Two Different Procedures: BHT for body hair to scalp restoration, and BHT for hair transplantation to the chest, pubic region, and other areas where more hair is desired
Body hair transplantation using scalp hairs is a procedure designed to restore hair most commonly to the chest and abdomen area, but can also be applied to the pubic area, axilla, and any other area hair is desired, to both thicken the existing hair or to provide hair growth where there is none. The absence of hair could be due to genetics, prior electrolysis, laser hair removal, or even surgery scar repair, burns or other types of accidents. Some patients seek to have restored only a thin amount of coverage or filling-in of a limited area (i.e. central chest or pubic triangle), while others desire a thick chest and central abdomen area. For some of these cases where maximum density is desired, a second procedure may be necessary.
Body Hairs as Donor Hairs – the Most Common Type of BHT Performed by Dr. Epstein and the Foundation
The other type of body hair transplant is actually when these body hairs are used as donor hairs to help fill in thinning or balding areas of the scalp. This FUE procedure is described in further detail below.
Both BHT for the providing of donor hairs for the scalp, and BHT for restoring hair to the chest and other areas of the body are both procedures in which Dr. Epstein has been a leader, performing an average of four procedures per week. Because of his reputation and unique experience, most patients travel in for a procedure.
BHT as Donor Hairs
Whereas nearly all hair transplant procedures use donor hairs from the scalp, in the occasional patient who either has a need for a large number of grafts beyond what the scalp can provide, or has had prior hair transplant work that has extracted most if not all of the available scalp donor hairs, body hair transplantation can provide a whole new source of hairs. These body hairs are most commonly from the chest, beard and or back, which once transplanted into the scalp (or eyebrows) will start to grow like normal body hair in texture and other characteristics, including continuing to grow as if they were always on the scalp. One common area where these grafts are placed can be old donor site scars, helping to reduce their visibility.
BHT for treating male pattern hair loss is a HIGHLY refined and challenging technique, for the body hairs can be very difficult to extract in certain patients. The best areas for these donor hairs are the beard and chest. In one of these procedures, anywhere from 500 to 4000 body hair grafts can be extracted in one, occasionally two, days. These grafts, most containing one or two hairs, are carefully extracted using FUE techniques that we have developed, one at a time, from the back, chest, abdomen, and or beard. Because of the sensitivity of the chest in particular when extracting grafts, some patients will choose to have their procedure performed under twilight sedation, supervised by our own anesthesiologist/anesthetist. Once extracted, these grafts need to be further refined under the microscope to remove excess fat and or skin to assure the most aesthetic results, These hairs are then transplanted into the scalp into carefully made recipient sites made by Dr. Epstein just like he has been performing hair restoration procedures for over 23 years. Sometimes these grafts can go into old donor site scars, where they can reduce their visibility.
The donor area needs to be kept covered with antibiotic ointment for five days, by which point the donor site scars heal up. Meanwhile, the transplanted hairs will fall out by two weeks, then start to regrow- just like scalp hairs – at four months or so, then continue to grow for a lifetime. Scarring is typically minimal to nonexistent – in the beard the donor sites are typically fully imperceptible, while in the chest or back or abdomen, a small percentage of patients can have barely perceptible tiny dots.
Examples of Body to Scalp Hair Transplants
These body hairs can be transplanted not only into balding scalp areas, but also into donor site scars where they can effectively improve coverage. Dr. Epstein is one of the few surgeons in the world with experience in this area. Please view this video to see one patient talk about his experience- he had over 900 chest hairs transplanted into the scalp, with nice regrowth.
As this is a procedure in which Dr. Epstein specializes, and few, if any, other surgeons offer it, most of our patients travel from out of town. The entire procedure can be scheduled by email, phone and virtual consultation, with our team able to evaluate photos sent by the patient.
Examples of Scalp to Body Hair Transplants
A Typical Body Hair Procedure
A scalp to body hair procedure typically involves the placement of 200 to as many as 3,400 or more one and two hair grafts, depending upon the desired density and the size of the areas to be covered. Performed under a mild oral sedative, the three- to eight-hour procedure is essentially painless, as is the recovery period. The only exception is when filling large areas of the chest, the anesthetizing process can be somewhat uncomfortable, therefore some patients choose to have it performed under twilight intravenous sedation under the supervision of an anesthetist in one of our accredited procedure rooms. For the first five days after the procedure, tiny crusts are around each transplanted hair. By the second day, patients are able to travel home and resume normal activities without any sign of having had a procedure. Sutures that are placed in the donor area are dissolvable so there is no need to return to the office for removal. The transplanted hairs fall out at around two weeks, then start to regrow at three months, where they will continue to grow for a lifetime.