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Hair Transplant Density: How Much Density Can Be Achieved?

Hair transplant density refers to the number of hair grafts that are implanted in hair transplant surgery. This is measured based on the number of hair follicles per square centimeter. It could be even referred to as follicular unit grafts per square centimeter as well. 

We will talk about the factors that affect hair density and how you can have a fuller head of hair by getting a hair transplant surgery. The main topics we will focus on are:


Let’s get into it!

Understanding Hair Density

Hair density is the number of hair strands growing per square centimeter (or inch) on your head. Based on hair density, there are three major groups:


To understand your hair density, you can put your hair in a ponytail style and then compare it to the table below.

Ponytail Circumference 

Density of Hair

Less than 2 inches

Low density

2-3 inches

Medium density

At least 4 inches

High density

We usually have 80,000 to 120,000 strands of hair on our heads, 80,000 being the lower-density end and 120,000 being the higher-density end.

Measuring Hair Density At Home

There are several homemade methods to have a general idea about your natural hair density.

If you can see your scalp without moving, you might have lower density. If you need to move or push back to see your scalp, you might have higher density.

You can count the individual strands in a 1-inch to 1-inch area on your scalp. The hair strand count for an average person is 1,050 per square inch. If the strands on your scalp are lower than this, you might have lower density.

Keep in mind that these methods will only provide you with an approximate understanding of how many hairs you have.

Measuring Hair Density At The Clinic

Consultation with a hair transplant surgeon can help you find out your exact original density. Preoperative hair density assessment is imperative before proceeding with a hair transplant. Usually, two methods are used: 

  • Trichoscopy: This is a non-invasive technique where hair and scalp are magnified to better inspect the actual density. 
  • Phototricogram: This technique not only allows the hair specialist to understand your follicular unit density but also find out which hairs are in which stage of their growth.

Does Higher Density Mean Thicker Hair?

No, hair thinness or hair thickness has no relation to hair density. Hair’s thickness or thinness is measured by the diameter of a single hair strand, meanwhile, hair density is measured by the number of strands in one cm². You can have thick hair and low density. Vice versa, you can also have high-density and thin hair. Additionally, the length of hair does not correlate with the density of hair either.

What Does Low-Density Hair Look Like?

Fewer numbers of hair strands are sparsely spread across the scalp. This makes the scalp to be seen through this thin hair with the naked eye. When the hair is held back in a ponytail style, see-through skin with visibly thin hair on the flip sides can be seen. The ponytail is frail and slender.

We understand that low density may cause your mood to be low as well. Learning about how hair transplant increases the appearance of density might help you feel better. 

Keep in mind that frontal hairline density, crown hair density, temporal point density, and donor area density change independently from one another.

All of these areas of the scalp require different approaches to achieve better hair density results.

How Does Hair Transplant Density Work?

Hair transplant density is the number of hair grafts implanted in a square centimeter of the scalp which is (grafts/cm²).

Depending on the patient’s initial hair density and the method of transplant the results would vary. But the usual number of grafts would give a natural-looking hair density would be 30 to 40 grafts/cm².

Yet this amount might not fully restore the lost hair. The main reason for that is the lack of adequate hair follicles in the donor area. A skilled hair transplant surgeon achieves the best covering and optimal fullness through something called “The illusion of density”. The surgeon harvests the hair follicles from the donor areas with thicker hair like the occipital region.

This creates the impression of fullness without needing high amounts of follicular grafts during hair transplant surgery.

Below, one of our patient talks about how many grafts he had and further operation details.

How Much Density Can Be Achieved Through A Hair Transplant?

A person with no hair loss usually has around 60-90 follicular units/cm² but half the amount (35-45 follicular units/cm²) is more than enough to provide density to the affected areas. This density is sometimes referred to as the ‘illusion of density’ or ‘impression of density’ because the number of transplanted follicular units in the area is lower than in an area with no hair loss but the appearance is nearly the same. 

You should remember that it is different for each patient and it depends on a few factors such as:


Each of these factors plays a crucial role in the final result of the average hair density.

Can You Increase Hair Density?

No, unfortunately, you cannot increase hair density because hair density is determined by the number of hair follicles you have. Currently, there’s no way to gain more hair follicles.

Can I Undergo A Second Transplant For More Density?

Yes, you can. It is possible to get a second transplant to have an increase in hair density. But before doing so you need to consult your hair doctor.

Is A High-Density Hair Transplant Achievable While Looking Natural?

Yes. It is possible to achieve a high density while still looking natural. But it would take larger sessions and the hair transplant cost might even increase due to the number of grafts needed.

Techniques And Approaches For Hair Transplant Density

There are a few techniques for hair transplant density that make it possible for hair transplant patients to achieve a higher density after they are done with the surgery.


