What is donor hair and where does it come from? Maybe you just started researching hair restoration, but you’ve stopped short because you either don’t entirely understand the process or you’re nervous about how a hair transplant works.
Where do hair clinics get the hair they use for a hair transplant? Does it come from a generous person who donated their long, luscious locks after a haircut? Is it a thoughtful organ donor who left behind a heart, a kidney or a handful of hair follicles? Does it come from a close relative who is willing to help you with your hair deficit? You may be relieved to know that a hair transplant doesn’t involve any of these options!
Donor Hair Never Comes From Another Person
Hair restoration is a simple outpatient procedure where the hair follicle (the hair and the bulb) is planted just beneath the surface of the skin in the thinning area. People do donate trimmed hair, but only for wigs. Trimmed hair cannot be used for a hair transplant because it’s missing the root. Entire hair follicles (root and hair) also cannot be donated by another person because your body would reject the foreign tissue – unless that other person is your identical twin!
Where Does Donor Hair Come from?
Have you ever noticed how balding, elderly men may lose some or all the hair on the top of their head, but not the sides or the back? You can thank your parents or your grandparents for this type of hair loss which is called Androgenetic Alopecia or “Pattern Baldness”. Don’t you wish all your hair was as resilient as the hair in the back of your head? This “super hair” is resistant to a hormone called DHT, which causes hair loss. And you guessed it, your donor hair comes from the back of your head!
But Wait…Will it leave a gap?
You may be wondering, “What will the back of my head look like after a hair harvest? Will there be a big, empty gap?” At We Grow Hair, you have two pain-free harvesting options, our trademarked Multi-Unit Hair Grafting™ and Artas Robotic FUE. Remnants from both procedures are hard to find after the area is healed.
With Multi-Unit Hair Grafting™, a very narrow portion of tissue is removed. The remaining area is carefully sutured back together so that hair once again meets hair, leaving no gaps. Our surgeons use a specially developed trichophytic closure so that hair will grow back through the suture, which helps camouflage the very fine line. With Artas Robotic FUE, small circular incisions are made to extract hair follicles. An advanced robotic algorithm is used to prevent over-harvesting so no portion of the donor area will look thin.
Can Donor Hair Come from Other Parts of Your Own Body?
Anything is possible but the short answer is “No”. Hair transplants are not done with body hair. Only “hair from your head” is used to restore “hair on your head”. It’s interesting to note that hair from your head can be used to restore hair in a thinning beard. However, it’s important to note that the texture will be identical to what it was when it grew in the donor area.
How Will Hair Behave Once It’s Transplanted?
Any hair that is transplanted will behave just as it did before it was moved. It will be the same texture, diameter, and color as it was before. The new hair will grow and even turn grey or white as the patient gets older. It needs to be trimmed and cared for, and it can even be colored.
It’s also important to understand that the donor hair is not “long” when it’s planted. The root and a very short stubble of hair is placed in the balding area. There is even a chance that the hair (not the bulb) will temporarily fall out due to “shock loss”, which is a common occurrence after a transplant. But don’t fret. The new hair will come back and grow at the same rate as the rest of your hair, a half inch a month. It will take at least 4 months before you notice hair growth in the transplanted area.
Is Donor Hair Permanent?
Generally speaking, donor hair is just like the permanent hair in the back of your head. Unless your hair is affected by disease or medication, it should last a lifetime.
Are There Times When Donor Hair Doesn’t Work?
If an inexperienced physician harvests hair from the wrong area, beyond the bounds of the ‘safe zone’, there is no guarantee that it will last a lifetime. Also, if the patient suffers from diffuse hair loss, there is a chance the hair may not be permanent. Diffuse hair loss is a condition where hair thins everywhere – including the back of the head. If a patient has diffuse thinning, they are not a good candidate for hair surgery. That’s why it’s important to go to an experienced, reputable clinic.
How Much Donor Hair Do I Need?
A person with a full head of hair has approximately 100,000 hairs on their head. By the time a person notices their hair loss, they have already lost half their density. That’s a lot of hair! The good news is the goal of a transplant is not to restore “hair for hair” what has been lost. Instead, the goal is to skillfully and artistically transplant enough hair in the right direction, position, and angle to give the illusion of more hair.
At PAI Medical Group / We Grow Hair, if the patient is a good candidate, the maximum number of hairs that can be harvested in a single Multi-Unit Hair Grafting™ transplant can be as many as 7 to 9,000 hairs! This is much higher than the industry standard. The following factors play a role in how much coverage a patient will achieve in a single transplant:
- The patient’s age
- head size
- donor area condition
- area(s) of loss
- number of prior surgeries
- skin elasticity
- patient health & habits
If all these conditions are optimal, the patient should expect to get a satisfying result in as little as one procedure.
Will I Need More Than One Procedure?
The majority of We Grow Hair patients are completely satisfied with just one procedure; however, your satisfaction depends on your expectations. One transplant can be extremely satisfying, but you may need a second transplant to completely cover balding areas or give the hair a thicker overall appearance.
Are you still considering a hair transplant? Speak to one of our medical consultants for a free, private consultation and find out if a hair transplant is right for you.