If you are facing the impending consequences of hair loss, all your friends’ well-coiffed heads of hair can start to seem like a taunt or a challenge, or perhaps just unfair.
As your follicles keep waning and theirs keep growing back strong, an idea might start to creep into your head—you may start to wonder, why can’t your hair be like theirs?
What if their head of hair was yours?
You hardly want to scalp your friends or passersby, but hair donors do exist for wig-making purposes, so is it possible to do the same with your own head of hair?
Can you get hair transplanted from another person?
We will try answer this fascinating question.
The short answer to our question right now is no – right now, hair donations for implantation is simply are not feasible.
You might wonder why that’s the case,since we obviously perform organ transplants without any problem.
There are many reasons for that, but the simplest is that you are your own hair donor for a hair transplant.
The hair does not come from someone else, but rather yourself.
As a mammal, you have hair all over your body.
Your arms, legs, and torso can have a ton of hair.
How much of this you wish to have grafted onto your head is another matter, but the fact remains that this is the type of hair that is typically “transplanted” onto your scalp via these procedures.
Why can’t you do this with someone else’s hair?
Your immune system would reject it.
Dealing with the immune system is always a challenge when it comes to transplants of any kind.
Body parts are not the same as car parts, which can be taken out of one car and put into another with no problem.
Your body produces specific antibodies, and your organs are obviously coded with your own DNA.
As such, your body knows an “impostor” when it sees one, and when it does, it tries to destroy it.
That’s great news for your survival, but it also kills your chance of being able to take hair transplants from someone else.
While immuno-suppressant drugs may be used in organ transplants occasionally, at present they are not used in hair transplants since, again, there’s no need – typically, you are your own donor.
While you probably won’t be taking hair from your beard or mustache and grafting that onto your head, there is still probably enough hair on other parts of your body for suitable grafts.
Finally, it is worth noting that even if you theoretically were able to take someone else’s hair (which, again, is not presently possible), it likely would not look natural grafted alongside your own hair.
As such, this is not a viable solution at present.
A qualified hair transplant surgeon should have no problem talking you through the procedure and determining the best way to take hair from different parts of your body and graft it onto your head.
Just because a hair donor isn’t a realistic solution today doesn’t mean that it can’t become one tomorrow.
Maybe we will find a way around the immune system barrier, although this seems unlikely at present.
More intriguing is the possibility of hair cloning.
We have seen cloning become more and more sophisticated over the past quarter-century, and there is already talk about being able to clone organs someday.
On the one hand, no matter how much you may need hair, there are more urgent transplants that take up the lion-share of publicly funded research efforts.
On the other hand, these organs bring with them serious ethical issues, whereas hair transplants – as an elective cosmetic surgery involving hair follicles – may be a less fraught issue.
Hair transplant technology is improving all the time, with first FUT and then FUE reshaping the industry. There is no way of knowing what kind of hair grafting breakthroughs we will make in the next decade.
However, suffice it to say that since this is indeed one of the most lucrative cosmetic fields in medicine, further investment, research, and breakthroughs are highly likely.
While you cannot get hair transplants from another person, the technology that allows you to become your own hair donor is getting better all the time.
Pharmacist with special interest in hair loss and hair transplantation.
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