As leaders in the hair restoration industry, The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration & Research views researching and improving hair loss techniques as our responsibility. When patients have hair loss severe enough that it leaves no hair left on the head to harvest for traditional surgical hair transplant procedures, some ask if hair transplants from other parts of the body, such as the legs, is possible.
Hair along the hairline is usually finer than hair toward the middle of the head, which is often thicker and denser. When male pattern baldness occurs, also known as androgenetic alopecia, it most commonly begins above the temples, creating a receding hairline. Because leg hair is fine on most people, transplanting the hair from this area may provide a natural-looking hairline for patients, but may not have enough density to accomplish the task. Additionally, it may provide hair transplant patients with an alternative solution; however, there several problems that arise. Firstly, it is much harder to harvest, even when using the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique of surgical hair replacement. Secondly, normally the hair density on the legs and other parts of the body is very sparse. Lastly, the growth rate once transplanted is not as successful as from other areas of the body. Another area of hair growth which could be reasonably harvested is the underarms, and again, similar problems exist.
For body hair transplants, the most success is often seen with the hair from the beard (under the jawline), which provides a coarse, sturdy form of hair that grows long like scalp hair. Recently, Dr. Griffin exclusively used beard hair for a male patient to help improve the scars from the back of the scalp and to in general place the hair over the scalp wherever needed. This beard hair was coarse and served as excellent filler for the areas of loss. It was also greying very much like the rest of the scalp and fit into place in the scars and over the head. Another male patient was treated that same week with multiple FUE’s from the middle of the back of the scalp which was then placed in the scars which were caused by an automobile wreck. The first patient was white and the second was black: both produced excellent follicles which were taken by the FUE technique with placement in scars and bald areas. This technique worked well for the very curly hair of the black patient and the number of follicles per graft from both patients was about the same: mainly 2 hairs/follicular bundle with 3 per bundle in many.
For eyebrow replacement, underarm or nape of the neck hair tends to be shorter and more delicate than mid-scalp hair. If one eyebrow remains bushy, the follicles can be extracted from that side and placed on the one that is lacking. Arm hairs have been tried but do not seem to grow well. The hairs placed in the eyebrow continue to grow in the same pattern and length as the donor site. Therefore, most patients must cut the transplanted hairs which grow longer than the naturally shorter eyebrow hairs.
Hair specialists Dr. Edmond Griffin and Ashley Curtis work with each patient to devise the most effective plan for their unique hair restoration needs, whether through the surgical or non-surgical hair restoration route. It is important to note that body hair will never replace all the hair needed on the scalp unless that need is small as with the above cases. As each hair loss case is unique, the decision for using donor hair from other parts of the body for hair transplantation on the head must be discussed thoroughly during the consultation. Outcomes vary by each patient, however, the goal for natural-looking results remain a constant goal for all patients.
If you are interested in learning more about hair loss procedures and preventives please call to set up a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest hair restoration techniques.