I’m considering hair transplant surgery, but I’m afraid I don’t have sufficient supply in my donor region. I do have quite a few nape hairs on the back of my neck, and I’m wondering this these can be used in the procedure? Can nape hair be used in hair transplant surgery?
The universal safe donor zone – where the hair follicles are highly resistant to the hair loss causing hormone (DHT or dihydrotestosterone) – is a clearly defined region in the back of the scalp. Follicular units are normally not extracted outside of this region because they are not as resistant to DHT and may eventually shed if transplanted to different areas of the scalp. Hair follicles from the nape region of the neck fall outside of this safe harvest area.
Because of this, nape hair is generally not considered “safe” to use in traditional hair transplant surgery. However, many hair restoration physicians possess a different opinion when it comes to using nape hair in surgery. Nape hair is located below (inferior) the safe donor region, and is only truly susceptible to shedding in rare cases of unpatterned diffuse alopecia (DUPA) and retrograde alopecia. This means it is normally preserved and – many believe – likely more stable than normal scalp hair. Nape hair also possesses a finer caliber and “softer” appearance compared to normal scalp hair. Because many consider nape hair reasonably stable and aesthetically pleasing in appearance, it is frequently utilized in hair transplant surgery. Specifically, surgeons like to utilize it in hairline restoration – as it allows for a natural softening of the micro hairline region.
So, can nape hair be used in hair transplant surgery? Technically, it is outside of the universal safe donor region and could be susceptible to future shedding. However, some surgeons feel comfortable utilizing nape hair and believe it may be helpful in designing soft, natural hairlines. Furthermore, the risks and potential benefits of using hair from outside the defined donor region should be thoroughly discussed with your hair restoration physician before undergoing surgery.
Blake Bloxham – formerly “Future_HT_Doc”
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