How many hair grafts do I need?

This podcast episode addresses the question:” how many hair grafts do I need?”


Dr. Joffrey:     Hello everybody! This is Dr. Joffrey with Chicago Hair Clinic and you are listening to our podcast. Today, I’m going to talk about a topic, I think, that will be of interest to pretty much just about anybody who’s considering having a hair restoration procedure, and that’s the question, “How much hair do I need?”

Obviously, that’s important because, frankly, most hair restoration, hair transplant procedures are charged per graft. The question is, “How many grafts do I need, Doctor?” Here is how you figure it out.

Now, these are some very general principles and I don’t want you to feel like I told you something that’s not true if you get quoted something else because I’m giving some very broad stroke principles, so you can, at least, get a handle on what you might be up against.

Let’s take the general premise that 2,000 grafts covers an area on your scalp of about a size of a compact disc, a CD. So, that’s a good place to start. Now, there’s a lot of considerations that go into this when you start playing around with those numbers.

Now, first of all, what the heck is a graft anyway? What is a hair graft? We use the word “graft” to describe each follicular unit that we take out. When we say graft, we’re not talking about individual hairs. We’re talking about what’s called a follicular unit. A follicular unit is, on the scalp, will have somewhere between one and four hairs on it. What you’re doing is taking out each graft and each graft has either one, two, three, or four hairs in it. It’s going to average out between two and three. I mean, that’s generally how it works.

Now, obviously there are some genetic factors and some people might have more single hair follicular units and some people might have more, but that’s a pretty good general rule. The CD that I said is based on that whole premise, the CD size. Now, what else matters? The number of grafts will change depending on where you need hair.

As a general rule, the further forward you move the more hair you need; the more hair grafts you need. That’s because it needs to be more dense in the areas where people are going to look at you directly, specifically, in the hairline. The hairline requires a lot of hair. If you need a complete reconstruction of your hairline, it’s going to really take quite a bit of hair. It might just take 2,000 grafts just to do that. Then if you have a good hairline and you’ve got the size of a CD that’s behind it, say, closer to the crown area, it may just take that 2,000 grafts we talked about.

Another consideration is what kind of procedure are you having and where are you having it? I say that because it’s just a reality, okay? If you have a strip procedure, that’s the gold standard in hair restoration right now. Generally speaking, if you go to a reputable hair clinic, probably about 85 percent of the hair follicles that are placed are going to live. In other words, if you have a thousand grafts placed, 850 of those grafts will probably survive. I mean, that’s in a quality hair clinic.

Now, if you use something like automated follicular unit transfer which we love using in our office, that number may be 97 to 99 percent, so you’re getting virtually all of the hair that you had taken from the donor area survive and become part of your scalp, your balding scalp. That obviously affects the number of grafts you need as well.

Manual FUE, the type of follicular unit extraction that’s done by hand has a very, very poor grafts survival rate. It might be as low as 50 percent. That’s another consideration. You might have 2,000 grafts placed over time with manual FUE and only end up with a 1,000 grafts, so you can’t use that CD to judge how much hair you need there.

Another situation that’s a little unusual that we’ve talked about in previous episodes is body hair. Body hair is different from the scalp hair because there is only one hair per follicular unit. Now, a lot of times we find that the hair from the body has a little bit of different texture to it that makes it appear thicker or it might be a little bit curly compared to the hair from the scalp. A lot of times, you can get away with using the same number of body hairs as you would as from the scalp. But, it’s not always the case.

There are a lot of factors that go into this. I think the thing that’s mostly in your control is frankly choosing a reputable office and the right procedure for you. You can predict most accurately what kind of hair or how many grafts you’re going to need if you go to somewhere that’s busy, that does a lot of good work because the grafts are going to survive and they’re going to be able to tell you with greater accuracy how much hair you’re going to need.

I think that a general rule of thumb is whether you choose our clinic or another good, reputable clinic out there, don’t get hang up … I know it’s easy to say, but don’t get hang up on price shopping because that is a recipe for disaster. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen in our office somebody who’s come in who’s had four strip procedures in the past and apparently has had 6,000 grafts placed in their scalp because it certainly doesn’t look that way. It looks like there’s maybe, if they’re lucky, a 1,000 grafts that survived. That can potentially happen.

You have to take this very seriously. It’s a lot more serious than getting your haircut and you have to treat it that way. These are permanent changes that are being made. Do your homework. You can certainly do that on our website at and look at our blog too. Otherwise, there’s certainly a lot of resources out there that you can look at on the Internet as well. Do your homework. Try not to just look at the cheapest possible procedure you can get because a lot of times, the old saying, “You get what you pay for” and it’s true in hair restoration as well.

