Pioneered by a Japanese dermatologist in 1939, hair transplantation was used as a process to restore hair loss caused by scalp injuries and burns. Utilizing a punch technique, small sections of hair-bearing skin were removed and transplanted into smaller holes made in the recipient area. While the surgical procedure was vastly improved only a few years later in Japan, it was not until the 1950s that the US would see the impact on procedures for the treatment of hair loss.
HAIR RESTORATION SURGERY COMES WEST
In 1959, New York City dermatologist Norman Orentreich completed the first hair transplant in the United States. The advancement was not without some drawbacks however and was widely criticized as the technique resulted in unnatural looking results, which still stigmatizes hair transplantation today. But his research established the resistance of hair on the sides and back of the head to hair loss even when transplanted to areas effected by hair loss, a principle known as “Donor Dominance.”
HAIR RESTORATION ADVANCES
With three decades of advancements, the unnatural, plug-like appearance of early hair transplant procedures is very much a thing of the past. The introduction of follicular unit transplantation in the 90s would vastly change the field, dismissing old stigmas and rendering hair restoration a truly viable option as a solution for those affected by hair loss.
The art and science of hair restoration progressed in tandem, large punch grafts were replaced by naturally occurring follicular units of one, two, and three hair groupings achieved via micro surgical techniques and instrumentation, resulting in outcomes virtually undetectable and natural looking.
HAIR RESTORATION TODAY
Today, those suffering from hair loss have a few surgical options for transplantation. The main difference today being the extraction process. The more prevalent is a linear strip extraction, which yields a large amount of grafts in a single session. Follicular unit extraction allows for the removal of individual grafts and as such does not leave a linear scar.
Surgeons continue to improve upon the technique. To learn more about hair restoration surgery schedule a consultation with a hair transplant surgeon.