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The Issue of Density – Overview

Meeting a patient’s expectation of density is the second most important goal in goals in hair transplantation, right behind naturalness. What a patient wants to know is how much area can be covered and how thick will it look. The answer to these questions varies extensively depending on a number of factors. The good news is that if a patient is a good candidate, meeting expectations of density can be achieved.


Meeting density expectations can be difficult due to the constraints of a limited donor supply. The amount of hair available from the donor area is limited and less than the amount of hair that originally existed in the recipient area before hair loss began. Therefore, we can never re-create true, hair-for-hair density (hair/unit area). As a consequence, a critical challenge in hair restoration surgery is to create the best illusion of density at lower-than-normal densities. Fortunately, this illusion of density, or appearance of fullness, can be created with much less than the original amount of hair. The maximum degree of density that can be achieved varies from patient to patient and is determined by many factors including: donor supply, current hair loss, future hair loss, and hair characteristics (color curl and caliber).

To achieve maximum density, a physician must have two distinct skill sets. First, he/she must be able to move large numbers of delicate grafts in a way that ensures the maximum survival and minimal waste of each hair. Second, the physician must know how to move the hair in the most effective way possible utilizing patterns, distributions and techniques that create the greatest appearance of fullness with the least amount of hair. Skill and experience in these two areas will determine if a surgeon is able to reach a patient’s maximum potential.

SMG is an expert in maximizing density. Dr. Ron Shapiro has been asked to lecture on this topic at international conferences around the world (see CV). Some the specific factors that influence density are discussed in more detail in the sections below.


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“Thank you very much for your attention. I am very happy with the results of the surgery. After 3 months only I already have full hair coverage in all the affected areas and don’t need to use the hair clips like I used to do for many years. Please give my beast regards to Dr. Shapiro and the team...”Read More

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