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 Extraction (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.
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.
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.