Body Hair To Head Transplant
WHAT IS IT?
Body hair to head transplant, also known as BHHT, body hair transplant, or BHT, is a hair transplantation surgery method that requires the practice of advanced follicular unit extraction. Follicular unit extraction, commonly referred to as FUE, is also a method of hair transplantation. FUE is the harvest of follicular units—naturally occurring groups of one to four hairs—one at a time from the donor site, to be implanted into the balding recipient site. As a leap forward from this advanced practice, body hair transplant includes body hair as a donor source, vastly broadening the potential for the severely bald to undergo successful hair transplantation. Traditionally, transplants use donor hair from the head only, which confines the donor supply to 5,000-7,000 follicles. In a severely bald person, only a tenth of the lost hair can be replaced using a head donor source alone. This can result in thin, cosmetically displeasing coverage.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
The implications of body hair transplantation are remarkable. For decades a large population of hair loss sufferers have been turned away as poor hair transplant candidates due to severe baldness. It was impossible to achieve a successful hair transplant without enough donor hair for global coverage over the scalp. Body hair to head transplant opens today’s technology to a virtually limitless amount of donor hair, eliminating this problem. Through BHHT, hair can be harvested from the beard, shoulders, chest, stomach, arms, and legs.
The major benefits of body hair transplant are:
- It services the severely bald (including baldness caused by advanced androgenetic alopecia or caused by extensive scarring of the scalp from an accident or previous surgery)
- It is minimally invasive
- There are no staples, stitches, or other sutures used
- It proffers a quick recovery time (donor site scabbing typically heals within seven days)
- It leaves minimal scarring
- It best serves those in need of eyebrow transplantation.
HAIR TRANSPLANT REPAIRS/REFINEMENT USING BODY HAIR TRANSPLANT
A surprisingly frequent cause of severe baldness, aside from pattern hair loss, is surgically inflicted. As a means to abate the embarrassing condition and restore hair, many people rush to cheaper, antiquated methods of surgery without properly researching the technique and/or the surgeon’s credentials. And sometimes, even in the hands of the best surgeon, it is simply tough luck that manifests in a significantly stretched out linear scar five years post surgery.
This cause of baldness seems weighted with even more shame and embarrassment; due to a sense of failure, amplified hopelessness, and the unsightly markings that tell this story to everyone who sees you. Body hair to head transplant is especially extraordinary in these circumstances because of its ability to give people a clean slate and a return to normalcy. Some might feel self-conscious about a dense, unnatural hairline—that’s where BHT employs the finer density of leg hair to refine and shape a softer hairline. Others can only hope for a hat or hairpiece to cover most of the disfigurement they suffer—that’s where BHT employs more than 20,000 grafts from all over the body, to fill the scars that would otherwise be left untreatable. Whatever the degree of repair needed, hair restoration with body follicles has served to change the lives of many.
BODY HAIR TRANSPLANT AND EYEBROW TRANSPLANTATION
The use of body hair follicles has also begun taking over another niche: eyebrow transplant. This is due to the fact that a hair follicle will retain its original disposition, even if it is extracted and implanted in a new site. Thus, head hair used for this purpose is most inconvenient, as it will continue to grow to the length typical of head hair. The recipient will be required to tend to frequent trimming of the new eyebrow hair in order to keep up appearances. With body hair transplantation, chest hair or leg hair are ideal in stature and growth length to be implanted into the eyebrow area, which allows much less need for trimming.
ARE THERE POOR CANDIDATES FOR BHT?
Not everyone is a candidate for body hair transplant, as some simply do not have body hair while others have body hair that is not suitable for transplantation. That said, a majority of individuals would qualify to some degree. There are other factors that can make for a poor surgical candidate for body hair to head transplantation, including:
- Anyone with a medical history of blood clotting abnormalities
- Anyone with a medical history of scarring or keloiding tendencies
- Anyone with allergies to anesthesia
- Most people suffering androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness) who are under the age of 24 are not candidates for body hair transplant. This is due to the fact that the progression of pattern baldness is not usually complete by this age; therefore a surgery would cause an unnatural-looking growth pattern to develop. This would almost guarantee the need for another surgery later on.
