I just recently came back from the Asian Association of Hair Restoration Surgery Annual Meeting in Seoul – Korea. The meeting was well attended with 250 surgeons there to find out the most up to date information concerning hair loss treatments.
Of particular interest to me were the talks referencing the influence of the recipient site on the growth rate of the transplanted hair. Original research was performed in Korea more than 10 years ago and showed the surprising result that, contrary to our initial belief, the body site where the transplanted hair is placed influences and changes the future growth rate of the hair.
The relevance of this result is that hairs in different areas of the body grow at different rates. When using scalp hair to reconstruct eyebrows the transplanted hairs initially grow at the scalp hair rate (three times faster than the eyebrow rate of growth). This means that the new transplanted eyebrow hairs need to be trimmed regularly because they grow much longer and quicker.
Over time the surrounding eyebrow skin influences the transplanted hairs and they slow down a lot to more match the growth of normal eyebrow hairs. More interestingly, if the transplanted hairs are removed from the eyebrow and then re-transplanted in to the scalp again, they begin to speed up their growth rate again! Simply amazing!
Another benefit from this research is that it proves that certain body hair can successfully be used to replace lost hair in the scalp and over time these body hairs will resemble natural scalp hairs in their appearance and the hair regrowth rate. Despite these compelling results, body hairs should only be considered as a last resort when there aren’t any more usable scalp hairs available to use as donor hairs.