Glossary - A guide to Hair Transplant Surgery

A list of the more commonly used terms in hair transplant surgery.


Alopecia The medical name for baldness.

Androgen A male hormone which is responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics.

Androgenetic alopecia The medical term for genetic male pattern baldness. It is influenced by the male hormone testosterone which affects the normal hair growth/loss cycle resulting in hair loss. This type of hair loss is permanent.


Baldness resistant The name given to types of hairs which are impervious to male pattern baldness.


Crown Also called the vertex: the top part of the scalp which contains a spiral pattern of hair growth.


Donor site The horseshoe pattern of hair around the back of the head and just above the ears. This contains ‘baldness-resistant’ hairs which are used as donor hairs for transplantation.

Donor dominant The notion that transplanted units of hair will function in exactly the same way as donor hairs. In other words, these donor hairs control how they grow in the recipient area.


Enzyme A protein molecule in the body which acts as a catalyst in a specific reaction. In this case, the enzyme 5-alpha reductase acts as a catalyst on testosterone to produce the derivative dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is an important factor in male pattern baldness.


Female pattern baldness A form of hair loss in which hair is lost on the top of the scalp. It differs from male pattern baldness in that it doesn’t involve the hairline or result in complete baldness on the top of the head. It tends to be more diffused than male baldness.

Follicle A hair follicle is a pouch shaped structure with sebaceous glands which combines old cells together to form hair. The thickness of this hair is decided by the number of sebaceous glands. The more glands there are the thicker the hair.

Follicular unit A group of hair follicles, usually 2 to 3 hairs which are removed for transplantation.

Follicular unit extraction A process in which individual follicular units are directly removed from the donor site. These units are then implanted into the recipient site with minimal scarring.


Graft A thin piece of skin with hair follicles that is removed from the donor site. These are either micrografts (1 to 2 hairs) or minigrafts (3 to 4 hairs).


Hair follicle See follicle.

Hair plugs A slang term given to the large ‘tufts’ or ‘toothbrush’style of hair grafts which were once a feature of hair transplant surgery. But new, innovative forms of surgery have replaced these.


None at present.


None at present.


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Male pattern baldness See androgenetic alopecia: a genetic form of baldness in which men gradually lose their hair over a period of time. This usually starts in their late thirties and carries on into middle age.

Micrograft A type of graft with 1 to 2 hairs.

Minigraft A type of graft with 3 to 4 hairs. There is also a large minigraft with 5 to 6 hairs.


None at present.


None at present.


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Recipient site The name given to the areas of the scalp where hair loss has occurred. This is usually the hairline and the top of the scalp.


Scalp reduction A type of hair loss surgery in which a bald area of the scalp is removed and the remaining edges are pulled together and stitched.


The long, thin fibre of hair that protrudes from the scalp.


Trichotillomania A compulsive disorder in which someone experiences string urges to tug or pull out their own hair. This weakens the hair follicles and results in hair loss.


None at present.


Vertex Another name for the crown: the top part of the scalp near the back of the head.


None at present.


None at present.


None at present.


None at present.

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