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Can a Hair Transplant Cover the Whole Head?

Actual Patient

There are many types of people interested in hair transplants. Some fit into the classic mold of older, balding males. But others like a woman experiencing a prematurely receding hairline, may not fit the typical stereotype. Either way, a hair transplant can help the people with both examples and many more.

Why Do People Go Bald?

When you think about it, balding of the head is an unusual thing. Other parts of our body do not often go bald—our arms and legs, for instance. And yet, our most aesthetically important hair (the hair on our head) can fall out, leaving us with a naked scalp.

So, why does this happen? And why is it so much more common in men?

The answer seems to be testosterone—and that is why balding is more common in men. Specifically, a chemical called Dihydrotestosterone impacts our hair growth or, rather, lack thereof.

When your hair follicles have too much Dihydrotestosterone, they will stop your hair from growing. Thankfully, there are some parts on your scalp that are totally resistant to the negative impact of Dihydrotestosterone. These areas are what hair transplant surgeons use as “donor” regions from which follicular units and grafts are taken and added to the areas of your scalp that are balding.

The donor area of the scalp covers about one-third or less of your head. And a portion of this hair can be used to “seed” and help other areas of your scalp grow. The thing to understand, though, is that the donor portion of your head is not unlimited. High-quality surgeons like Dr. Pak at the Jae Pak MD Medical take only about a third or less of the donor-area-hair per graft. The reason only this amount is taken has to do with ensuring the donor area still looks good after the procedure is finished, for it wouldn’t make much sense if your surgeon simply replaced one bald region with another.

Large Hair Transplant

Thankfully no one goes completely bald naturally because of the small Dihydrotestosterone-resistant part of the scalp that everyone has. But, let’s say every part of someone’s head other than the small donor area is bald. Then what? Well, in that case, the patient can see some very pleasing results from a hair restoration transplant, but no, they will not be able to cover their entire head.

Why? It is simply a matter of the amount of donor hair versus the amount of space that needs to be covered. If only one-third of your head has hair and the other two-thirds are bald, and within that one-third section of hair on your head only another one-third can be used as donor’s hair, then you are dealing with a situation where you can only fully cover about a sixth of your bald spots.

Thankfully, for most hair loss sufferers, going totally bald is rare, and people typically have more than enough donor’s hair to cover their needs.

Which Type of Hair Transplant Is Best for Large Areas?

There are two types of hair transplant procedures: Follicular Unit Extraction and Follicular Unit Transplantation. While both methods work well and are highly effective, there are times when one method may be better than the other. For large areas, some surgeons may prefer using the FUT method, but it all depends. If the FUE procedure method is used in a large recipient area, it can still work very well but will take more hours than the FUT method.

What Are the Types of Baldness?

There are several types of baldness common in both men and women.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia affects more than 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States. This ailment is commonly known as “male” or “female” pattern baldness or hair loss.

  • Male Pattern Baldness: Male pattern baldness usually occurs gradually and can start at any point after puberty. The main area that most men first see male pattern baldness is on the crown of their head. Most men who experience male pattern hair loss eventually go bald.
  • Female Pattern Baldness: Rather than on specific points on the scalp, women usually experience a more overall thinning that occurs all around their heads.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss where the hair follicles stop producing new hair for growth.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune illness that can lead to dramatic and fast-moving hair loss.

What is Full-Coverage Hair Transplant?

The term “full coverage” is a term that refers to using a high density of hair grafts to cover bald areas. This does not necessarily mean “full coverage” over the entire scalp. As mentioned, if the entire scalp is bald, more than traditional hair loss methods may be necessary.

Most qualified doctors will not consider doing lower density hair transplants merely to try and cover more space over the head. The idea is not to have thin hair spread out as far as possible—but, rather, a sculpted look that gets you the most out of what you have to work with.

Donor Hair Does Not Grow Back

The reason it is so important for doctors to only take about a third of the donor’s hair for grafts is that, the hair extracted during a hair transplant process does not grow back. This is because your surgeon is not only taking the superficial part of your hair but literally the entire follicle. This is necessary if he or she is going to properly seed your donor hair into the balding area. Keep in mind that you do not simply want to replace one bald area with another, so make sure that you and your doctor are on the same page when it comes to making extracting grafts and hair follicular units from your donor’s hair because your donor hair is not an ultimate resource and needs to be carefully considered.

Regardless of how much more hair transplanting you need, it is worth consulting with a qualified hair transplant specialist or surgical hair restoration specialist to see if and how they can help.