Body Hair Transplantation
Body hair transplant can be performed from beard, chest, under arms, pubic hair and other body sites. The best graft for transplantation on scalp apart from body is beard followed by chest. Body hair is needed in case of Norwood Grade 6 or Norwood grade 7 baldness who wants full scalp coverage in one sitting. Secondly patients who have retrograde thinning in donor scalp and do not have sufficient scalp donor may have to rely on body hair for adequate coverage. Patients with failed hair transplant with depleted scalp donor may have to rely on body hairs for scalp coverage.
Which type of body hair should be preferred for transplantation on scalp?
The second best donor after scalp is beard for transplantation on the scalp. The reason for choosing beard over other type of body hair is similarity in hair cycle to scalp hair like long anagen phase, thicker caliber of hair, large number of available grafts, negligible scar formation while extraction from beard Beard is a source of 3000 to 5000 grafts. Beard grafts are also preferred in cases of scarring alopecia like lichen plano pilaris as they are relatively resistant to the autoimmune process happening in the scalp.
Chest hair is the third best source of grafts after beard. It is less preferred over beard because of its suboptimal success rate over beard grafts. Chest hair is placed acutely thus has high transaction rates. The growth phase (anagen) of chest hair is relatively short compared to beard. They may remain in shedding phase for a much longer time. Thirdly it may leave significant post inflammatory hyper or hypo-pigmentation. Chest should be shaved 7 days before the surgery to pick only fast growing and thick.
Other source of body hair like underarms and pubic hair may be used in case of non-availability of preferred donor like beard and chest. We have also used hairs from leg and forearms in our patient. Due to their short anagen phase, they are generally not preferred.
Who are the ideal candidates for body hair transplant?
Want complete coverage in one sitting
Have poor scalp donor
Have previously failed hair transplant with depleted scalp donor
Have retrograde thinning of scalp donor