We’d be happy to give you a quote in terms of what we think you need. We do that a lot. We have a lot of out-of-state patients. You can always give us a call at 847-995-9000. We can correspond by email and I, or one of the other doctors, will take a look at your photos under a high magnification and see what we think we can do and how many grafts it’ll take.

Anyway, that is it for this podcast episode. I hope it was helpful to you. Again, if you’d like us to help you out, come to the website. Take a look or give us a call and we’d love to talk to you in person. Thanks a lot.

Body Hair transfer (BHT)

In this 4th episode of the Chicago Hair Clinic and Hair Restoration podcast, the topic of body hair transfer to the scalp is discussed. Body hair transfer is a relatively rare procedure.

The primary reason for doing body hair transfer rather then using the hair at the back of the scalp is a shortage of donor hair follicles in this area. Most frequently, this is because a person has had multiple previous hair transplants or hair restoration procedures using a strip procedure. A strip procedure is the classic technique for hair transplant that requires removing a strip of scalp from the back of the head and transferring it to the balding areas on the top and front of the scalp.

When there is inadequate amount of donor hair in the back of the head, one option is to use body hair. Because taking a strip of skin from the body is not desirable, this has been done in the past with traditional manual FUE where one hair follicle at a time is dissected out and then transferred to the head.

Because of the tedious nature of this procedure (usually no more than 300-500 follicles in an entire day), and the frequent damage to follicles resulting in poor survival of hair follicles, this procedure has not been terribly successful for the vast majority of patients.

We have implemented the use of automated follicular unit extraction with a suction-extraction “no touch technique” which has resulted in tremendous game changing results for body hair transfer (BHT). Individual hair follicles can now be harvested at a much higher speed (up to 3000 hair follicles per day) and nearly 100 percent survival and take of follicles. In the United States, automated follicular unit extraction is done by a machine called neograft.

We have used this machine widely in body hair transfer and in traditional back of the scalp transfers with tremendous success.

The limitations of body hair transfer are the hair follicles themselves. That is to say that hair, as always, maintains the characteristics from where it came. So, if body hair is straight and 1.5 inches long, when that hair is transferred to the scalp, it will remain straight and grow no longer than 1.5 inches in length. However, for most men, this is not a major drawback as having any hair is a far more desirable endpoint than no hair at all.

Body hair transfer with automated follicular unit extraction (neograft) has given many men the opportunity to achieve results which were not previously possible!

Our office provides free consultations including phone consultations for those living out of state or out of country. Call 847-995-9000 to make your appointment today!

Hair Restoration Procedures

In this episode #3 of the Chicago Hair Clinic podcast, Dr. Joffrey discusses surgical hair restoration, otherwise known as hair transplant surgery. After a review of the basic fundamentals behind hair surgery such as patterns of male pattern baldness and the role of DHT, Dr. Joffrey discusses the most common procedure performed around the world today, the so called “strip procedure”. He then compares the strip procedure with automated FUE or neograft. Dr. Joffrey also distinguishes between neograft and manuel FUE which is done by hand.

The various advantages of automated FUE compared to both the strip procedure and manuel FUE are discussed. Dr. Joffrey concludes that the current procedure of choice for qualified candidates is the automated FUE procedure because of minimal scar, minimal complications, and maximal speed and survival of hair grafts.

Podcast Episode 02: Medications for Hair Loss

In episode 2 of the Chicago Hair Clinic Podcast, Dr. Joffrey discusses the various medications for hair loss.

Specifically, Dr. Joffrey discusses the role of minoxidil and finasteride in hair loss as these are the only medications to show any effectiveness in male pattern balding.

Podcast Episode 01: Why Do Only Some Men Go Bald?

In this first episode of the Chicago Hair Clinic Podcast, Dr. Joffrey gives some introductory comments about what to expect from this podcast and the reason for it’s inception. After that, the question “why do only some men go bald” is addressed. Dr. Joffrey discusses male pattern baldness and its physiology, specifically the role of dihydrotestosterone otherwise known as DHT. A basic understanding of DHT pattern in hair loss is used to explain, in very simple terms, the concepts behind successful hair restoration and hair transplant surgery.

Body Hair For Scalp Hair Restoration: Is It the Answer You’ve Been Waiting For?

In this video, Dr. Joffrey of the Chicago Hair Clinic talks about the emerging technique of Body Hair Transplant (BHT) for hair restoration. Continue reading after the video to review the information.


