Health Beat

Health Beat: Facial hair transplants for men

LOS ANGELES - The hipster beard has gone mainstream, but not all men have the hair to get there. One man, who asked to be called Justin, wanted a full goatee, but as he put it, there wasn't a lot of growth going on.

"I just wanted a more distinguished look. I've always wanted to be able to grow like a full beard," Justin explained.

"We did all of this area here, and I see a lot of the follicles that we put in," said Dr. Ken Williams, a hair restoration surgeon at the Irvine Institute of Medicine and Cosmetic Surgery.

Williams has noticed an increase in the number of people like Justin asking for more hair on their faces.

"We take that hair from the back of the occipital region of the scalp. We take that hair and we transplant it and individually insert it into the face where hair follicles are lacking," Williams continued.

It can take a couple of hours to most of the day, depending on how many hairs are transplanted. The hairs fall out in two to three weeks, but grow back in about three months.

Justin has spent about $20,000 on three procedures, but he's pleased.

"It's just fuller. It's just fuller, thicker, which is exactly what I was going for," Justin said.

Williams said facial hair transplantation can work for almost anybody from men who want full beards for religious reasons, to men with scars, to transgenders.

"It doesn't matter what gender they are, which orientation they are, the color of their hair, the color of their skin. This is something that can be done for anybody who wants facial hair," explained Williams.

But most guys don't seem to be going for the lumberjack look. A search for the most requested beard turned up Brad Pitt.

Patients are under a local anesthetic and said the procedure is not too painful.

Williams said people with active cancers, bleeding disorders, or who are taking anti-coagulants are not candidates for the procedure. The success rate is about the same as that of hair transplantation on the head.

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