Well, really speaking if anyone gives you a number for this question, you should dig deeper. From our perspective, it boils down to when do you start the process and become qualified as a hair transplant patient. The main consideration we weigh on is the fact that there is a limitation on the number of donor hair you possess and this in turn determines the number of surgeries you can have in your lifetime. Let us explain below.
What is a hair transplant?
For the uninitiated, let us start with the basics. Hair transplant is the transfer of hair follicles from one part of the body to the other. Hair follicles are removed from the donor area and redistributed in the hairless area, called the recipient area. So, new hair growth is just old hair in a new geographical location!
Why do you need to have multiple hair transplant surgeries anyways?
This is because if you are genetically programmed to lose hair (remember Male Pattern Baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia) and if you do not control hair loss (through Finasteride, Minoxidil and/ or a hair loss treatment like a PRP Hair Treatment or a Hair Mesotherapy), chances are you will progressively lose hair. To be clear, this is not the hair that was transplanted, which is permanent in nature. Rather it is the non-transplanted hair in other areas of the scalp in which no treatment was performed.
How many hair transplant surgeries can I have?
As mentioned above, it depends on quantum of donor hair you have. If you are doing small hair transplant surgeries in which 500-1000 grafts are placed, technically you may have 5-6 hair transplant surgeries. However, if you are doing larger procedures, you are limited by number of grafts available. As an example, if a 5,000 grafts surgery is performed on you, chances are you can perhaps have one more hair transplant surgery in your lifetime (whosoever claims that Hair Multiplication works is saying a lie). The point is that, in this case, you basically wasted a good number of hairs by “overharvesting” the donor area which could otherwise been used for future hair transplant sessions (remember, you just have one donor, my friend). This analysis is based on the assumption that lifetime supply of donor hair ranges between 6,000 and 9,000 grafts. A good hair transplant clinic will always warn you about this and position itself as a long term partner in your hair regrowth journey.
For example, when a 25 year old requests for a hair transplant, lifetime supply of donor hair is different to that of a 50 year old patient. This is because the younger patient will have to be kept happy for a longer period of time if they keep progressing with hair loss. Therefore, the rule that is important to bear in mind is that younger the patient, the more conservative you ought to be in planning a hair transplant surgery since in such cases you don’t know what the future is going to hold. In other words, you don’t know whether the patient will manage to control hair loss in the future and be disciplined enough to take medications.
We are aware that most patients focus on restoring their recipient area to the maximum density possible. This is fine as long as this density is not achieved at the expense of the look of the donor area. We explain this part below in detail.
Density versus coverage in a hair transplant surgery
Many patients come to us and ask, “Do you do a 50 sq cm density in the recipient area?” Our answer remains, “well, it depends on the degree of balding. If you have a small balding in a very important area (say the frontal hairline), we do provide this level of density. However, if there is a mildly thinning crown, we would prefer to put just the appropriate number of grafts to fill in the gaps.”
Why so? For a couple of reasons. Firstly, we do not want to damage existing hair by implanting too closely to it. Secondly and most importantly, we approach hair transplants with an objective to provide “VISUAL DENSITY”. Visual Density is the minimum density that the patient would find acceptable to achieve the right look. We follow this approach as we want to save your donor hair, which is always precious and scarce.
So what’s the bottom-line?
Guys, the key is not the number of surgeries therefore. What you should keep in mind is the coverage you hope to get from the hair transplant surgery. You should be aware about how much the hair transplant surgery will impact your donor area and what’s the trade off between coverage versus density. The main thing is that you should have a plan that will stand a test of time and safeguard your donor hair, which is a limited resource and should be available if a need for another hair transplant arises in the future.