Beard transplant: The procedure and risks

What is a beard transplant?

A beard transplant can either mean the restoration of hair on the beard using hair from the scalp or restoring hair on the scalp using hair from the beard. The method the surgeon uses is called follicular unit extraction techniques (FUE). In this discussion the focus will be on reconstructing a new beard, or enhances an existing beard.

A beard transplant has become a popular procedure that can work wonders for thickening up facial hair. Where many men are aspired by Tom Hardy, David Beckham and Bradley Cooper that are showing off their beards.

Why do this procedure?

Many men feel that a beard is an indication of their manliness, and if they are unable to grow it or their beard fails to fill out. A beard transplant can help. Thus this procedure can treat the following:

  • Thin or patchy beard growth
  • Thin sideburns
  • Thin mustache
  • Thin feminine eyebrows

Also this procedure has also been known to be advised for individuals wishing to hide burn or acne scars, or for those undergoing female-to-male transgender treatment.

The procedure for a beard transplant

The procedure will begins with an in-depth consultation with your doctor that will do the procedure. This is to fully understanding exactly what you wants to achieve.

Prior to surgery there are only a few necessary preparations you should be aware about. As you will be asked to refrain from drinking alcohol for a week prior to your surgery, and to avoid taking any blood thinners such as Advil or Aspirin. These medications can increase the risk of bleeding which makes it difficult for the grafts to take. Along with medications, you will be asked to avoid Echinacea, Ginkgo Biloba, garlic and Vitamin E.

Also it is better to not shave the transplanted hair for the first 10 days after the surgery. This is when the transplant hair looks more like stubble. You should be aware that there will be hair fall after a fortnight of your date of procedure. A beard transplant is a fairly straightforward procedure with minimal downtime.

Local anesthesia will be administered to the area where the donor follicles will be harvested, usually at the back of the head. For patients who are bald, chest hair can be used for donor follicles.

Once the follicles are harvested, sometime will be necessary to prepare them for implantation.

The follicles are removed in strips and then transplanted into any bald patches on the beard or sideburns. The actual process can take around 12 hours (although it normally will take between 2 – 6 hours, in your doctor’s office) and comprised of having 2,000 follicles grafted onto your chin, cheeks and moustache area from your neck. But the time and amount of follicles used will depend on the area you want cover.

Once the process is finished, the hair in the beard should start to grow immediately – with patients usually able to shave after just two weeks.

Cosmetic procedures

Risks of a beard hair transplants and side effects

  • Swelling: You may experience slight swelling at the transplanted areas, but this should be temporary and subside within 36 to 48 hours. If swelling persists longer than 72 hours, consult your physician as this could be a symptom of infection.
  • Bleeding: Mild to moderate bleeding is also possible from the donor as well as recipient area. But this can be easily controlled by applying gentle pressure to the problem area. Cold compression can also help alleviate symptoms like bleeding and swelling.
  • Scarring: Scarring is part and parcel of every surgery and a beard transplant is no different. Extent of scarring depends a lot on the graft extraction technique used. Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), aka the traditional strip method transplant, will result in a notable linear scar at the donor site. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) on the other hand will cause hundreds of hardly detectable pinhole scars.

Infection: Infection is also a possibility, but chances of developing an infection are meager if you take proper care of the transplanted areas. Follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions carefully and keep the treated areas clean if you wish to minimize chances of an infection.

Other considerations

Sometimes males will have beard hairs that are a different color than their scalp’s hairs. Transplanting beard hair to the scalp under these circumstances would highlight these discrepancies in color, and is therefore not recommended.