Q: What causes graft popping during a hair transplant? G.K. – Carle Place, N.Y.
A: Popping, or the tendency for grafts to elevate after they have been placed into the recipient area, is caused by a number of factors including:
- Packing the grafts too closely, particularly when they are placed on a very acute (sharp) angle with the skin
- Rough placing techniques
- Poor fit between the graft and recipient site
- Natural characteristics of the patient’s skin, including the elasticity and stickiness of wound edges
The problem with popping is that it exposes grafts to drying (while they are elevated on the skin surface) and trauma (when they have to be re-inserted).
The judgment and experience of the surgeon performing hair transplants is extremely important in minimizing popping. It is important that the surgeon customize the site size to the different size follicular unit grafts and to test the recipient sites as they are made, to make sure that the “fit” is perfect.
Although it is important to place grafts close together to get the best cosmetic result possible, over-packing of the grafts risks popping and other factors (such as overwhelming the blood supply) that may lead to poor growth.
In the end, maximum growth of the transplanted hair should be the primary goal.
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