Author Bio: Dr. Sanusi Umar MD is the author of this article.
Alex is the remarkable young man who is presented in this patient case study. He overcame a very noticeable facial congenital defect through a series of cosmetic surgeries performed during early childhood. These procedures replaced a large facial nevus (i.e. mole) with skin grafts taken from his neck and forehead. Although the operations succeeded at removing the dark, discolored areas, they also left him without a left eyebrow and normal beard hair growth on the right side of his face. Dr.U was inspired by Alex’s story, his personal adjustment to his condition, and infallible spirit. He decided to accept the teen as a beard hair restoration patient on a pro bono basis, through his Los Angeles charity organization, the Hair Peace Foundation. Dr.U recognized that entering one’s twenties marks a pivotal transition in one’s life, particularly in the areas of career and social relationships. The teen underwent a very specialized procedure using Dr.UGraft ™ technology to harvest leg and nape hair as the most natural looking matches for reproducing normal eyebrow and beard hair growth needed to create an outcome that mirrors the left side of the patient’s face.
Background On Balloon Expansion Skin Graft Surgery To Replace Congenital Facial Nevus
Large, congenital nevi are generally harmless for the most part. Yet, since they are very noticeable, individuals who are born with moles of this size tend to feel extremely self-conscious and set-apart from others. School-aged peers and even adults may not always know how to react appropriately. They may stare, make insensitive remarks, or worse yet, even bully those with these distinctive facial markings. It is estimated that large, congenital nevi occur in one out of every 20,000 newborns.
As a very young child, Alex had cosmetic surgical procedures performed to eliminate his dark facial mole. Doctors worked to replace it with skin grafts taken from his face and neck. The process of acquiring these grafts required expanding the donor skin surface areas. This was the means by which extra skin was provided for the affected (recipient) areas on his face. At the same time, enough skin was left behind to cover the original areas.
A tissue expansion technique using a balloon expander was used to achieve these goals. This method is commonly used to repair skin surfaces affected by burns and other disfiguring wounds. The balloon expander is placed under the skin causing it to stretch and enlarge its original surface area.
Alex’s surgeons first removed the nevus so that scar tissue could form and take its place. The skin grafts derived from the tissue expansion were then used to cover the remaining scarred areas left behind from the nevus removal.
Although Alex no longer had the darkened mole areas on his face, he was left with several scars, lagopthalmus (i.e. a condition where the individual has the inability to blink or completely close their eyelids), hair growth on his right cheek which he had to shave daily, and rugous/goose skin texture.
Before Photos- Los Angeles Beard Hair Restoration Patient Hopes to Overcome Missing Eyebrow and Abnormal Beard Growth
Alex lost his right eyebrow and the ability to grow a normal beard after his facial nevus was replaced by skin grafts. The grafts taken from the neck were placed on his upper right cheek. Once he entered puberty, hair started to grow on his upper face, instead of the normal beard region. The patient had to constantly shave off the abnormal hair on his cheek, as a result.
Dr.U used laser to eliminate this problem once and for all. When laser energy is applied to the hair follicle it then enters a permanent telogen resting phase. This approach eliminates unwanted hair and also stops new hair from growing. Dr.U’s treatment with laser also improved the goose skin bumps to a certain degree.
The next step would be to then reconstruct the patient’s eyebrow and normal beard hair patterns so that they would be identical to his left side. While beards are a popular trend among younger men, Alex’s transplanted facial hair would also help conceal some of the scarring and abnormal skin texture on his right cheek. In this particular case, a beard reconstruction would involve choosing the right type of hair that matches the thickness on the left side.
Beard Hair Restoration Procedure Photos – Dr.UGraft ™ Technology To Safely Harvest Leg and Nape Hair Grafts
Dr.U decided to harvest leg and nape hair for Alex’s beard hair restoration and eyebrow reconstruction. This selection was necessary in order to reproduce the softness and fine caliber seen in the left eyebrow and beard regions. By contrast, regular head hair would be a poor choice since it is noticeably thicker than the eyebrow and beard growth on the patient’s left half of his face. As the inventor of Dr.UGraft™ technology, Dr.U is able to offer a highly specialized procedure which is uniquely qualified to perform extractions from the leg and nape regions.
The difficulty in attaining these unconventional graft choices has been due to the inability to safely isolating them on surfaces of the body that are much softer than the scalp. However, thanks to the engineering behind Dr.UGraft ™ Intuitive FUE technology, this objective can now be made possible.
