What’s a Full Hair Transplant: Is Complete Coverage Possible?


You’ve probably heard a lot about full hair transplants and wondered, “How much coverage can they actually achieve?” Will they be able to completely cover my balding areas with new hair? Or will I need a second hair transplant?

Unfortunately, the answer to the question of full head hair transplants and full coverage is a slightly unsatisfying: It depends. The dependent factors include how much hair you have available for harvesting, the type of hair you have, any evidence of future hair loss, and your personal expectations for your hair restoration treatment.

We’ll go over each of these factors in depth to see how they affect the ability of a full hair transplant to achieve complete coverage. Before we begin, let’s start with a definition of a hair transplant and what we mean by “complete coverage.”


Hair Transplant:

When we hear the word “transplant,” we may immediately think of liver, kidney, or heart organ transplants. It is something given from one person to another.


The hair used in a hair transplant, on the other hand, is your own. Curly hair cannot be combined with straight hair, nor can your friend’s luscious locks be transplanted to your head. At the very least, none of these options are currently viable. Hair transplants do not have to be limited to the scalp. Beard transplants, brow transplants, and even eyelash transplants are now available as treatment options. There are a few different techniques available as well, with the most popular being follicular unit extraction (FUE) and direct hair implantation (DHI).

A modern hair transplant simply moves some of your remaining hair from the back or sides of your head to where it has fallen out, which is usually the top of your head. Hair is not harvested or created from outside sources; rather, it is a redistribution of the hair you already have on your head. A hair transplant, at its most basic, is a matter of supply and demand: how much hair your balding area requires versus how much hair your donor area can safely supply.


What is a complete coverage?

During your research on hair transplants, you may have come across this term a lot. Simply put, full or complete coverage is when a high density of hair grafts can be transplanted to the balding areas that a patient wants to cover. Hair then grows on these areas, resulting in a “complete coverage”.


Despite the fact that complete coverage is not possible, some patients insist on having their hair transplanted to all balding areas. This method covers all balding areas, but the density of the hair in these areas is low. Most hair specialists, however, advise against this method because experience has taught them that it does not produce an aesthetically pleasing, natural look that the patient will ultimately be satisfied with.


If your donor area has a limited amount of adequate hair, and you have a large balding area, most hair transplant doctors will focus on transplanting the available hair to the hairline and working back from there. Because this is the angle you see in the mirror or when people meet you, the initial focus is on achieving a good density of hair at the hairline.


Furthermore, hair at the front of your head can be grown longer and styled in specific ways to give the appearance of more fullness on the top and crown, even if the density of hair in these areas is lower. Other cosmetic products may also help to improve the appearance of fullness. For some, this is sufficient and gives them the impression of complete coverage.


As a result, it’s critical to understand exactly what your surgeon means when he or she talks about being able to achieve or not achieving complete coverage. This also helps to set your expectations for what a full hair transplant can accomplish for you.


So, in other words; full or complete coverage most often refers to when a high density of hair grafts can be transplanted to the balding areas a patient wishes to cover. If your donor area has a limited amount of available hair, and you have a large balding area, most hair transplant doctors will concentrate on transplanting the available hair to the hairline and work back from there.


How to know if you are eligible for a full coverage?

The ability to achieve complete coverage with a full head hair transplant can be influenced by a number of factors.


1. The amount of hair you’ve lost.

On the Norwood Scale, where does your hair loss fall?

Is it just a receding hairline?

Have you lost all of your hair in the front, top, and crown of your head?

Do you have full-blown Alopecia?


2. The amount and type of hair remaining in your donor area.

Do you only have a sliver of hair around the back of your head?

Or does the hair extend up the sides, with balding only on the top or front?

Is there any thick or wavy hair remaining in your donor area?

Or is it quite thin and flimsy?


3. Whether you’re likely to experience additional hair loss in the future.

How long have you been experiencing hair loss?

Is it genetic, in other words; is there a family history of hair loss that you are likely to inherit?

Let us now look more closely at some of these points.


Current Hair loss Stage:

The amount of hair you’ve lost and where you are on the Norwood Scale can help you and your doctor decide whether full coverage is a realistic goal for you.

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The Norwood Scale is a classification system used to assess the severity of male pattern baldness. In other words, it serves as a general guideline for determining the demand for your balding area.

Keep in mind, however, that the Norwood Scale should only be used as a guideline. For example, you may have a pattern of hair loss on the scale but still have some thin hair in the balding areas. As a result, your baldness pattern may not exactly follow any of the Norwood Scale patterns, or it may be a combination of several patterns.

When researching online and speaking with your doctor about your full hair transplant, you may come across the phrase “grafts per cm2.”

The area of your head that needs to be covered depends on the extent of your hair loss and the size of your scalp.


Hair Density to expect:

Natural hair density varies widely amongst individuals, with research even indicating that typical hair density varies by ethnicity.

Many of us who are thinking about getting a hair transplant fantasize about having the hair we had when we were younger. Unfortunately, duplicating the precise density of natural hair with a full head hair transplant is often not possible. However, with correct planning and design, this technique can still create the appearance of great density.

