Hair transplant is a technique to get hair back involving grafting hair to cover the bald spots. Sometimes, the patient is not eligible for the procedure because of a lack of harvestable grafts on the back of the head. It exists another method, more controversial: body hair transplant. This technique uses body hairs to cover bald spots.
Is it a good idea? Why is this method controversial? What are the results? Are there any other options?
For a body hair transplant, the surgeon harvests the grafts in haired parts of the body, such as arms, chest, or abdomen. The grafts are then implanted into the scalp to cover bald spots.
Hair transplant VS body hair transplant
In a regular hair transplant, the surgeon harvests grafts in the back of the head, an area that is genetically resistant to androgen. Androgen is a male hormone causing baldness in most men and some women. In this donor area, the surgeon can extract different grafts: the one hair grafts are good to draw the frontline, while two and three hair grafts offer more volume to the top of the head. This grafts sorting helps FUE and DHI technics to provide a very natural look.
In a body hair transplant, the surgeon can harvest just one-hair type grafts as the hair pattern on the body is less dense than on the scalp. In addition, harvesting body hair grafts is longer than harvesting grafts on the regular donor area. It is less effective and cover less than a standard hair transplant.
Moreover, as this technic is not widespread, doctors have less experience, and the critical factor of the success of a body hair transplant is the surgeon’s experience.
To define if a patient is eligible for a body hair transplant, the doctor has to analyze more parameters than a regular hair transplant.
Why is body hair transplant controversial?
There is no consistent evidence about the efficiency of body hair transplants simply because this is not a widespread hair transplant technique. Most patients do FUE or DHI hair transplants.
This technique has some significant flaws. First, the genetic codes of hair and body hair are different. Genetic codes determine the color, thickness, length, and nature of the hair. Many people have lighter hair than body hair, straight hair, and curly or fuzzy body hair. Genetic also determine the hair life cycle. The longer this cycle is, the longer the hair will be.
Due to this fact, a body hair transplant may have a funny look like the hair, and the body hair can be slightly different.
The positive and negative aspects of body hair transplant
- Doable on patients without a rich donor area on the back of the head;
- No biological compatibility issue as the body recognizes its hair.
- Difference between genetic codes of hair and body hair may lead to a non-natural look;
- Lower coverage than a regular hair transplant;
- Lower density than a standard hair transplant;
- Longer and more complex graft harvesting;
- Not doable on a patient without a high density of body hair.
Body hair transplant may appear as the last option for patients with advanced baldness who are not eligible for a standard hair transplant procedure. However, this technique is less safe and less effective than a regular hair transplant. A patient interested in a body hair transplant should first make sure he cannot do a standard hair transplant. If so, he must look for an experienced and reputable body hair transplant surgeon who will be able to tell him if he qualifies for the procedure.