Posted 29/10/2022 in Hair Transplant

What is a hair graft?

What is a hair graft?

Table of Contents

      Medically reviewed & verified by: Prof. Dr. Naci Karacaoglan 

    Written by: ClinicAdvisor


    Most of the human body is covered with hair. Besides appearance, the hair also plays a role in maintaining the warmth balance of the body. 

    The fetus begins to develop hair buds in the upper lip and eyebrows as soon as he/she is two months old. These hair buds are in the form of cell clusters, which start to increase and expand to all body surfaces beginning in the 4th month.

    A typical adult human has over 5 million hairs on average covering his body. In some people, the condition of having more hair than normal is called 

    Congenital absence of hair is called Atrichie. A head completely covered with hair has an average of 100,000 hairs. The average lifespan of hair is between 2-7 years.

    At the end of this period, the hair falls out and new hair starts to grow from the hair root. So, what is hair? What is a hair follicle? And what is the hair growth cycle? Find the answers to all these questions below. 

    What is hair?

    Human hair consists of a special protein called keratin. Keratin is a durable substance also found in nails and skin. 

    The hair comes out of a sheath formed by the outermost layer of the skin, called the epidermis, by reaching into the skin like a finger glove. 

    Between the outer sheath and the hair shaft is the inner sheath. Between the inner sheath and the hair is the cuticle layer. These layers surrounding the hair together form a bun by extending into the skin. This is called the bulb. 

    The lower end of the bulbous again makes a hollow like a finger glove. Inside this cavity is the "papilla".  (See the illustration below)

    What is a hair graft?

    Hair grows from follicles lodged at 4 mm in the scalp. At birth, each individual has a capital of genetically determined hair follicles which only decreases over time.

    The hair is made up of a visible part, the shaft, and another part under the skin, the hair follicle. The hair follicle is made up of 2 units, the papilla and the bulb which is the true root of the hair. 

    The papilla contains the stem cells responsible for hair self-renewal. The intense division of these cells is responsible for the hair growth cycle.

    The bulb includes those cells that migrate to the surface and transform into keratinocytes to build the stem. It also includes specialized cells that produce the pigment responsible for the color of our hair: melanin.

    There is also a cone, called the "dermal papilla", which redistributes blood and nutrients in the bulb, and the sebaceous gland which produces sebum which forms a lipid film preventing hair dehydration.

    The inner structure of the hair

    What is a follicular unit?

    A follicular unit consists of 1, 2, or 3 (rarely 4 or 5) hair fibers, which are surrounded by a band of collagen. 

    At the base of the hair follicle are one or more sebaceous glands and an arrestor hair muscle. The entire scalp is made up of these follicular units, which usually contain between 2 and 3 hairs.

    Here’s a rough calculation of the number of hairs gained by transplanting a certain number of hair grafts:















    Learn how many hair grafts you need for a hair transplant based on your hair loss degree

    How are hair grafts extracted in hair transplants?

    In a hair transplant surgery, a follicular unit usually consists of 1 to 4 hair follicles, and this follicular unit is called a “graft”. 

    Grafts are extracted separately from the scalp using a micromotor. The harvested grafts are then placed in the recipient area (the bald area).

    The micromotor used in FUE hair transplantation has a sharp tip with a diameter of 0.35 to 1.0 mm. The appropriate diameter according to the hair size of the patient is placed on the micromotor. 

    With the adjustable diameter, the appropriate diameter is specially adjusted for each patient. As a result, no scar can be seen with the naked eye. In addition, the growth rate of transplanted grafts is above 98 percent.
    What is the hair growth cycle?

    The hair growth cycle happens in 3 phases:

    The Anagen Phase

    This phase is synonymous with the period of hair growth. This anagen phase of the hair follicle typically lasts between 2 and 5 years, the hair bulb is located at the bottom of the epidermis and remains there until the next phase. 85% of the hair is at this stage of growth.

    The Catagen Phase

    At the end of their growth period, the follicles enter a resting phase.

    This transition period of hair between regrowth and rest is called the catagen phase. This stage of hair development usually lasts between two and three weeks.

    During this catagen phase, the deepest part of the hair follicle begins to break down. 3% of the hair is at this stage of growth.

    The Telogen Phase

    This is the resting period of the hair follicle. It usually lasts between 6 to 7 months. At the end of this period, the oldest hair at the end of its life falls out while new hair begins to grow. About 12% of the hair is at rest.


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