If you’re frustrated by a receding hairline, stop looking at your head — and start looking at your legs. A new procedure can graft hair follicles from the legs and provide relief to men with male pattern baldness.
While men’s leg hair has been successfully transplanted to the back of the head before, the two cases published in The Archives of Dermatology are believed to be the first cases of leg hair being used to restore the hairline.
Traditionally, hair transplants are done using hair from the back of the head, but it can give an unnatural appearance. “If you look at a natural hairline, it’s very soft, like baby hair,” said Dr. Sanusi Umar, an associate instructor of dermatology at the medical school of the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of the new report.
“The back of the head is where you find the thickest hair on the head. If you take that hair and use it in the hairline, it can end up looking harsh and pluggy, because the hair is too thick,” he told the New York Times.
So Umar and his team decided to try something else. With two patients, they extracted about 1,000 leg hair follicles and grafted them, one by one, to the patients’ hairlines. About 75 to 80 percent of the transplanted leg hair grew successfully on their heads after the operations, and with one patient, Umar reported that “the hairline was fully grown and soft-looking by nine months.”
On average, a procedure involves 1,500 to 1,800 follicles, takes about eight hours, and leaves no bald spots on the patient’s legs. “It’s life-altering for [men with male pattern baldness] when they realize that this is possible,” Umar said.