What is the maximum number of grafts that should be transplanted in a single follicular unit extraction session?
The number of grafts transplanted in a transplant procedure are a factor of, most importantly, the need for the grafts and how closely the grafts can be placed and, second, on the donor supply. Typically, grafts in the recipient area should be placed no closer to achieve a density of 35-40 follicular units per square centimeter, although at times with fine hair this number can be exceeded to some degree. The biggest challenge in the FUE procedure is the harvesting of the grafts. This can be a rather time consuming process. Typically, when performed properly, the rate of removal is anywhere from 300 to 500 grafts per hour. In order to leave grafts not sitting out for too long of a period of time, thus reducing their ability to grow (more than 6 hours), once the 3 to 4 hour mark is reached where grafts are harvested, we will begin to start planting these grafts so that they can quickly regain their blood supply. We have done procedures of as many as 2,000 follicular unit extraction grafts in a single day. More commonly, however, these numbers are 1,100 to 1,600. If desired and needed, additional grafts can be obtained the next day.
Posted by Jeffrey S. Epstein, MD, FACS