The Distribution of Follicular Units in the Chinese Scalp: Implications for Reconstruction of Natural-Appearing Hairlines in Orientals

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Follicular transplantation using hair in its naturally occurring groups, called follicular units (FUs), has become the most popular technique in hair restoration surgery. Recently follicular transplantation was performed with a qualitative and quantitative concept to achieve the best clinical result. The characteristics and distribution of FUs are well studied in Caucasians and widely applied in hair transplantation surgery.

OBJECTIVE

In order to understand the normal distribution of FUs in the Chinese scalp, we counted the number of hairs and FUs in normal Chinese scalp to provide general information for surgical planning and design in bald Chinese patients.

METHODS

A total of 50 normal and 50 bald Chinese adults were enrolled to count the hairs on their scalp. One hundred bald patients receiving hairline reconstruction were also prospectively quantitatively evaluated.

RESULTS

In normal Chinese scalp, an average 71.78 FUs/cm2 and 137.08 hairs/cm2 were calculated with a follicular density of 1.91 hairs/FU. Two-hair FUs are the predominate group (50.29%). In bald patients, an average of 68.07 FUs/cm2 was found, which was less than that of the occipital scalp in normal nonbald patients. In reconstruction of the frontal hairline, a total of 700–1000 FUs were implanted with an average density of 30 FUs/cm2.

CONCLUSION

We found the average number of FUs (0.72 FU/mm2) was less than that in Caucasian patients (1 FU/mm2). The average density of 30 FUs/cm2 implanted was suitable to reconstruct a natural frontal hairline in bald Chinese patients, which can achieve about 40% of normal hair density. Our results could provide the hair surgeon with general information about hair distribution on the Chinese scalp for surgical planning and design in their patients.

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