Body hairs as donor hairs
Before and after body hair transplants from back
Whereas most hair transplant procedures utilize donor hairs from the scalp, a growing number of patients are relying on the use of body hair transplants to provide additional grafts beyond what the scalp can provide. Using body hair for scalp restoration, and for hair transplantation to the chest, pubic region, and other areas of the body where more hair is desired.
Most commonly these hairs come from the beard, but also from the chest, the abdomen, the back, even the arms, legs and pubic region. The beard is the preferable source, due to the greater reliability of regrowth, and the quick and excellent healing.
The most common type of body hair transplant
The most common reason body hair transplant is performed is that the patient had prior hair transplants that have depleted most if not all of the available scalp donor hairs. Another indication is the desire of the patient to use body hair to obtain grafts for transplanting into prior donor site scars where the patient prefers not to apply any remaining scalp hairs to fix these scars. Finally, there is the occasional patient where beard donor hairs are preferable to scalp hairs for restoring a beard.
While hair growth in the beard is similar to that of the scalp, except for the tendency for these hairs to be coarser, hair growth in the chest and back and arms is typically shorter- however once transplanted into the scalp (or eyebrows) these hairs can sometimes take on characteristics more like scalp hair in terms of texture and the ability to grow long as if they were always on the scalp, particularly if these chest or back hairs tend to grow long.
Dr. Epstein on Body Hair Transplants
Transplanting over 3000 hairs from the back of a male patient, Dr. Epstein was able to achieve at just 8 months an impressive increase in density and aesthetics of this patient’s scalp.
Body hair grafts
To harvest these body hair grafts, advanced FUE techniques are utilized, avoiding any linear donor site incision. In the beard, these donor areas heal up in two, sometimes three days, while in the chest or abdomen, the healing can take weeks to months in the occasional case. The beard donor areas heal without any scarring, while in the chest or back or abdomen, there can be very small dot scars where the grafts were removed.
Male pattern hair loss
Body hair transplants for treating male pattern hair loss is a refined technique, for the body hairs can be challenging to extract. The best areas for these donor’s hairs are the beard wherein one procedure 500 to as many as 2000 hair grafts can be extracted in one, occasionally two, days. These grafts, most containing one or two hairs, are carefully extracted using specialized FUE techniques, one at a time. Most often the procedure is performed under oral sedation and local anesthesia, and patients tend to do very well with minimal to no discomfort other than the injection of anesthesia.
For the chest, however, there is much more sensitivity so, in most patients, the procedure is performed under twilight sedation administered by our anesthetist. Once extracted, these grafts sometimes need to be dissected under the microscope to remove excess fat and or skin to assure the most aesthetic results, then transplanted into the scalp into carefully made recipient sites in the scalp all made by Dr. Epstein.
Old donor site scars
Sometimes these grafts can go into old donor site scars, where they can reduce their visibility. These body hair grafts are typically not used for restoring hairlines, rather they are more commonly used for improving the density of the mid-scalp and or crown. Prior to a body hair transplant procedure of any areas other than the beard (where no prep is necessary other than shaving the area four to five days prior to the procedure, the following steps are to be applied on all the potential planned-for donor areas (chest, abdomen, etc): Rogaine 5% be applied once a day for six weeks before; and the areas be shaved using a clipper or regular razor five days before. These two steps will allow for the selection of the strongest hairs for use in the transplant.
After the procedure, the donor area is kept covered with a special ointment provided by the office for five days to ensure the best healing. 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.
* All patients are unique and individual results may vary.
Chest to scalp hair restoration
Dr. Epstein is one of a selected group of surgeons with experience using body hair for scalp restoration. Please view this video to see a patient who 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 webcam (a very popular option).
Body hair transplants to the chest and other areas
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, arms, 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.
* All patients are unique and individual results may vary.
Scalp to body hair procedure
A scalp to body hair procedure typically involves the placement of 200 to as many as 3,500 or more hair grafts, depending upon the desired density and the size of the areas to be covered. Each graft, depending on the area, can have one, two, or even three hairs. Performed usually under oral sedation but sometimes under twilight sedation for larger procedures, the three to eight-hour procedure is essentially painless, as is the recovery period.
For the first five days after the procedure, there will be tiny crusts 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. Because the donor’s hairs are harvested from the scalp using FUE techniques, there are no sutures and the healing takes three to five daysThe transplanted hairs fall out at around two weeks, then start to regrow at three months, where they will continue to grow for a lifetime.