Q: Does dense packing hurt grafts? — P.L., Rye, NY
A: There is no absolute answer to this question. In a hair transplant, dense packing of grafts has a risk of decreasing yield if there is a significant amount of photo damage to the scalp (which alters the blood supply) and if there is a tendency for the grafts to pop (this is difficult to predict pre-operatively). Very closely spaced grafts exacerbate the popping and expose the grafts to desiccation (drying), hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and mechanical trauma from the necessary re-insertion.
That said, the skill of the hair transplant surgeon and placing team, the size of the recipient sites, and the way the grafts are dissected and trimmed all play important roles in determining graft survival in dense packing.