Everything You Need to Know About Facial Hair Surgery
Just as many men struggle with pattern balding on the scalp, a lack of coverage and density of male facial hair can be a point of concern.
A thick, full beard symbolizes strength and status across cultures. For men who can’t attain that flawless look, facial hair surgery represents the most permanent and effective option for real results.
While facial hair surgery is still a relatively new concept in cosmetic surgery, the technology and techniques have advanced rapidly, delivering fantastic results to thousands of men each year.
Let’s explore the ins and outs of facial hair surgery, including the actual steps of the procedure and what you can expect in terms of cost, recovery, and potential side effects. We’ll also cover finding the best surgeon to perform your procedure to get the best results possible.
Are You a Good Candidate for Facial Hair Surgery?
Apart from rare medical conditions, most men are good candidates for facial hair surgery, provided they have a reliable source of donor hair on the back of the scalp or underneath their beard.
Here are three of the most common scenarios in which men may consider surgery or a beard transplant to improve the appearance and condition of their facial hair.
In the vast majority of cases, facial hair is the result of genetic instructions passed down via DNA. Beard growth tends to reach its final stage around the mid-20s, and at this point, men will have an idea of what their facial hair looks like for the rest of their lives.
The most common complaint regarding facial hair is inadequate coverage of the beard, also known as patchiness. Patches tend to be on the cheeks, on the underside of the jaw, around the mustache or goatee area, and on the sideburns.
While there are various ways to style patchy beards to improve appearance day to day, facial hair surgery addresses the issue directly by transplanting real, healthy hair to the target area, where it can be styled and groomed to the patient’s liking.
Lack of Density
Patchy spots in the beard may not be a problem for some men who simply want to improve the density of hair across the total surface area of their facial hair. This is common among men with thinner, wispy hairs on the face, making a beard appear thin when grown out or styled.
Facial hair surgery can help “fill out” beards that may not be patchy but could benefit from the addition of thicker, stronger hair throughout.
Improved Shape and Structure
The shape of your beard is also largely genetic, though styling facial hair can be done with brushes, oils, and other tools. Still, men may find that they can’t achieve their ideal beard shape by natural means, and a facial hair transplant can solve this problem.
Highly skilled surgeons can place follicles in the ideal position for optimal shape and structure of a beard as it grows long, allowing men to groom the beard with the best dimensions that complement their face and personal style.
Facial Hair Transplant Consultation
As with any type of cosmetic procedure, consultation is a crucial step in the facial hair transplant process. Patients will establish goals, set expectations, and work collaboratively with the doctor to achieve the best possible long-term results.
This is when surgeons determine exactly how many grafts will need to be transplanted from the donor area to the face and where these follicles should be placed down to the individual unit.
Clients will also be told the estimated cost of the facial hair transplant procedure, which will vary based on factors like scope of surgery, technical challenges, the experience level of the doctor, and any additional treatments that may be included in the process.
Finally, clients will be given a timeline for the procedure, including the date of surgery and any requirements they must meet leading up to the day. Doctors may advise changes in medication, diet, or routine to maximize the results of the surgery and limit side effects.
Facial Hair Surgery Process
When the day of the surgery arrives, what can clients expect when they enter the clinic?
After a short meeting with surgeons and assistants to finalize the details of the procedure, everyone will proceed with the surgery, where anesthesia will be administered to the target area, and the hair transplant will begin.
Harvesting Healthy Donor Hair
The first phase of facial hair surgery is focused on harvesting hair from the donor area of the scalp, typically located at the back of the head, towards the neck.
The reason for harvesting hair from this region is the strength and durability of the hair, plus the discrete location that can be covered during the recovery stage.
What varies between procedures is the quantity of the hair harvested and the method it is extracted.
For high-volume procedures requiring more than 1000 grafts in a session, doctors tend to use the proven strip surgery method, also known as Follicular Unit Transplant, to harvest a linear portion of hair-bearing skin from the donor region.
The advantage of FUT is the high availability of strong hair ready for dissection and transplantation to the target areas on the cheeks, jaw, upper lip, and chin. This is the go-to method of hair harvesting for most hair transplants conducted worldwide and will likely be the technique used by your chosen clinic.
Alternatively, a process known as Follicle Unit Excision, or FUE, is growing in popularity for facial hair transplant surgeries. With FUE, surgeons use a specialized implement to pinpoint individual clusters of follicle units in the donor area, extracting them one at a time rather than removing a linear strip of skin for dissection and implantation.
The main appeal of FUE is for clients who want to minimize scarring on the donor area, which can occur with more extensive FUT extractions. However, FUE tends to be more expensive than FUT, and the lower yield of quality donor hair may not be ideal for bigger procedures.
While methods of harvesting hair may be different depending on surgery type and doctor preference, the implantation process is largely the same in most facial hair transplant procedures.
Once healthy follicles are obtained and procured in a liquid solution, the surgeon will make small incisions in the face, just large enough to implant follicle units one by one.
Since follicle units will vary in size (ranging from one to three hairs on average), surgeons must quickly determine where and how they should be placed in the target area. This is the more labor-intensive part of the process, requiring extreme focus and precision.
Recovery and Follow-Ups
In total, the facial hair surgery process will take anywhere from three to six hours, depending on the techniques used by the surgeon and accompanying technicians and the number of hairs implanted.
Patients will typically go home that same day, with instructions from the clinic on navigating the recovery process and ensuring the best outcome for the procedure.
This usually involves a week of more limited activities as the donor and recipient areas scab and heal, and patients are advised against doing any strenuous physical activity.
After about two weeks, the client can return to the clinic for a follow-up meeting with the surgeon to check on the progress of the procedure. By then, the affected areas will be nearly healed, but it will take a few weeks before the new facial hair should be shaved or groomed.
Choosing a Clinic and Surgeon
To get the best facial hair transplant results, clients should spend an appropriate amount of time researching and selecting a doctor to perform the procedure. Here are the key factors to consider during this process.
Reputation and Reviews
Since facial hair surgery is still relatively new in the cosmetic field, fewer clinics offer the service, and being selective is even more critical.
Try to learn about a surgeon’s reputation from reading reviews online and gear your search towards hair restoration specialists with experience in FUT or FUE.
Before & After Photos
Facial hair transplants vary widely in scope and type, so make sure your clinic has featured a before and after photo gallery highlighting this variation, including clients of different ages, ethnicities, and beard types.
Ongoing Care and Support
If you’re interested in alternative treatments or other forms of hair restoration, choose a clinic that specializes in this field.
That way, you have a one-stop shop that can provide ongoing support for all your cosmetic goals related to the hair on the face and scalp.
Get the Facial Hair That Suits You Best
Never before has facial hair surgery been so accessible, affordable, and effective.
If you think that this procedure is right for you, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with a top surgeon with experience and expertise in the field of facial hair transplants.
Find out if Hair Restoration is right for you.
Speak with Jae Pak, M.D. today!