Hair transplant surgery has evolved significantly in the last decade. And there is a lot of research being done to better the hair follicle or graft yield, and to make the transplant look as natural and aesthetically pleasing as possible. Meanwhile, one of the methods of hair transplant – which uses body hair to replace lost hair on the scalp – is becoming popular.
In hair transplant procedures like Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) or Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), follicles are harvested from the donor area, which is usually the rear and sides of the head which are not prone to hair loss, and transplanted onto the bald areas. However, the supply of hair follicles or grafts in these areas can be one of the limiting factors in certain situations.
Infact, in advanced stages of androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern hair loss, the number of follicles available for harvesting is limited. It is in such cases that the surgeon can use Body Hair Transplantation or BHT, which means harvesting hair follicles from beard, chest, upper back or arms and transplanting them onto the scalp.
However, the patient needs to understand a few things before getting the procedure. The first of them being – body hair behaves very differently than scalp hair. Its growth cycle is different, and it also looks different than scalp hair. Body hair doesn’t grow very long.
It is also important to note that most body hair follicular units are thin and have single follicles. Which means that to get the density that the patient wants, more grafts are needed. The surgeon also has to determine whether the patient’s body hair is suitable for a transplant.
The depth of the body hair follicle, the direction of its growth, and its characteristics are all different than scalp hair, so the results of the transplant will vary, compared to when the donor area is the scalp.
Body hair maintains its characteristics after the transplant, which means it will grow shorter compared to scalp hair, and grow slowly. The post surgery recovery timeline, however, will be almost the same as in the case of donor area being the scalp. The transplanted hair will start to fall out after about two weeks and regrowth will start by the third or fourth month, and after about a year, the hair grows normally.
For best results from BHT, it is necessary that the doctor is experienced enough in the procedure. The surgeon’s expertise will come into play during the extraction of grafts, their preparation, and arrangement in the transplant area. How the hair looks aesthetically depends on the skill of the surgeon and how well they place the graft.
The success of such a transplant is also contingent on how well the body hair will adapt to the head, and its growth cycle.
For BHT, FUE method is used. The FUE Hair Transplant is well suited as it uses punches to remove individual grafts rather than removing a strip of follicles, which might leave scars on the body. Using FUE for body hair transplant also ensures quick recovery and minimal pain.
Body hair transplant ensures that even if the patient does not have enough hair follicles on the donor areas of the scalp, their body hair can be used for the procedure. It gives a lot of hope for people who are suffering advanced stages of pattern baldness.