How does this vary from scalp hair transplants?
We divide the face into a side view and frontal view for the purpose of beard transplantation. The side view includes the side-burns, the cheek beard, the jaw line beard and the beard below the jaw line. Of these four areas, the cheek beard is cosmetically the most important. In the frontal view, the fore beard, comprised of the moustache and goatee is the most prominent feature and higher densities of hair are present in these areas. The hair below the chin and jaw line that extends onto the neck is also considered to be part of the beard.
The density of beard hair is less compared to the scalp. The maximum density is over the chin and mid portion of the moustache. The calibre (thickness of the hair shaft) of beard hair is larger compared to the scalp. Beard hair shafts are also more elliptical (flatter) in cross section compared to scalp hair which is more oval or circular in cross section views. This is why beard hair tends to be curlier than scalp hair.
FUE/FUT method for Beards
For beard transplants, grafts are removed from the donor area in the same way as in a routine FUE (follicle unit excision). The main difference is in the distribution of the grafts and the recipient site creation. We can use both FUT and/or FUE techniques for harvesting grafts to transplant into the beard area. One advantage of FUT strip harvesting is that the harvested hair shafts can be left longer in length which allows us to pre-determine the curvature of the hair and ensures that placement in the recipient sites allows for the hair shaft to curve towards the skin, giving a more natural appearance. This is even more important when transplanting eyebrows compared to beard transplants, but the basic principle for both recipient areas are very shallow recipient sites and implanting grafts with hair shafts curving towards the skin.
With beard transplants the frontal view is cosmetically more important than the side views and requires more density compared to the sides views.
During implantation, 1-hair grafts are placed over the superior outline (margin), similar to transplanting a scalp hairline. Then combinations of 1-hair and 2-hair grafts are used in the other areas. Implantation compared to scalp hair takes longer because the beard area provides less stability (loose tissue relative to the scalp) and great care is taken to avoid injury to the Facial Nerve distribution below the skin.
We make use of nerve blocks to provide complete anaesthesia of the recipient area. After the nerve blocks, field anaesthesia is given.
Post Surgery for Beard FUE/FUT
The post-operative phase for a Beard Transplant is much the same as the post-op phase for a normal scalp hair transplant. Firstly, the FUE harvested areas will heal within 7 days and for the FUT strip wound we remove the sutures on Day 10 postop. Similar to a scalp hair transplant, the transplanted grafts in the “recipient areas” of the beard require regular spraying (half hourly) with Normal Saline solution for the first 7 to 10 days post-op. The first day after the procedure there might be slight drooling in some cases from the mouth angles (a consequence of the local anaesthesia), but this is usually minimal, if present at all. There could also be some superficial blotches of small blood stains in the skin of the beard area, here-and-there but this is also minimal, and it usually resolves within 3 to 5 days. Other than that the post-operative phase is uneventful and similar to a scalp hair transplant surgery.