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The Evolution of Hair Restoration

7/24/2018 7:19:58 PM

Hair restoration has evolved a long way since its inception in the early 1950's. The "doll" or "pluggy" look that hair transplantation was once associated with has now evolved in to today's ultra-refined follicular unit transplantation technique that, when performed successfully, is completely undetectable and natural.

Hair Restoration is born 

In the late 1950's one surgeon by the name of Dr. Norman Orentreich, began to conduct experiments with transplanting the hair on the back and sides of the scalp to balding or thinning areas of the scalp. Dr. Orentreich's experiments proved that hairs moved from the back and the sides of the scalp maintained their "balding" genetic resistance. This principle is referred to as "donor dominance" which established that hair could be transplanted from genetically resistant donor areas to susceptible balding areas and continue to grow, this laid the foundation for hair restoration as we know it. 

Early days of hair restoration

During the 60's and 70's hair transplants became more and more popular. However, the procedure itself lacked a standard or refinement. Procedures in those days used large grafts commonly referred to as "plugs".  These large grafts were removed by large punches and contained up to 20 hairs per graft. This outdated surgical technique achieved decent results if several procedures were carried out. However, patients were limited with how they could style their hair and it was often detactable and looked unnatural. 

In the 1980's hair restoration as a surgical technique continued to evolve dramatically, the large "plug" grafts were replaced with a more refined "mini" graft or "micro" graft. Furthermore, the previous donor harvesting method of utilizing large surgical punches were then replaced with a donor strip being harvested from the back and sides of the scalp. The strip was then trimmed in to "micro" and "mini" grafts and transplanted in to the balding areas. While light years ahead of the previously performed large "plug" grafts from the 60's and 70's, the mini grafts were still not refined and could still leave a "barbie doll" or "corn row" appearance. 

Revolution of hair restoration 

In the 90's hair restoration was revolutionized with a new surgical technique called "follicular unit transplantation" or "FUT". This refined technique transplanted hair in their naturally occuring one (1), two (2), three (3) and four (4) hair "follicular unit groupings" in which they grow naturally.  This refined techinque requires high powered magnification devices which enable technicians to properly trim the donor tissue in to 1,2,3, and 4 hair follicular unit grafts.

Modern day hair restoration 

Today hair restoration surgeons use micro surgical blades and the size of hair grafts have become even smaller. Consequently, hair transplant surgeons are now able to safely make more tiny graft incisions than ever before. Today's world renowned hair surgeons can now "dense pack" balding areas with as many as 40 to 60 follicular units per square centimeter  and even more when appropriate for the patient. This high density of transplanted hair typically produces the appearance of fullness and patients generally do not experience any visibile skin distortions or scarring due to the tiny size of these incisions. These ultra-refined surgical techiques used today produce natural results that are undetactable even under close scrutiny.

Conclusion 

As with any surgery surgeon selection is key to achieving the desired look or appearance. This is especially true with hair restoration, there are only a select few hair restoration surgeons that perform this ultra-refined technique with consistent succesful outcomes. It is crucial to consult with a pre-screened hair restoration surgeon to discuss all of the options available both surgical and non-surgical. 

Written and Published By, 

Melvin (HTsoon), Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.