At the Gabel Center, we strive to accommodate and assess every hair loss patient in a holistic and customized manner. For patients with extensive baldness that exceeds their donor area’s ability to safely provide grafts for transplantation, alternative sources of donor hair can be found and evaluated throughout the body.
Harvesting body hair allows surgeons to creatively utilize a viable donor source for patients suffering from advanced androgenetic alopecia. By combining hair donated from the scalp with hair obtained from other regions of the patient’s body (namely hair from portions of the beard or the chest) a procedure known as Body Hair Transplantation (BHT) may be able to provide further scalp coverage than otherwise available to certain patients.
BHT utilizes the FUE technique to harvest follicular grafts using a variety of specially designed needle-like instruments intended to surgically extract grafts from the body so that they can be transplanted in the recipient portion of the scalp. BHT is a suitable method for advanced hair loss, as well as for beard, mustache, and eyebrow restoration. We are always exploring ways to refine existing techniques to improve graft yields and to improve the overall final aesthetic result of any hair restoration procedure.
Body Hair Suitability As Donor Hair
A majority of the hair found on the human body is vellus hair, which is classified as unsuitable for the purposes of hair restoration. However, research indicates that the androgen sensitive hair found in the beard, chest, legs, and pubis regions develops into terminal hair after the onset of puberty; and this hair is suitable for surgical transplantation.
At any given time, approximately 30% to 85% of body hairs are in the telogen phase of their hair cycle. The anagen phase of body hair is shorter; lasting only a few months while scalp hair will remain anagen for several years at a time. As a result, body hair grows shorter and thinner in comparison to scalp hair and does not behave exactly like transplanted hair from the safe zone of the donor region of the scalp. In contrast, beard hair is observed to generally grow thicker in comparison to scalp hair.
Cosmetic Considerations of Body Hair
The characteristics of body hair mean that it is often curled up and will generally be subject to curling as it grows, which is something to consider if implementing body hair for scalp or facial transplantation. Matching body hair with scalp hair is not rendered impossible, but some additional grooming may be required of patients after a successful transplantation.
The reason being that body hair rests in a more superficial fashion within the dermis than the hair found on the scalp, which is anchored deep within subcutaneous tissue. Additionally, body hairs emerge from the skin surface at a more acute angle in comparison to the hair that grows on the scalp. Body hair also tends to grow as singular follicles, and follicular units possessing more than one follicle are typically harvested from the beard and chest.
Evaluating Body Donor Hair Prior To Surgery
We make sure to identify any and all suitable sources of donor hair for patients that need alternative areas for graft harvesting. Before beginning any surgery, it is paramount to understand approximately how many grafts will be needed from each identified source, and knowing where the donor source hair will be transplanted for the greatest cosmetic benefit.
The optimal way is to mix hair from different donor sources in the recipient site to create a blended look, which is cosmetically beneficial more so than if body hair was not implemented with scalp hair to create a blend. The characteristics of a patient’s body hair have to be properly matched to the donor hair from the scalp. Part of our comprehensive patient evaluation involves taking into account hair diameter, color, curliness, typical rate of growth, and the shaft angle. This commitment to a strategic game plan helps ensure the greatest possible final outcomes for patients.
Contact the Gabel Center
To learn more about hair loss, the latest medications and the latest techniques in hair restoration and surgery, contact our Hair Transplant Oregon office. Our team at the Gabel Center look forward to your visit and discussing these matters with you in greater detail.