Because the balding area is so big and a substantial volume of hair has already been lost, someone whose hair loss is at stage six or seven on the Norwood Scale will typically struggle to attain complete covering with a full hair transplant.

However, someone with this level of baldness does not have to forego a full hair transplant if realistic expectations are set. Hair restoration surgery may still be able to rebuild a hairline to frame the face and give you the ideal look.


Donor Hair:

As previously said, the kind and quantity of hair in your donor location can be a deciding factor in getting comprehensive coverage.

In most cases, the donor area is a rectangular band that runs from ear to ear. It does not include the hair that extends down to your neck since it has less density and the hairs themselves are generally thinner or “miniaturized,” making them unsuitable for transplantation. It also excludes the crown region — the top, rear section of your head — because this area is often not resistant to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is thought to be the cause of hair loss.

And the most essential feature of the hairs on the back and sides of your head is that they are resistant to DHT. As the hormone assumed to be responsible for male pattern baldness, this explains why the donor area retains hair while the top and front of the hair thins and recedes.

Transplants work because hair from the donor area retains its resistance to DHT when transplanted to the balding area. This prevents future hair loss from the transplanted hair.

Body hair transplants (using hair from the chest, beard, and occasionally the legs, pubic or armpits) have also emerged as a viable option for supplementing donor hair when there is insufficient in the scalp area. However, because various types of body hair vary in thickness, texture, and color, they are not typically employed as the primary source of donor hair. They’re most typically utilized in conjunction with naturally-textured donor hair from the head to achieve the most natural-looking results.

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Unfortunately, donor hair does not regrow. This is due to the fact that during a transplant, the entire hair follicle (including the hair bulb, dermal papilla, sebaceous cells, dermal fat, and a little amount of skin) is removed. In order for the hair to grow anew when transplanted into the balding or thinning area, the entire hair follicle must be removed. Consider it like replanting a tree: you must dig up the roots along with the tree in order for it to thrive in a new area.


Hair Density:

The majority of males have 8,000–10,000 follicular units (or hair grafts / follicles) in their donor area. Doctors disagree on how much can be taken without significantly lowering the density. If the removal is too much and your hair density drops, you may wind up with very thin or with patches of hair missing. 

Your surgeons will make sure that they don’t remove too many grafts to maintain your donor area looking full and to prevent developing the very bald spots (or any scarring) you’re aiming to eradicate. If they harvest too many in an attempt to fill balding spots on the top and front of your head, the hair at the back of your head may appear thin and potentially with bald patches. All of these characteristics imply that the donor hair supply available for the recipient area and for a full hair transplant will always be limited.


Will you keep losing hair:

Once you’ve been losing hair for a time, and it’s started to stabilize, it’s recommended that you get a full hair transplant. A hair restoration procedure can replace lost hair, but it cannot prevent future hair loss. A family history of hair loss can be a useful predictor, but because you inherit genes from both your mother and father, your hair loss may not follow the same pattern as a relative’s.

If you have a full head hair transplant when your hair loss is still in its early stages, and before it has had a chance to stabilize, you may still experience the natural development of hair loss after your treatment. As a result, keep in mind that if this is the case, you may require a second transplant in the future to fill in places where hair has continued to fall out.


This must be considered while arranging your hair transplant so that the donor area can be conserved sufficiently to produce grafts for another treatment if necessary.


Important points about full hair transplant:

We can see that several parameters should be considered while considering hair transplant coverage. These elements consider your hair’s past, present, and future status. Overall, this means that the answer to the question “can I obtain full coverage?” is not a straightforward yes or no.


When it comes to your treatment, the figure for your hair graft estimate will indicate what is possible for your hair restoration, including how many grafts you will need to obtain coverage and the extent of that coverage.


When selecting a clinic for your procedures, make sure your graft estimate is clear before proceeding with the surgery. Many hair transplant clinics in Turkey, for example, claim to be able to transplant up to 4500 grafts in a single session.

Some patients anticipate that a number of grafts will be transplanted for them.


However, that amount is only a basic indication of what is achievable. It is the maximum number of grafts, not the average or default number. This figure will vary according to your suitability and eligibility for the treatment.


Your advanced hair transplant specialist will most likely be able to give you an early sense of how much coverage you may expect from your therapy after seeing some clear photos of your head. However, a more precise assessment will be possible during your initial visit prior to surgery.

During your initial visit, you and your certified doctor will discuss your expectations and plan your whole hair transplant together. Together you will assess how rich your donor area is and how many grafts are required for an acceptable result. This may include selecting whether to plan ahead of time for a second therapy to actively protect the donor location, or to transplant what is possible and wait.

In either scenario, you will need to wait at least 8-12 months (depending on your doctor’s advice) to see how your hair growth progresses following your full treatment.


Are you ready to begin your full hair transplant journey? Contact us right now for your completely free, non-binding assessment. From initial consultations to your successful recovery, Global Medical Care’s Medical Consultants are always available to provide assistance for you.


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