- Wednesday.January 27. 2021
The principles of modern hair transplantation are also applied for transplanting hair on to other parts of the body.
Martinick Hair Restoration’s medical director Dr Jennifer Martinick answers questions here about transplanting donor hair from the head to other parts of the body.
Dr Martinick explains the challenges in performing a successful beard and eyebrow transplant and also comments about transplanting hair into a scarred area.
Dr Martinick, who has restored hair for patients who have been scarred by burns or other trauma, says the practice of transplanting a full thickness graft into a scarred area can have the effect of reconditioning and regenerating a scar.
1. How is transplanting hair to other areas of the body besides the scalp different?
The general technique of harvesting hair and implanting hairs into any part of the body remains essentially the same. The main difficulties arise in matching the hair calibre (coarse hair for beards, fine hair for eyebrows). The skin of the scalp is significantly thicker than facial skin, something that has to be taken into consideration when implanting the hairs. Attention to angulation, direction, curl and natural spiralling in the recipient area require a higher degree of artistic endeavour to create a satisfactory cosmetic outcome.
2. What other areas of the body are common for transplants beyond the scalp? Why?
Beard and moustache transplants are frequently undertaken by men who have little or no hair on their face. In men of Arab descent, facial hair is a sign of masculinity. Young Western men recently have taken to wearing ‘three-day designer’ stubble.
Eyebrows are frequently transplanted in both sexes to replace hair that has been lost to over- plucking or to cover facial scarring.
Pubic hair transplantation is undertaken by Vietnamese women where pubic hair is considered a sign of fertility.
Some men desire chest hair when they have very little.
Eyelashes, axillary hair and hair on any other part of the body can be transplanted, but the patient must understand that the hair will retain its donor dominance and continue to grow, thus requiring cutting regularly.
3. In a scarred area, how is transplanting different from the scalp?
Scar tissue can be thick and white, or thin and papery. Thin scars almost universally respond well to hair transplantation. Thick scars have limited blood supply and can be variable in the amount of hair growing after transplant.
Usually the doctor places the grafts further apart and suggests more than one session of transplantation to create cosmetic density.
It has been noted that when the hair grows in a scar, the scar returns to a more normal architecture in colour, vasculature and thickness. This appears to be due to the transfer of stem cells (which surround the hair follicles) into the scar allowing the tissue become more normal.
4. When transplanting in a scarred area, are the specific qualities of hair that you look for?
When transplanting into a scarred area, it is helpful if the transplanted hairs are of a similar diameter to the surrounding hairs. To create an artistic outcome, an experienced surgeon will observe the natural flow or direction of existing hairs in that area as well as replicating the density, curl and angulation of the surrounding hairs.
5. Is there any concern for rejection of donor hair in a scarred area?
Rejection of donor hair in a scarred area is most likely to occur if the recipient sites are not made deeply enough and/or there is significant post-operative inflammation in the first three days that strangles the newly transplanted follicles.
6. Can you achieve a natural look when covering scars with donor hair?
An experienced surgeon who understands the details of artistry required to produce a cosmetically superior outcome will be able to create a natural look when covering scars with donor hair.