Hi, everyone. It’s Dr. Joffrey here again with Chicago Hair Clinic. Today I wanted to talk to you about transferring body hair to the balding areas on your head. Today I got an email from a patient of mine from last year. His situation was interesting and it’s a very typical situation for these types of procedures.

This gentleman had multiple strip procedures in the past. As you may recall from one of my previous videos, the strip procedure is when you literally take a wedge of scalp from the back of your head and then those hairs are harvested and placed in the balding frontal and crown areas. The problem with the strip is that when you cut away more and more scalp, eventually you are left with no more donor area scalp. That was the situation he found himself in, which was unfortunate. He had given up on achieving the look he wanted for his hair. Fortunately, he did have a lot of body hair and when he heard that we were doing a lot of body hair transfers, he came and saw us. We actually did a whole bunch of hair transfers to the top of his head from his chest and the back.

This year he is really happy with his result and he just wanted to let me know. The thing to remember about body hair is that it’s going to retain the quality of where you take it from, just like the general principles of hair transplant from anywhere. Wherever you take a hair from and place it somewhere, it’s going to be just like it was before. One of the limitations here is, body hair may not have the characteristics of the hair you want on your head. Straight body hair will stay straight and curly body hair will be curly, but it’s still better than having bald areas on the scalp.

The other limitation is that, chest hair, for example, only grows to a certain length. When it’s on your head, it’s only going to grow to that same length.

BHT is a great option for a lot of people and it’s something to consider if you are struggling with these kinds of problems and you are not a good traditional hair transplant candidate because of scalp donor hair availability.

If you want to again know about this or any other hair procedures, give us a call at 847-995-9000 or visit and make a free consultation. We’d love to talk to you. Thanks.

Hair Transplant Surgery: The Strip Technique Versus Automated FUE (Neograft)

In this video Dr. Joffrey talks about the basics of hair transplant surgery including explaining the difference between the strip technique versus automated FUE Neograft.

Hi there everybody. It’s Dr. Joffrey here from the Chicago Hair Clinic. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about hair restoration procedures. Just as a reminder, we have to use the concept of what we’ve talked about in previous videos. There is a hormone called DHT. In some people, DHT makes the hair in the front, top, and crown areas fall out over time. That’s why most men with baldness have the horseshoe pattern to their hair loss. The areas on the side of the head and in the back are not sensitive to DHT. Those are the areas that actually will not bald even when DHT is circulating in the blood.

The concept behind hair restoration or hair transplant surgery is that hair is harvested from areas that are not sensitive to DHT. That hair is then placed in those areas that are sensitive, where the hair has been lost. An important thing to remember is that hair keeps the quality of where it was removed. The hair from the back of the head is not sensitive to DHT, and when you move those follicles to the front and top of the head, they remain insensitive to DHT. What that means for you is that transplanted hair remains permanent. You don’t have to worry about it falling out again because of the DHT issue.

The main procedure that is done these days in most offices is still what’s called the strip procedure. It’s called the strip procedure because a strip of scalp is removed surgically. The follicles are then dissected out of the strip of scalp. Then the follicles are placed up in the area where you need the hair, at the balding area. The strip procedure was the best we as hair transplant surgeons could do for years.

I want to tell you about another thing that we’re doing here at Chicago Hair Clinic, which I think is a game changer. I think it’s a much more elegant procedure, and that’s called Automated Follicular Unit Extraction. Right now, it’s going in the US by the trade name NeoGraft. It’s really my favorite technique for those people who are actually good candidates for it.

In this procedure, literally what you’re doing is instead of taking that big strip of scalp out surgically, you’re taking one hair follicle out at a time. The Neograft machine basically sucks up that hair follicle. It can then be placed anywhere it is needed on the scalp. You’re skipping the whole surgical part. You’re not taking out a big wad of scalp anymore. Neograft takes the procedure down to the smallest disruption possible.

There are multiple advantages to this procedure. One is obvious. In the Strip Procedure, you’re going to get that smiley scar type of remnant from the procedure. This makes it difficult to wear your hair short. NeoGraft leaves no “smile scar” behind.

Have you ever wondered why everybody shows their hair pictures from the front, and you never see it from the back? That’s the reason. With the Strip procedure, the back of your head is not going to look that great in most cases. Unless you keep your hair really long. The other thing is because of the little suction action of the NeoGraft, the follicles really don’t get damaged.

In a strip procedure, in the best of hands, you’re going to have maybe 80% to 85% survival of the hair that’s transplanted. That means 15% of the hair that you get transplanted will not grow. It’s lost. With our procedure, with this NeoGraft Procedure, what we’re finding is maybe one to two percent of it actually goes away. The rest of it stays. It’s a beautiful procedure. It’s very elegant. It doesn’t leave a big heinous smiley scar that prevents you from wearing your hair short.

