Body Hair Transplant: Importance and Limitations

Generally, Hairs from the head area are used for transplantation purposes. However, the desired result is not achieved due to lack of hair follicles available on the patient’s head. In such cases it is possible to transplant body hairs, due to their similarity to head hairin structure and quality.  Haircan be taken from the legs, arms, stomach, chest, back, armpits or even the face.

For some patients, body hair is a source of thousands of additional donor grafts material, and if patients have a large amount of body hair at their disposal, its more beneficial. This additional donor area is especially designated to increase the overall hair density or to fill in the crown area – treatment options that would are not usually possible for patients with limited scalp donor hair.

Body hair transplant is however not really used in case of a full hair reconstruction or to restore the hairline of the patient.

Body hairs are removed using the FUE technique, which leaves no linear scar. Body hair grafts are then implanted in a way similar to grafts of head hair.

Usually, donor hairs are taken from the tonsure, i.e. from the back or side of the head. Patients with insufficient hair in the donor area are incompatible for a normal tonsure transplant. The reasons for not having enough hair include general hair loss or result from previous hair transplants making any further extraction of donor hairs from the head unmanageable.

The results of a hair transplant with unsuitable donor hair are generally poor, as these can only balance hair loss to a slight extent. Moreover, scars, if any, from the surgery will be visible.

Criteria for evaluating BHT suitability:

Density of hair must be above 40 FUs per cm²

Similarity between the body and head hair

The number of Follicle Units with 2 – 3 hair follicles

The size of the donor area

The length of the body hair

The technique for transplanting body hair is derived from the FUE technique, and essentially involves increasing the donor area by including the whole body.

BHT is used mainly in cases where the donor area on the head is not suitable for the extraction of donor material or is not dense enough.

In such cases, provided the physical requirements are met, follicular units can be extracted directly from different areas of the body –the torso, arms or legs – and transplanted to the scalp. The BHT-FUE method opens up new possibilities especially for patients whose donor sites have not been used or even ruineddue to the use of outdated methods.

FUE Hair Transplant

Candidates for a BHT must fulfil certain physiological requirements, i.e. the body hair must be suitable for use for transplanting on the head. Body hairs are subject to different growth cycles. Whether these change due to ageing has not been scientifically proven yet, though our personal experiences point to this being the case.

Follicular Units taken from the body are structurally different to hairs taken from the head. Whereas FUs taken from the head generally consist of 1, 2 or 3 hairs, in most cases FUs from the body only have a single hair.
The following example explains the differences between donor material from the body and from the head. 60 FUs per cm² of body hair resultsin a hair density of 60 – 70 hairs per cm², whereas 60 FUs per cm² of head hair grants adensity of 90 – 120 hairs per cm². This shows that, to gain natural looking hair density, nearly twice as many implants are necessary. This is also the reason why a BHT is largely used to improve the density of head hair.

The major differences between a body hair FUE and a usual FUE:

The direction in which the hair grows from the follicular units.

The skin type and its characteristics

The depth of the hair follicle

The thickness and structure of the hairs

It is completely necessary for the hair surgeon doing such a transplant to have sufficient knowledge and experience of both transplantation techniques – FUT and FUE – and to take certain basic points into account, for such a transplant to be successful. These include:

The proper extraction of donor hairs

The correct preparation of the follicular units

The proper storage and hydration of the extracted grafts

Peak implantation, taking into account growth direction and the arrangement of the grafts

Achieving a natural hairline

A cautiousattitude and the use of the correct technique, with minimum graft damage

The limitations of BHT

As a technique, body hair transplant is not as well researched as the FUE and FUT methods. Due to the lack of experience and know-how, BHT should be taken as the last-resort method for improving an existing condition.
Our overall experience gained up to now points to a 70 – 80% survival rate. Though this might seem low, for some patients it is the only option. Patients looking to have a Body hair transplant in Delhi should aware of the fact that no guarantee can be given for a high percentage of implants actually taking root.

Body hairs can change their structure after being transplanted – in most cases they become longer and straighter, intriguingly adapting to head hair structure, somehow.

Patients wanting to undergo BHT treatment should be mindful of the fact that this form of treatment is a last-resort attempt, with success chances not assured.

This all means that any patient wanting to undergo Body hair transplant in India needs to discuss this in-depth with their hair surgeon. Similarly the operation must be performed by a highlyexperienced hair surgeon, as the success of a body hair transplant is reliant on the experience, know-how and abilities of the surgeon performing the operation.