Graft estimates is another important topic for patients researching HT options for themselves.
How does the doctor give graft estimates for a patient?
The wrong way to do this is to limit the graft estimates to the number of grafts the doctor/clinic can perform e.g., I have come across Norwood 6 level of baldness patient given graft estimates of 2500 grafts at some clinic.
What is happening in this scenario?
At best, there is a miscommunication. The doctor may be telling the patient that 2500 grafts is the total number of donor grafts he can perform for the patient. The patient, on the other hand, may tend to believe that 2500 grafts will give him good coverage (maybe even a full head of hair).
So for the prospective patient, it is important to keep the following information in mind -
The full non-balding adult scalp has average 100,000 hair follicles (or 40,000 follicular unit grafts).
The numbers may differ among different races. The blond Caucasian have a higher number of total follicular unit grafts while on the other extreme are the negroid and the Oriental/fast east people.
Nevertheless, one gets a base idea.
Now, if you look in the mirror and see that half the original hair has succumbed to the effects of male pattern hair loss (hair have vanished/miniaturised); you would realize that the number of follicular units lost is approximately 20,000 (half of the original 40,000).
2500 or even 5000 follicular unit grafts are not going to return the original head of hair back to you.
What you will need to do is sit down with your doctor and devise the sort of hair restoration you plan. Depending on the HT doctor’s philosophy and capability, he should let you know the total number of fu grafts available for transplant at his hands.
Then he will let you know what he can accomplish with the said number of grafts.
If what he can accomplish is alright with your expectations, go ahead.
Else, you will at least be clearly in the picture and may decide that HT is not worth the trouble for you.