You should check it out for sure. Give us a call at 847-995-9000, or go to Check it out. Contact us through there. Thanks for listening.

Medications for hair loss and their effectiveness

In the video below, Dr. Joffrey from will discuss medications for hair loss and their effectiveness. Learn about minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia) as well as how and why they can help with hair loss.

Hi everybody. It’s Dr. Joffrey here with the Chicago Hair Clinic. Today, I just want to talk a little bit about the two medications out there that are available to take for hair loss problems.

The first one is called minoxidil. It also goes by the trade name, Rogaine. Basically, minoxidil is a topical solution that you apply to your scalp once a day. It essentially thickens the hair that you’ve got to make it appear more full. It also prevents further loss of hair. Minoxidil is available over the counter, without perscription.

The second medication that is available is called finasteride. It is also known by the name Propecia. That’s the tablet that you take by mouth on a daily basis. What that medication does is block testosterone from turning into DHT. As you might know, DHT is the hormone that actually causes hair loss in people with Male Pattern Baldness. By blocking the creation of DHT, less is available to cause hair loss. Finasteride is available by prescription only.

What we find in our clinic is that both of these medications are great, but what they are not going to do is help your hair grow back. What they are really good at doing is preventing you from losing even more hair than you have already. However, even that ability is limited. You are still probably going to need some kind of hair restoration if your hair loss is severe. Hopefully, we’ll see you in our office for that.

Make a free consultation by calling 847-995-9000, or visit our website at Take a look around, and contact us through there. Thanks.

Causes of hair loss and male pattern baldness

In this video, Dr. Joffrey discusses the causes of hair loss and male pattern baldness. The primary culprit is a hormone called DHT that affects men and women who have a genetic predisposition to lose hair. The pattern of DHT resistant hair follicles is typically seen in a horseshoe pattern reflecting the type of hair loss seen typically in men where it is inherited. Watch the video below and continue reading for additional information.

Hi there everybody. It’s Dr. Joffrey here from the Chicago Hair Clinic. Today, I just really wanted to talk about why it is that some people lose their hair, and some people don’t. Specifically with regard to what’s called Male Pattern Baldness. It affects both men and women, but obviously it tends to affect men more often.

The main culprit is a hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. It’s really simple actually. What happens is when DHT is present, the hair in the front, top, and crown areas tends to fall out in people with the gene that makes them sensitive to it. In the sides and back of the head, it doesn’t fall out because those areas are inherently resistant to DHT.

The reason why that’s important is that in hair restoration surgery, we rely on this principle of DHT resistance. What we are essentially doing, is to take hair from areas that are not sensitive to this hormone, and relocate it to areas that have become bald due to DHT sensitivity. When you move that hair, it actually keeps the quality of where it came from. Even though that hair is now in areas of previous balding, it will stay where we put it and grow permanently. That’s basically how it works.

This is Dr. Joffrey from Chicago Hair Clinic. We hope that you’ll come and see us. For an appointment, visit the site, or make a free consultation, 847-995-9000.

Body Hair Transplantation Using Neograft

The advancement of Neograft automated follicular unit extraction opened up a whole new category of hair transplant technique. This category is called body hair transplantation. Using Neograft, it is now possible to harvest hair from the body for transplantation to the head. Potential sources for  body hair transplantation include the stomach, chest, back, beard, arms, and legs.

Body hair is a viable donor source for select patients.  Body hair transplantation patients typically have little to no scalp donor hair available. This creates the need to consider body hair. Patients must also have an adequate number of quality body hairs available. Quality body hairs are reasonably thick, not overly curly, and grow to a worthwhile length.

Unfortunately, body hair is not an entirely perfect substitute for scalp hair. Body hair will retain the characteristics of the location it came from. It will only grow to a certain thickness and length. It may also have a different growth cycle length, meaning it may grow faster or slower than scalp hair. Body hair also has a tougher time surviving the transplant process. Studies have found the take rate for body hair transplantation to be closer to 80%. In other words, eight of every ten transplanted grafts are expected to survive the procedure and grow.

When used on the right patient for the right effect,  body hair transplantation can create a very nice result. Body hair is best used to fill in density among previously transplanted hair. The body hairs can then blend in among the scalp hairs to provide added density without looking out of place. They also serve well to camouflage previous strip scars and pluggy transplant grafts. That being said, full hairline reconstruction with body hair transplantation is also done. We’ve had great results and very pleased patients using this method.

We can discuss if body hair transplantation is right for you. Call 847-995-9000 today for a free consultation.