If you have extensive hair loss, you might be wondering if you have enough hair on your scalp to perform a hair transplant. If you haven’t, body hair transplants offer an alternative way to tackle your scalp hair loss.
Hair transplant statistics show that almost 7% of hair transplants used body hair rather than scalp hair . In this article, learn everything you need to know about body hair transplants, including:
Yes, you can transplant body hair to your scalp.
While body hair can have a slightly different texture and colour to your scalp hair, skilled hair transplant surgeons can still blend body hair into your existing scalp hair, giving you a fuller head of hair (and a confidence boost).
Beard hair used to perform crown hair transplant.
A body hair transplant involves removing hair follicles from any area of the body and implanting them in the scalp to produce permanent hair replacement.
This patient has had a successful body hair transplant, with hair taken from his chest and thigh to give him strong scalp coverage :
While scalp hair transplants can be completed using follicular unit transplantation (FUT) or follicular unit extraction (FUE) techniques, only FUE is suitable for body hair transplants . (Armpit hair is an exception; FUT is often preferred as scarring can be easily hidden, and it can be difficult to extract grafts with FUE.)
Body hair transplants are almost exclusively used by patients who don’t have enough scalp donor hair to get the required coverage.
You might not have enough donor scalp hair if:
Certain hair loss conditions — such as alopecia areata and alopecia totalis — can make you ineligible for a body hair transplant. Learn more about if you can get a hair transplant for alopecia areata.
Hair from several areas of the body can be used for body hair transplants:
Results from the 2022 ISHRS Practice Census show that while the vast majority of hair transplants use hair from the scalp, 5% use facial hair, 1.2% use chest hair, and 0.7% use hair from other areas of the body .
Beard hair transplants can be used to treat male pattern baldness if the man has a healthy supply of facial hair. Often, men with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) have thick, full beards, as the hormone that causes hair loss actually stimulates beard growth .
This shouldn’t be confused with beard transplants, in which hair from the scalp donor area is transplanted to the face and neck.
After the scalp and beard, the chest and stomach are the most common areas to extract hair for transplants. Research suggests the chest is one of the best sources of donor hair after the scalp, but growth and yield is still moderate .
Chest hair often grows in whorls, which means hair transplant surgeons must be careful when placing chest hairs to ensure a natural hair pattern.
Before and after hair transplant repair using torso hair.
Leg hair is used less often than beard, chest, and stomach hair, but it may still be appropriate in some cases. The legs produce finer, shorter hairs than other areas, so it can be a good source of hair for the hairline and temple, where hair tends to be finer .
While much less common, it’s also possible to harvest hair grafts from the pubic area and the armpit. These hairs often have a different texture and growth pattern to other body hair, so a wider punch may be needed to extract the grafts.
Body hair transplants have a good success rate. In one research paper, every patient who completed the study reported a good experience in terms of healing, hair growth, and satisfaction with the surgical outcome .
Researchers noted that the graft take (i.e. the number of transplanted hair grafts that produce permanent hair) is slightly lower in body hair transplants (75-80%) than in scalp hair transplants (around 95%) .
75-80% graft uptake is still a good success rate and will offer substantial coverage across balding areas.
Find out how body hair transplants work in this step-by-step guide.
First, the donor area must be prepared for surgery. Your surgeon will mark the areas where they’ll extract the hair grafts, whether it’s from your beard, chest, stomach, legs, or pubic area. The area will then be numbed with a local anaesthetic.
Using a micropunch, your surgical team will extract hair grafts from the marked areas. Each graft consists of 1-5 follicles. The micropunch allows surgeons to extract each graft individually, leaving tiny wounds that heal quickly and leave minimal scarring.
The extracted follicles are placed in a solution to keep them healthy until it’s time to implant them in your scalp.
Next, your surgical team will numb your scalp, and make tiny incisions in the balding or thinning areas. This prepares your scalp for the next stage: transplanting the hair grafts.
Each hair graft is carefully implanted in the micro-incisions. The surgical team places each graft according to thickness, size, and growth direction, helping your new hair blend into your existing hair. This process is repeated until you have the agreed coverage.
When all your grafts are in place, your surgical team will dress your scalp and donor areas with bandages to protect your wounds while they heal. They’ll also give you hair transplant aftercare instructions to help your body hair transplant heal without complications.
Like scalp hair transplants, body hair transplants are permanent. Your new hair grafts will last for the rest of your life (although like all body hair, you can expect some light thinning as you get older).
Body hair transplants are no more painful than regular scalp transplants. You might have some soreness while the team administers the anaesthetic, but after this you should feel mild discomfort at most.
You may also be offered a sedative to help you feel calmer during the procedure.
One of the drawbacks of using body hair for a transplant is that it won’t grow longer than it would have in its previous position. For example, chest hair will only grow a few centimetres.
So while it can give you good coverage, body hair might not give you the length you want, especially for female hair transplant patients.
Not everyone is suitable for body hair transplants. Research suggests body hair transplant patients should be carefully selected, and limited to those with poor donor scalp hair and good body hair availability .
If you have a good amount of donor hair available on your scalp, this is usually the preferred option. But if any of the following apply to you, you could be a good candidate for a body hair transplant:
To find out if a body hair transplant is a viable option for you, book a free consultation at one of the Wimpole Clinic’s nationwide clinic locations.
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