When harvesting hair using the strip method, approximately how big is the strip for the average procedure? Does this cause any side effects like a stretched or tight feeling or anything else?
The length of the donor strip is dependent on several variables:
- The number of follicular unit grafts (1, 2, 3, or 4 hairs) needed to transplant a certain scalp region.
- The density of grafts per square centimeter. The greater the density the more grafts can be harvested in a shorter strip. Therefore, if a patient has less density over the donor region, he or she will require a longer strip of tissue to obtain the number of grafts required for transplantation.
- The elasticity of the donor region allows a wider strip to be harvested and still be closed without tension. The average width of a donor strip is 1 centimeter wide, but with a loose or elastic scalp we can harvest up to 2 centimeters in width. The wider the strip the more grafts can be harvested over the same length. Greater elasticity allows the surgeon to take a shorter, but wider strip and still harvest as many grafts.
Most patients with a loose scalp do not feel any tightness over the donor region. Those patients with a tight scalp may feel a tightness or a stretch sensation for 7 to 14 days, or until the stitches are removed over the donor region. In a few months, the scalp elasticity will return to its pre-surgery status.
— Dr. Shelly Friedman, DO
Board Certified Hair Restoration Surgeon
Arizona’s Most Trusted Hair Loss Doctor
Named Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doc – Hair Transplant Surgeon