- Most people with extremely curly or kinked hair, such as people of African decent. This is due to a potentially increased transection rate during extraction.
AREAS OF CAUTION
A few potential problems may arise with body hair transplant procedures. Aside from the medical problems that may arise due to unforeseen physiological complications (such as an allergy to anesthesia or blood clotting abnormality) there are a couple other reasons some hair transplant practitioners are critical of this method.
- Due to the extremely advanced nature of this body hair transplant, it is a longer and more laborious practice than all other procedures, also requiring a much higher level of skill. The aggressively varying angles of non-head hair make it more difficult to accurately punch and extract the follicular units.
- Body hair is not of the same caliber as head hair. This may make for an inferior hair transplant outcome regarding blendability with surrounding hair and growth length potential of the non-head hair.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF BODY HAIR TO HEAD TRANSPLANT
FUE was first discovered by Dr. Masumi Inaba in the 1980’s and then described by Dr. Inaba via textbook in a 1996 publication. The first published account of a successful hair transplant using non-head hair via an FUE technique was by a Dr. Hirai et al in 2001.
Since then, Dr. Umar has been a pioneer in further testing, development, and use of this procedure. Today, he continues to be a world-leading practitioner of body hair transplant, with an unmatched success rate using his UGRAFT technique.
Dr. Umar’s article in the October 2011 issue of the Annals of Plastic Surgery, entitled, “Hair Transplantation in Patients With Inadequate Head Donor Supply Using Nonhead Hair,” discusses the potential of BHT to become a global resource for the severely bald. His article features three of his patients who required the use of donor hair from non-head sources, and whose results were highly successful.
All were white males, ages 36, 54, and 35, with advanced stages of androgenetic alopecia. However, each of them needed body hair transplant for a different reason. Two had scarring from previous surgeries, and one had never attempted surgery. The worst of them, the 36-year-old, had had multiple botched surgeries, leaving him with a slot formation, linear scars, pluggy hair, and other posterior scalp scars. His scalp was disfigured and considered irreparable by most surgeons. Approximately 21,000 non-head grafts plus 1,000 head grafts restored his scalp to normalcy.
All three patients featured in the article had 80% long-term graft survival after their body hair transplantation. At the close of his article, Dr. Umar wrote, “…hair transplantation from non-head donor sources can globally restore even severe bald states in patients with inadequate hair donor supply…using non-head hair offers new possibilities.”
Potential patients should know that a location change to the scalp does not change the physiology of body hair. It will not grow substantially longer, nor change in composition as compared to its subsistence in its original location. A practiced body hair transplant doctor will know how to maximize the innate characteristics of different body hair sources. If all goes well, new hair usually shows optimal growth around nine months post-surgery and can continue to improve for up to 24 months.
TESTIMONIALS OF BODY HAIR TRANSPLANT PATIENTS
The following images and video depict the before and after of one of Dr. Umar’s BHT patients. This particular patient had undergone multiple previous surgeries, which left him with obvious strip scarring and punch graft scarring, not to mention sparse, uneven growth. He did not have sufficient head donor hair for a procedure without the use of non-head hair. In fact, Dr. Umar used onlynon-head hair for this patient’s transplant. Six months after 2,000 beard hairs, and 8,000 stomach, arm, and leg
hairs were transplanted to his scalp, the patient says of his body hair transplant experience, “It exceeded my expectation. I was initially looking for improvement, but this was the best I could have possibly imagined.”
This second set of images and video depict another body hair transplant patient of Dr. Umar. This patient had also undergone previous surgeries, which left him with a harsh, unnatural-looking hairline. Needless to say, the patient wanted Dr. Umar to re-design his hairline giving it a natural, gradual appearance. Using 1,000 donor hairs harvested from the legs only, Dr. Umar
was able to achieve exceptional results. “It’s quite remarkable,” this patient commented about his hairline correction, “I can’t express how thankful I am to have the freedom to be able to just comb my hair straight back.”
A branch of body hair transplant procedures uses follicles from the beard area. This can be enormously beneficial for patients who are not able to provide a large enough donor supply using head hair alone. To learn more about this procedure, click here to read more.