Dr.U’s Transplantation of Nape and Leg Hair Restores Eyebrow and Beard Symmetry
Once Dr.U harvested his targeted quantity of leg and nape donor hair grafts, the next phase of Alex’s procedure was to insert these follicles to reproduce natural contours and growth patterns shown on the left side of the face. Establishing a mirrored symmetry was the biggest challenge for this phase of the surgery. Yet this end result would represent a major milestone in helping Alex achieve a towards a more normal looking appearance.
Extracted leg hair grafts to be used for Alex’s eyebrow reconstruction surgery and facial hair transplantation.
In order to decide if nape hair would be able to last long term on Alex’s recipient areas, Dr.U performed his FUE Shave Test, which was reported in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. This evaluation involves first shaving the back of the scalp to observe specific growth patterns. A decline of hair density, distribution or caliber would indicate that these follicles have already been affected by miniaturization. However, in this case, Alex shows healthy, even distribution in the nape region. Based on these findings, Dr.U concluded that nape hair grafts could indeed be utilized to provide softer and more natural looking permanent growth for this patient.
Dr.U carefully studied the shape of Alex’s left eyebrow and beard. He then recreated these contours on the right side of the face.
Before and After Photos of Dr.U’s Right Eyebrow and Beard Construction For Overcoming Congenital Birth Defect
These side by side, before and after comparison photos highlight the final symmetrical effect achieved by Dr.U’s reconstruction of the patient’s right eyebrow and beard.
The inclusion of nape hair helped to render a more true-to-life-coarse hair texture that is seen on the left side of the face.
Alex’s leg donor area which helped furnish a significant percentage of his eyebrow and facial hair transplant grafts shows exceptional final skin healing results, with no visible signs of surgery remaining.
Overall, the patient is immensely pleased with his new eyebrow and the refined mature look that his completed beard helped to produce for his appearance. The most remarkable part of Alex’s story is that he managed to develop high levels of confidence and self-esteem, independent of his physical defects. He didn’t need or depend on his eyebrow and facial hair transplant to achieve these inner qualities. Instead, his procedure only helped to enhance the existing blessings, happiness, and wholeness in his life.
VIDEO: Los Angeles Patient Shares His Feedback on His Eyebrow and Beard Restoration
In this video, learn more about Alex’s story and hear what he has to say about his eyebrow and beard transplant results.
If you are in the greater Los Angeles area and are considering a hair transplant procedure performed by Dr.U, send us your photos and the details of what you’d like to achieve through our complimentary online consultation form.
Frequently Asked Questions – Beard Hair Restoration
I’ve heard that nape hair may not last long term. Is this really a good choice for a beard hair restoration surgery, or restoration of other areas?
Conventionally, the use of nape hair has been generally avoided because it has shown to be non-permanent in some patients. On the other hand, however, this hair type has been able to last long term in other individuals. Dr. U’s FUE Shave Test which can be used to determine when hair from the nape is a suitable choice for transplantation.
Dr.U’s published study illustrates the effectiveness and reliability of the information provided by the shaved surface of a patient’s head. Uniform hair distribution patterns in the nape area will accurately indicate whether or not it can be expected to last on a permanent basis for a particular patient. By using the FUE Shave Test as a screening resource, patients will not have to worry about having nape hair last on a temporary basis.
For an eyebrow and beard hair restoration, why is the Dr.UGraft ™ technology considered to be intuitive? Is it built to automatically perform differently on specific patients?
The Dr.UGraft ™ intuitive FUE device, also known as the intelligent (i) punch is regarded as intuitive because it’s performance behavior has been engineered to be customizable for the skin thickness anatomy of different patients (and also on different donor regions on the same individual) rather than operating through a single, one-size-fits-all modality. It is built with a sensor that provides feedback to the operator who is then able to set new parameters as needed for the individual.
By accounting for skin thickness as a critical contributor to graft transection, it is possible to safely harvest viable grafts from non-head areas to be transplanted into recipient areas such as the eyebrow and beard.
What factors qualify a person to qualify as a pro bono eyebrow and beard transplant patient at Dr.U’s Hair Peace Foundation organization?
The Hair Peace Foundation organization selects pro bono hair transplant recipients for the beard, eyebrows, scalp and other areas, based on financial need and the difficulty of the patient’s hair loss situation, as illustrated by Alex’s case, described above. In general, there must be severe loss of hair as a result of circumstances such as burns, accidents, disease or botched surgeries. The impact of a procedure must be able to produce a significant improvement, not only in terms of the patient’s final appearance but also their emotional, spiritual and mental well being.
Read more about Bill, another candidate of Dr.U’s Hair Peace Foundation who underwent a life-changing hair restoration procedure with body hair, after having suffered multiple failed hair transplant surgeries.