It started with a few throwbacks to the 90s: ripped jeans, flannel shirts and men with long hair. More recently, it was New Balance trainers and, God help us, neon windbreakers. With the death of Kurt Cobain now 20 years behind us, 90s nostalgia is upon us and is influencing our fashion, attitude and of course, our facial hair.
Yes it seems the era known as the ‘decade of music’ has us wanting our carefree hair and grungy beards back and is not letting up. According to statistics recorded by WhatClinic.com, which polled over 450 clinics specialising in hair transplants, the number of men wanting beard transplants is up by 72%. Actors, celebrities and sports stars are all donning a more hirsute look as the recently favoured, clean-shaven ‘Madmen’ look goes thoroughly out the window again.
Beard growth on men however is not necessarily a given; many men struggle to grow their facial hair or find that their beard growth is inconsistent, making for a patchy-looking and irregular facial hair look. With fashions coming and going so quickly, we’re going to look today at the beard transplant procedure itself and lay out all the facts for creating a new facial hair look on men.
How does a beard transplant work?
The procedure of hair transplant is the same whether you want to transplant a beard, goatee or any facial hair. The process therefore starts with the extraction of hair follicles from the donor site.
There are two methods of hair extraction:
1. FUE (follicular hair extraction) FUE hair transplant or Follicular Unit Excision is where individual hair grafts are harvested directly from the donor area. A circular incision is made in the skin around the upper part of the follicle from a broad area of the back of the scalp. The location of the donor area is chosen to have long-term stability. It is then extracted (pulled) directly from the scalp. The hair tissue is then grafted finely and placed into the destination area, which is the final step in the hair transplant process.
2. FUT (follicular unit transplant or strip extraction) Follicular
Unit Transplantation (FUT) is the one of the state-of-the-art hair transplant procedures offered here at The Wimpole Clinic. Hair grows in natural groupings called follicular units. During the procedure, a small amount of hair is removed from a donor area (usually at the back of the head) and under microscopic magnification, grafts are created that keep these natural groupings intact. The grafts are then placed into tiny micro-incisions created in the hair loss area in a distribution that mimics the individual’s natural hair growth.
Over time, the transplanted hair takes on the characteristics of regular beard hair and the individual will be able to shave it normally, after which it will grow to a length and style the individual can decide on.
In the initial consultation with the surgeon before hair replacement surgery, he will suggest how many grafts are available for the first procedure and if any subsequent procedures are needed. This number will be based on the present balding pattern and will take into account the predicted future of hair loss together with how much donor hair is available.
Is the beard transplant procedure painful?
No. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and mild sedation. This means that both the donor and recipient sites are totally desensitised. The patient will experience a discomfort when the anaesthetic is initially applied. Surprisingly patients feel very little discomfort and can watch TV, listen to music or chat during the procedure. Some patients experience some discomfort 1-3 days after the surgery which is easily controlled with mild pain relief such as Paracetamol.
How quickly can you get a beard transplant and how long does it take?
After the initial consultation and confirmation of a suitable procedure, the surgery can be booked at the earliest convenience. An average surgery session will take 6-10 hours. Patients should set aside one full day and not make any arrangements on the day of surgery. If the person is having a larger session of FUE (over 1500 FUE grafts) then they will need to attend for two consecutive days of surgery.
The new hair starts to grow between 14-16 weeks and will take at least 6 months for the new hair to make a significant cosmetic difference to your appearance.
This varies with the patient and the size of the facial region. In order to achieve acceptable density it is likely that a minimum of 2 sessions with a space of 6 months in between will be required.
Is a beard transplant permanent?
To provide a natural appearance, the hairs are transplanted as individual (and sometimes two hair) grafts. Great care is taken to assure natural growth and appearance including the careful placement of the grafts at the exact angle and direction of typical growth. Once placed, the microscopically dissected grafts of a beard transplant are permanent.
At the Wimpole Clinic we have seen a large number of male patients for beard transplant and have produced some fantastic results whether the facial hair quota be large or small. If you would like to discuss your options for beard transplant, free of charge, get in touch with us here. We also have a gallery of successful hair transplant procedures so take a look and start to visualise.