What is a hair graft when referring to a hair transplant?


Hair is one of the body’s most essential features and plays a vital role in defining your appearance. However, if you experience hair loss, that could cause a lot of anxiety, which is why people are driven to search for solutions when it happens. One of these solutions is hair grafting which was developed to help individuals who have lost more than 50% of their original hair follicle coverage.

Hair transplants are not only a common hair cosmetic option but can be the solution to your entire head of hair. But before you decide to undergo this procedure, it is essential that you know what hair grafts are and how they work differently from other aesthetic procedures.

Grafts: The Basics

The technical definition for a graft is a piece of living tissue taken from one part of your body (the donor) without its blood supply and transplanted to another part of the body (the receiver). After this procedure, it is expected that the local tissue will reintegrate with it and give it back its blood supply. The graft is usually made from the patient’s tissue, which is then implanted back into the recipient. Now that that’s out of the way. Let’s take a look at what a hair graft is and how it works.

How Hair Grafts Work

When it comes to hair transplantation, a graft more appropriately means a follicular unit. That refers to a group of hairs clustered together into a single spot. So when we go in to get that follicular unit — either by FUE or another technology method — we’re extracting that graft and implanting it into a new location.

Hair grafts are the main component of a successful hair transplant—and they play an essential role in creating the new hair follicles that will replace your damaged ones. Once they have been taken and transferred to your scalp, they can begin growing new follicles and creating new hairs.

Hair Grafts Vs. Hair Plugs

It is important to note that hair grafts and plugs are two different things, but they both involve the same process: hair transplants. Hair plugs, even though quite popular in the past, are much less commonly used by clinics in hair replacement procedures today. A plug involves using a large punch to grab a large hair follicle unit. This group of hairs is much larger and bulkier than you get with the much less invasive hair graft procedures in use today. Once removed from the donor area, the plugs are transferred and transplanted as on in the scalp area requiring the transplant. At its simplest, using hair plugs for hair transplantation can more or less be likened to uprooting a plant and replanting it in a different location. Hair plugs are much more invasive and generally produce results that aren’t as clean and perfect as an average FUE procedure, which is why you’ll find them in much less common use today.


So there you have it! A graft is simply a piece of tissue that is moved from one location to another on a patient’s body with the expectation that the new location will reintegrate and reestablish blood supply to the tissue. And in the context of hair transplantation, hair grafts are a collection of one or more hairs that serve different purposes during hair replacement procedures. We encourage you to research hair grafts and hair transplantation or visit us here at Northwestern Hair. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

Schedule a Consult

Interested in hair replacement? Schedule a complimentary consultation with a Northwestern Hair specialist. Choose between comprehensive in-person and convenient virtual consultations.