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Can Hair Be Transplanted From Body to Scalp?
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Updated on September 13, 2023

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 [1]. In this article, learn everything you need to know about body hair transplants, including:

  • How body hair transplants work.
  • Where you can take body hair from for your transplant.
  • Whether a body hair transplant is a viable option for you.
Table of Contents

Can you transplant body hair to the head?

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.

Beard hair used to perform crown hair transplant.

What is a body 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 [2]:

Before and after body hair transplant
Before and after body hair transplant.

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 [2]. (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.)

Why have a body hair transplant?

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:

  • You have latter-stage male pattern baldness that has spread across the scalp. Male hair loss severity is measured on the Norwood Scale.
  • You’ve had one or more hair transplants previously, leading to a depleted donor area on your scalp.
  • You have scarring on the scalp, which has left your donor follicles unable to produce hair.

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.

Where can you take transplant hair from?

Hair from several areas of the body can be used for body hair transplants:

  • Beard
  • Chest
  • Stomach
  • Leg
  • Pubic area
  • Armpits

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 [1].

donor area graph

Using beard hair for body hair transplants

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 [3].

Beard hairs placed around the crown and mid-scalp.
Beard hairs placed around the crown and mid-scalp.

This shouldn’t be confused with beard transplants, in which hair from the scalp donor area is transplanted to the face and neck.

Using chest and stomach hair for body hair transplants

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 [2].

Chest and abdomen after FUE extraction.
Chest and abdomen after FUE extraction.

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.

Before and after hair transplant repair using torso hair.

Using leg hair for body hair transplants

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 [4].

Thigh after hair graft extraction
Thigh after hair graft extraction.

Using pubic and armpit hair for body hair transplants

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.

a) Grafts harvested from the pubic area; b) grafts harvested from the armpit; c) grafts transplanted to the crown.
a) Grafts harvested from the pubic area; b) grafts harvested from the armpit; c) grafts transplanted to the crown.

What is the success rate of body hair transplants?

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 [4].

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%) [4].

75-80% graft uptake is still a good success rate and will offer substantial coverage across balding areas.

Body hair transplants: step-by-step

Find out how body hair transplants work in this step-by-step guide.

1. Preparing the donor area

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.

2. Graft extraction

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.

3. Making the incisions

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.

4. Graft placement

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.

5. Healing

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.

How long do body hair transplants last?

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).

Are body hair transplants painful?

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.

Does transplanted body hair grow long?

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.

Are you a candidate for a body hair transplant?

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 [2].

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:

  • Your donor area has been used up in previous hair transplants, but you feel you need more coverage.
  • You have scarring around the back and/or sides of the head, which has damaged the follicles in your donor area.
  • You have a good supply of hair on your face, chest, or other parts of your body.

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.

Can Hair Be Transplanted From Body to Scalp?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)Updated on September 13, 2023
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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