In a hair transplant surgery, your doctor would normally transplant 30 to 40 grafts per centimeter but with dense packing, it can be up to 50 to 80 grafts per centimeter. 

The way that the incisions are made on the scalp and the angle the hair follicles are transplanted affect the look of your hair after recovery. With the lateral slit technique, the patient would end up with a more aesthetically pleasing hair density without having to use too many grafts.

Can I Attain Maximum Density In A Single Procedure?

No, achieving maximum density in just a single hair transplant procedure is not really possible because of a number of reasons:


Is Dense Packing A Suitable Technique For Optimal Density?

Yes, dense packing is actually one of the most common methods that hair doctors use to reach a higher density of hair during hair transplantation.

Factors To Consider For Optimal Hair Transplant Density

To be able to reach optimal hair density during hair transplantation there are a multitude of reasons that need to be considered:


Since the source of the grafts is finite, more than a certain amount of individual hair follicles can not be harvested so the hair transplant doctor can transplant them in the recipient area. The recipient area is also vital in the whole process. 
The level of hair density and the characteristics of the skin of the recipient area will be helpful for the doctor to know how many grafts can be implanted.

To achieve a natural-looking density, especially the hairline is very important that the doctor plan it out before the procedure.

Donor Hair Management And Extraction

Donor supply of hair is not infinite and the doctor should plan how many hair follicles will be extracted. Over-extraction of hair follicles will lead to an overharvested donor area, leaving an unpleasant area and maybe even scars.

Recipient Area Design And Implantation

Where on your scalp has more thinning would need more grafts. Also, hair specialists will be following the natural hair growth pattern so you will end up with a natural-looking hairline. Layering and angulation of grafts are crucial in designing a good hair transplant.

Personalized Approaches For Different Patients

The whole hair transplant process is a personalized process and when it comes to improvement in hair density it will be different from person to person. Which means it is based on the degree of hair loss.

Assessing Density Post-Transplant

To be able to assess hair density post-transplant you need to first understand how the hair growth cycle works and what happens after the hair restoration surgery.

Hair Growth Timeline

When it comes to hair growth there are 4 main stages. 

  • ANAGEN PHASE (GROWTH PHASE): This phase lasts about 2 to 7 years and during it, the hair is actively growing. The longer this stage lasts the longer your hair will be.
  • CATAGEN PHASE (TRANSITIONAL PHASE): In this stage, hair stops growing and the hair follicle detaches from the blood supply. This stage lasts about 2 weeks. 
  • TELOGEN PHASE (RESTING PHASE): During this stage, the follicle is basically hibernating and the hair is ready to fall. This stage lasts 2 to 3 months in the meanwhile new hair is growing under the old hair.
  • EXOGEN PHASE (SHEDDING PHASE): This is the stage where old hair falls out. Usually, 50 to 100 strands of hair would fall on a daily basis.

This hair cycle happens periodically during your lifetime.

Why Does My Hair Density Seem Low After The Transplant?

Transplanted hair follows the same hair growth timeline. Also, aging affects the hair as well. But the main reason your hair density seems low 6 to 7 months after the transplant is due to shock loss which is a normal happenstance in the process. 

Visually the shedding phase impacts the density but the truth to the fact is the hair follicles are dormant and will start growing new hair soon.

Addressing Low-Density Concerns

When it comes to density the patient must also have realistic expectations. Not only there are limitations to the number of grafts that your doctor can transplant in a single session but also it takes time for the newly transplanted hair to grow.

Second Hair Transplant For Density Enhancement

There are a few factors to consider before going for a second hair transplant for density enhancement. The most important factor is time. You will most probably need at least 6 to 12 months until the recipient area is fully recovered and healed. 

This also means you will see the actual results of your first transplant and based on those results your doctor can plan your second hair transplant. Gradual density restoration is pretty common and a valuable option for many patients. 

How Does The Shedding Phase Affect Post-Transplant Density?

The shedding that occurs right after a hair transplant surgery is also referred to as shock loss and it is a normal part of hair restoration procedures. Initially, you might think that with this shedding, you would end up with reduced hair density. But in reality, the transplanted hair follicles go into a resting phase and in a few months start growing again. 


The initial hair density might seem low but the improvement in hair density will be noticeable after a few months. Continue your hair density maintenance diligently and you will reap the benefits in no time. 

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Farjo B, Farjo N. Dense packing: surgical indications and technical considerations. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am. 2013 Aug;21(3):431-6. doi: 10.1016/j.fsc.2013.06.004. PMID: 24017984.

Venkataram A, Mysore V. Logic of Hair Transplantation. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2018 Oct-Dec;11(4):169-172. doi: 10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_183_18. PMID: 30886469; PMCID: PMC6371726.