It’s usually easy to spot a man who had his thinning hair restored with traditional “strip surgery” implants. His tresses have a harsh, thick and “pluggy” appearance that doesn’t look natural. Instead, it just looks like he’s trying to cover something up.
Help may be on the way, according to a new study that recreated men’s hairlines that had been receding using transplanted leg hairs. Leg hairs are softer and finer than strip surgery implants—which use thick hair from the sides and back of the head—so leg hairs look more like the hair that’s normally found around the forehead.
It seems like a brilliantly simple solution—men have plenty of leg hairs, and they provide a good balance of texture and size to blend with standard head hair. Better yet, the test results were very encouraging.
The study at the DermHair Clinic in Redondo Beach, California, included two transplants involving leg hair, one exclusively using leg hair to restore a 35-year-old man’s original hairline and another using a mix of leg and head hair to create a custom-designed widow’s peak hairline on a 29-year-old man. Both men had previously undergone conventional hair-restoration surgery, but they’d been unhappy with the way that it had made their hair look, so they were willing to try this new procedure.
To learn about the new leg hair transplant technique, which can be done on men who want to get their hairlines back or get rid of bald spots, I called Sanusi Umar, MD, an associate instructor of dermatology at UCLA Medical Center and a private hair-loss practitioner at the DermHair Clinic.
The new technique uses a punchlike device that cuts tiny wounds around hair follicles in the legs to extract them while using local anesthesia, and it has many benefits…
But, of course, there are some downsides.
How well did the new leg hair procedure work on the two patients? In both cases, the men ended up with what Dr. Umar characterized as a soft, natural-looking hairline within nine months. Between 75% and 80% of the transplanted leg hair thrived in its new location, and both men experienced minimal hair loss there over the next three to four years.
This new procedure sounds promising, especially since two-thirds of American men experience appreciable hair loss by age 35, and by age 50, 85% of them have significant thinning, according to the American Hair Loss Association.
But anyone interested in this new procedure is going to need a dollop of patience, since it won’t be widely available for at least two years. Only Dr. Umar currently performs the surgery, and the equipment required is not yet standardized to make it available to interested doctors who would like to be trained. But anyone willing to trek to California to tackle baldness can learn more about Dr. Umar’s practice at www.DermHairClinic.com.
Beyond determination or patience, you’ll also need a fair amount of extra cash. A typical patient needing 1,000 to 1,200 follicles harvested would spend about $10,000 for their new ’do.
Baldness certainly doesn’t bother everyone, but for some it can really harm their self-esteem. So if baldness saps your confidence, talk to your doctor about your options—perhaps even this one.
Source: Sanusi Umar, MD, associate instructor of dermatology, UCLA Medical Center, and private hair loss practitioner, Redondo Beach, California. His study was published in Archives of Dermatology. www.DermHairClinic.com