Hair Transplant Generalities Donor Zone in Hair Transplantation

Donor Zone in Hair Transplantation


The donor area in the hair transplant is a pillar. So in the hair graft, its analysis and study has been extensive and extensive. From those who want to have a classic hair transplant using the back of the head; even those who want to perform BHT (Body Hair Transplant).

Relevance of the donor area

Once the follicle is lost for whatever reason, for  androgenetic alopecia or some scar, there is no way to regrow new hair. When this point is reached, the only way to restore hair is a transplant surgery. What we do in this type of hair procedure is a redistribution of the follicles, to give the hair an appearance of normality. Currently, cosmetic results are very effective in most patients. 

However, the total number of follicles remains the same, since we cannot pull hair out of nowhere. In short, what we do is take hair from an area where it is abundant and we pass it to an area of ​​the head where there is no longer any. The area where the hair is taken is known as the donor area. In theory, any hair from any part of the body can be transplanted. However, in patients suffering from androgenetic alopecia, hair may continue to fall out. To ensure that the result remains for a long time and that the procedure is worth it, we must ensure that the transplanted hair is not lost as well. That is why the hair must be taken from the appropriate donor area.

Basically there are two widely used donor areas:

  • Neighborhood Safety of the scalp or traditional area.
  • Body hair.

Safe donor area in hair transplantation. 

This area corresponds to the back of the head, specifically to the occipital and parietal part of the head, this means the back of the neck and sides. Follicles obtained from this area are traditionally considered the most suitable for transplant surgery. This is because the genetics of these follicles are slightly different from those of the follicles on the top of the head. The follicles in this area are highly resistant to stimulation caused by male sex hormones, testosterone and DHT. It is important to mention that the limits of this area vary depending on each patient. So there is no general rule of thumb to determine the area covered in all patients.

Various studies have been done to determine the boundaries of this region. Many agree that the lateral limit of the donor area is at the level of the external auditory canal, more or less in the middle of the ear. The upper and lower edges of the area depend on the patient's family and particular history, their age, if they use any treatment such as minoxidil or finasterideThis makes them more difficult to determine.

Boundaries of the safe area

It is recommended to leave a 2.5 cm separation margin with any area that shows evidence of thinning or miniaturization of the hair, since these areas are susceptible to loss over time. So, the doctor must evaluate the quality of the donor area during the extraction process, to determine the approximate limits of the safety zone and to take the best area of ​​the hair.  

In order for the safe donor area of ​​the head to be used without problems, it must have an adequate density. The average density is 1.5 to 3 hairs / mm2. A patient with a hair density in the donor area lower than that is not considered a good candidate for hair transplantation. One very important thing is that, because hair does not regenerate out of nowhere, the donor area is limited. It is considered that up to half of the available follicles at the back of the head can be used without noticeable hair loss. 

For patients who do not have an adequate posterior donor area, other options should be sought on where to obtain follicles. 

Donor zone of hair or body hair (BHT).

As we mentioned, the donor area on the back of the head is ideal for a hair transplant or beard transplant. However, in some cases, when the patient's loss is excessive, the amount of hair that can be obtained from the back of the head may not be enough to obtain a desired result. This can also be a problem in patients who have lost their donor site, due to previous transplants. In these cases, it is necessary to search for alternate donor areas.

The most frequently used areas in people with a lot of hair can be the chest, legs and even pubic hair. One important thing to mention is that body hair is not hair itself, so when transplanted it tends to retain the same characteristics that it had in the area where it was. For this reason, it is advisable to consider it only in extreme cases. 

It is also useful for restoring eyebrows or eyelashes. Body hair transplantation is more difficult for the doctor to do, as the growth cycles of body hair are different from those of head hair; hair is often more fragile, making it more difficult to remove. 

Recommendations on body hair

Sometimes, it is recommended to use a previous treatment with minoxidil a few weeks before the transplant to standardize the growth cycles of the follicles and strengthen the hair. In order for a patient to be a candidate for a procedure using body hair, it is recommended that it be of sufficient quantity and quality to be able to cover the area to be restored.

It is important for patients to understand that the quality of body hair is not as good as that of hair coming from the head; so, the efficiency of the procedure is not that high when performed this way. Although some follicles may adapt to their new area, most of the implanted follicles will retain their characteristics; so it won't grow as long or as fast as the hair on your head. Therefore, the area and distribution of this hair must be selected very well so that a good result is obtained.

In some cases, it is recommended to mix hair from the donor area of ​​the head with body hair. This allows to give greater coverage to patients with extensive hair loss and give more natural results.

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Dr. Enrique Orozco
Dr. Enrique Orozco
General Director, Specialist in Trichology and Hair Transplantation Certified by ABHRS. Only ABHRS Certified with residence in Mexico.


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Dr. Enrique Orozco
General Director, Specialist in Trichology and Hair Transplantation Certified by ABHRS. Only ABHRS Certified with residence in Mexico.




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