. With a metric measuring tape, measure the width and length of the balding area in centimeters. Then multiply that number by the average number for your ethnic background. For our example, we will use the average number of 100 grafts per centimeter.
    • Area of hair loss= 10 cm2
    • 10cm2 multiplied by 100 (our average number)=1000 grafts
    • 1000 multiplied by 2.6 (average number of hairs per graft)=2600 hairs

So, in this example, our patient has lost 2600 hairs and 1000 grafts.

  • Available Hair. Again using the metric measuring tape, place it above and just forward of your left ear,  then wrap it around the back of your head to the point above and just forward of your right ear. On average, this number is between 25 and 33 centimeters. For our purposes, we will again use the average measurement of 100 grafts per cm2.
    • Area of available hair=30 centimeters
    • 30 multiplied by 100 = 3000 available grafts
    • 3000 multiplied by 2.6 = 7800 available hairs

How Much Hair you need for Transplant

Hair loss is not noticeable until 30 to 60% of your original hair is gone. In order to provide coverage to a balding area, you will need to have a minimum of 30% of the total hair lost. The minimum will supply a decent level of coverage. To achieve the appearance of a full head of hair, you will need 50%.

For example, a man who is completely bald at the hairline and crown has an area of loss that equals 20,000 grafts. For him to have adequate coverage in the hairline and a thin crown area, he will need around 8000 grafts. To achieve this type of coverage, multiple surgeries will be required.