Body Hair Transplant results (BHT) are beginning to trickle in. This case was done just shy of 14 months ago. It shows that body hair transplant procedure is a viable entity and a valuable source for hair transplant surgery in cases of the limited scalp donor area. It is not easy to perform given today's tools. One must be somewhat of a contortionist to successfully perform the procedure.
This case was 8 consecutive days of surgery. During this time we softened the hairline with about 1000 grafts taken via CIT from the scalp donor region and about 5000 BHT grafts into approximately 80 square cm of a bald crown. You can see that he had many procedures in the past to treat his hair loss. He had a limited donor supply, a low follicular density, multiple strip scars, and a tight scalp. Prior to seeing me he had given up on hair transplant surgery and began to wear a hair wig. He is now hairpiece free. He has dyed his hair from white to brown. This effort makes it more difficult to achieve the illusion of coverage. Many of the body hairs are still short and fine. Many have not begun to grow. Many have only begun to grow. It will be very interesting to follow him for the next 12 months. We are cautiously optimistic about the potential for body hair as an additional source of hair for the bald or thinning scalp.
In some instances, results seem to improve two or more years after the body hair transplant procedure. It is important to note that body hair transplantation results may vary. this is a good example of great improvement 4 years post-op B.H.T
This case reveals many points for consideration. First, BHT densities above 60 grafts/sq cm can be viable. Second, 8 consecutive days of surgery into adjacent regions of the scalp can be well tolerated. Third, in the second year, a higher percentage of body hairs begin to grow. There are many grafts that are just beginning to grow. I suspect that even more is going to grow. Fourth, BHT can be done with minimal evidence of scarring. Fifth and most importantly, BHT can be considered a valuable source of hair for the patient with hair loss and he can achieve a cosmetically significant result from its use alone. There does appear to be some increase in hair length with some of the BHT, but I cannot be absolutely certain at this time. As previously stated there were some grafts from the scalp in the crown area at the time of initial presentation to my office. Like many of my FUE patients, he chooses to wear his hair quite short. He shaves most of his body hair so it is no possible to document a non-shaven hair length.
Other interesting points include the difference in coverage for some regions. Each day we treated a zone. Each day we harvested from a different region of the body. Some days from the back. Some days from the mid-sternum. Some days from over the pectoralis muscles. Some days from the upper, lateral chest. The hairs and the telogen percentages from each area can be quite different. Anagen ratios are higher in the mid-sternum. Hairs on the central chest are more coarse. Hairs on the upper chest are finer. Hairs on the back and upper shoulders are often much finer. Interestingly, sometimes the anagen ratio of hairs over the latissimus dorsi muscles is much higher.
We are still waiting for even better evidence that the length of hairs can increase following BHT to the scalp. We have seen an example of leg hair that grew significantly longer in the supraauricular area. I am fairly certain that some of these body hairs have grown longer than 4.5 cm, which is about the maximal length for most chest hair.
We have never considered the use of BHT experimental. I have heard through the grapevine that some have considered it as such. Hair is hair. If you transplant it, it should grow. When we began transplanting body hair, the questions that remained to be answered were the issues of scarring, the rate of growth, yield, and length of growth. Recall that if you move 10 head hairs to the leg, only 6 will grow. If you move these 6 back to the scalp, 5 will grow. These yields correspond to the higher anagen percentage on the scalp and the higher telogen percentage on the leg. Head hairs grow short on the leg or eyebrow. It follows that body hairs should grow longer on the head.