Beard and Chest Hair Transplants Are Growing Among Baby-Faced Men
Hipster culture still reigns supreme, so is it any wonder that the word “beard implant” has even infiltrated our vocabulary? As a former student of Linguistics, I would have assumed that the inclusion of that expression in any phrase would have made it a never-before-uttered, entirely original phrase like those covered in my Noam Chomsky-penned textbooks. But yes, like skinny jeans, vintage everything and a deep and real commitment to normcore, people are going to some major lengths to achieve that artfully deconstructed, “I just don’t care” effect. Some people, of course, have other reasons for paying for grafted beard and chest hair — perhaps the result of chemotherapy, alopecia or other reasons for a change in body and facial hair. Despite the reasons for the procedure, I found myself curious about this new way to get burly. I approached board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Adam H. Hamawy to find out how common these requests are, what’s involved in the procedure, and who is and isn’t a good candidate.
Amber Katz: How common are requests for beard implants?
Dr. Hamawy: Requests for beard implants are not as common as the scalp or even the eyebrows. However we do get people asking about them. You would be surprised about some famous male celebrities who have had them. Those beautiful goatees aren't all genetic.
AK: How about chest hair implants?
Dr. Hamawy: I've never had anyone asked me about that. But we do joke about using the chest as a donor site.
AK: What is the process like for beard implants?
Dr. Hamawy: It’s very similar to other hair-transfer procedures. Usually the donor site is the back of the scalp and I prefer to use the follicular unit extraction technique to leave no scars. The number of follicles needed is much less than those required to cover a receding hairline or scalp. Usually we are looking at about 500 grafts to transfer to the beard area. Today, men want to have a thick beard and even goatee so we concentrate the transfer to this area.
AK: How about for chest implants?
Dr. Hamawy: The process would be very similar. The easy thing about the chest is that it doesn't have to be very dense. Since the chest is a wide area, only small amounts of grafts would be necessary to make it look natural.
AK: Who is a good candidate for these procedures?
Dr. Hamawy: Anyone who is unhappy with the current growth or density of his beard or chest hair and has a decent amount of hair on the back of his scalp that we could use to transfer.
AK: Who isn’t?
Dr. Hamawy: If you have very sparse hair on your scalp, I would not recommend transferring them anywhere else. Of course, you have to be in a generally good state of health to undergo any elective cosmetic procedure.
AK: How long does do the procedures take?
Dr. Hamawy: Typically, it takes about 4 hours. It is an in-office procedure using local anesthesia. Patients are awake, but can't feel anything that we are doing. We usually give the patient a short break in the middle to grab a bite to eat and stretch.
AK: How much do they cost?
Dr. Hamawy: The average cost for hair transfer to a beard or chest area starts at about $5,000.
AK: What’s recovery like?
Dr. Hamawy: Patients usually don’t experience any discomfort afterwards. There is swelling that takes about 2-3 days to subside. Most people are able to go back to work after a weekend of recovery.
AK: What results can patients expect from each?
Dr. Hamawy: It'll probably take about 3 months for natural hair growth to come out. Once it does come out, it will look like your own native hair and if done by an experienced team, no one will be able to tell that this was a hair transplant.
AK: What’s different about the hair? Is it like eyebrow implants, which grow much faster?
Dr. Hamawy: The transferred hair normally retains the properties of the area from which it was transferred. So scalp hair grows about the same speed as beard hair, but grows faster than chest hair. Scalp hair will also grow longer. Trimming will be necessary once desired length is achieved.
There you have it. Everything you wanted to know about chest and beard hair implants but were afraid to ask. To find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who has experience performing this kind of procedure use the Find A Surgeon search tool.