How Long Can a Hair Graft Survive Outside the Body?

How Long Can A Hair Graft Survive

The graft survival rate is the primary concern of both patients and surgeons when it comes to hair transplant surgery. The goal of every hair transplant surgeon is to have all the harvested grafts inserted into the recipient sites within six hours. But in major hair restoration surgeries, involving 2500 or above hair grafts, sometimes it is not possible for the surgeon to implant all the extracted grafts in a single session. In this case, the first question that the patients ask is, “How long can a hair graft survive outside the body?” And this remains the primary concern of hair restoration physicians as well, after all, everybody has a limited donor supply and they can’t afford to waste extracted hair follicles.

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Grafts do not die quickly:

Grafts are very resilient and do not die as soon as they are detached from the blood supply. In general, six hours is considered the outside time limit for implantation. After that, grafts begin to die, and if they don’t die, their ability to grow hairs s affected big time. Graft survival rate declines considerably the longer you keep it out of the body. Therefore, if you are going to get a hair transplant involving 2500 or more follicular units, make sure you opt for a hair restoration facility with enough competent staff to get the job done well within proper time limits.

However, with proper care graft survival rate out of the body can be significantly increased. There are several factors that affect a graft’s survival rate outside the body, but at the top of the list is hydration. A graft must remain well hydrated to survive outside the human body. It has been proven that dehydration is the most common factor that adversely affects graft and inhibits hair growth. It has been shown that if refrigerated in saline water with proper care, a graft can survive up to 24 hours.

Graft Survival in case of FUE Hair Transplant:

Having that said, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a slower process and involves direct extraction of grafts from the donor area. Surgeons usually extract grafts as and when needed. In simple words, a limited number of grafts is extracted and implanted into the recipient area. Once all of them have been implanted, the surgeon harvests a few more grafts and transplant them. This practice continues until the desired number of grafts has been extracted and implanted. This way, performing the surgery in more than one session does not affect graft survival.

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If you still have any concerns regarding graft survival out of the body, or you are interested in a hair transplant surgery, schedule a free online consultation and let our experts guide you. To book an online appointment, fill the form below.


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Written By: Dr. Cagatay Sezgin

Dr. Cagatay Sezgin is a celebrity hair transplant surgeon with over 20 years of experience in hair transplantation and restoration. He is the First Turkish Board Surgeon to become a member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) and the Asian Association of Hair Transplant Surgeons (AAHRS). Moreover, he has the honor of becoming the first hair transplant surgeon in the world to perform hair, eyebrow, and beard transplantation all in one case and that too in a single session.

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