At Crown Clinic, we are always looking to introduce pioneering new techniques to benefit our patients. The donor hair for most transplants is obtained by doing extractions from the back or sides of the scalp. However, a small number of patients are unsuitable for this form of extraction. Previously there was little we could do to help them. But now our consultant hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak has introduced a new technique whereby donor grafts are obtained by extracting hair from the beard and neck area by FUE (follicular unit extraction).
How does it work?
FUE is the most popular method of donor extraction used at Crown Clinic. Around 80% of our patients opt for FUE for conventional hair transplants. Scarring is minimised because the donor hair is extracted individually. The patient is left with red pin pricks where the grafts are extracted and replanted but these heal around two weeks after the operation. With a regular transplant, this extraction is carried out on the back and sides of the scalp. If these areas are unsuitable for the extraction or donor hair in this area is sparse, Dr Shahmalak can sometimes still proceed with a transplant by extracting the donor grafts from the beard and neck areas as well as the scalp. Many men have heavy beards and the appearance of their beard or stubble will not suffer from the extraction of up to 1,500 grafts from the face. Such extraction may improve their appearance and result in them having to shave less. The beard and neck hair is transplanted into the balding areas of the scalp just as it is in a regular hair transplant. This new procedure offers hope to men previously unable to have a hair transplant.
What maintenance does the transplanted hair need?
None at all - you can cut it just like you would with normal hair. As with any transplant, the transplanted hair will initially fall out while the roots of the new hair establish themselves in their new home. The new hair will grow back between six and nine months after the operation. The transplanted hair is beard hair - so slightly different in texture and thickness to normal hair on the head. For that reason, it may not be suitable for some areas of the scalp where the hair is naturally finer - such as the front of the hairline. It is better to reserve beard hair as filler in the top and crown area. Because beard hair is thicker, it is great for adding volume. Using the beard as donor hair can sometimes help the surgeon preserve donor hair on the scalp for key areas such as the hairline.
Patients will have scabbing for up to two weeks after the operation while the wounds from the transplant heal. We recommend patients take a week off work for the operation.