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How Do You Know If You Have Lost A Transplanted Graft?

8/1/2019 4:26:13 PM

losing transplanted hair

If you have recently undergone a hair transplant procedure, you have no doubt thought about potentially losing follicular unit grafts. The first few days after having a hair transplant are absolutely vital to the outcome of the procedure. However, there is a clear distinction between losing a graft and shedding a dead follicle. In this article, we will be going over the difference, so keep reading!

What Exactly Is A Graft?

A graft is a piece of hair-bearing tissue that is extracted from the patient's donor supply. Transplanted grafts can be either extracted individually via Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) or dissected from a strip of tissue via Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS). In modern surgical hair restoration, transplanted grafts are in groupings of either one-hair follicular units (fu), two-hair fu's, three-hair fu's, or four-hair fu's. In nature, hair follicles appear in the same hair-groupings.

What's The Difference Between Shedding A Graft and Losing A Graft?

Each day following a hair transplant procedure, the transplanted grafts become permanently anchored into the scalp. Conversely, the hairs (dead hair follicles) become loose and begin shedding. This process is normal and happens to everyone. There was a study conducted by Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians Dr. Robert Bernstein, that showed that the grafts become permanently anchored into the scalp after nine days. When the hair sheds there is typically a bulb at the end this is the root sheath of the hair, not the growth center. Below is an example of grafts that have shed.

grafts shed after hair transplant

How About Lost Grafts?

The first three days following a hair transplant procedure are the most crucial because the grafts can become dislodged by simply tugging, pulling or bumping the grafts. The telltale sign of a lost graft is bleeding, if there is blood present when the grafts are still fresh, those grafts have most likely been lost. Below is an example of lost grafts, as you can see there is a difference.

lost grafts bleeding

Bottomline

Sometimes patients are overly cautious about losing grafts, they begin to worry when grafts naturally shed. However, if there is blood present or if there was any trauma to the recipient area after the first three-days, it is best to consult with the hair transplant surgeon as soon as possible to understand whether the grafts have been compromised.


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    All Articles by Melvin Lopez

    Melvin is an Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network and the Hair Loss Learning Center. He is 3 time hair transplant patient having received over 5,000 grafts via FUE. He has over 3,000 helpful posts on the popular hair restoration network discussion forum. He has over 13 years of experience in healthcare management. He enjoys helping hair loss sufferers overcome their insecurities and depression in relation to their hair loss. Aside from his healthcare management work, he writes articles, moderates the hair loss forum and creates YouTube videos for the Hair Transplant Network YouTube channel.