These days, everyone wants to grow a beard. And why not? They're masculine, stylish, and they even keep your face from getting chapped in winter. But what about those baby-faced guys who can barely sprout a whisker? You can always opt for a beard transplant. In a day where the lunch-time facelift is growing acceptance, it's not surprising that there are plenty of (pricey) options when it comes to surgically patching your beard.
Hair-restoration clinics across the nation use slightly different techniques to perform beard transplants, but this is basically the gist: A doctor harvests active follicles from the back or sides of your head, where hair is usually the thickest and less prone to balding. He then implants those follicles on your chin, above your lip, or wherever on your face you don't naturally grow hair. Each follicle is meticulously placed so that the hair will grow at the correct angle. The doc then sutures up the spots from which he took the follicles (usually, the small scars will be obscured by the hair that hangs over them). It takes a few months for the transplanted hair to begin growing normally, but once it fills in, its texture is usually very similar to that of regular facial hair. You can even shave it — and it'll keep growing back.
Beard transplants have become especially big cities like Nashville, New York, L.A., and Austin, Texas. For instance, at PAI Medical Group in Nashville, which began offering the procedure a decade ago, the number of men seeking beard transplants has increased tenfold. According to clinic director Michael Ramsey, PAI now gets five or more inquiries a week. "It's a convergence of the hipster style, the Duck Dynasty thing, and more influence from Middle Eastern cultures, where beards are a sign of virility and sexuality," he says.
If you want a beard bad enough to get a transplant, you're in for a lot of money. Ramsey says more traditional techniques range from $4,000 to $12,000, depending on how much hair you have transferred. PAI just became the first clinic in the country to offer robotic transplants, which cost up to $17,000, but are more precise and less invasive.
Cost aside, Ramsay says the success rate of beard transplants is very high and patients are usually happy they went for it. "I have yet to see one of these not work," he says. "As long as you're transferring your own hair, it's really just rearranging your body tissues."