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Posted on: February 1st, 2016 by hairrestoration

Barbie Pascal
Hair Restoration Specialists

We can safely assume that hair loss has been an issue for men and women since the days of our cave dwelling ancestors. The first recorded procedures were called Advancement Rotation Flaps used to address head wounds back in the days of the Spanish-American War and WW1 in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

In 1959, Dr. Norman Orentrich first used hair restoration surgery to cosmetically treat male pattern baldness, and the procedure caught on like wildfire. At the time, Dr. Orentrich and his colleagues used a process of extracting rather large sections of the scalp to create individual “hair plugs” which were used in the areas where hair was either thin or missing entirely. The upside was that those experiencing hair losses finally had a way to reverse the process. The downside to the hair plugs was that the plugs were large and obvious, as were the scars that the process left patients with.

As the industry evolved, so did the needs of patients who were seeking treatment for their hair loss. Early improvements were made to the “hair plug” process, and Scalp Reduction Surgery, or “flaps” was born. The donor area nearest to the balding area was surgically stretched to rebuild the affected area.   This proved to be more natural looking than plugs, but the patients tended to need to undergo the process four or more times on average to provide the desired thickness and placement. Unfortunately, scarring was considerable, and due to the location of the donor hair necessary to perform the method, the flap procedure did not prevent future hair loss.

Around at the end of 1988, the hair transplant industry adopted a new method of addressing hair loss with a process called “Free Hair Transplant Grafting”. To address the scarring issues caused with earlier methods for transplantation, doctors began using a punch tool to take 4mm grafts. By 1991, the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), better known as the “strip method” took over the industry as a technique to address the issues previously causing dissatisfaction. This method is subject to the artistic technique of the person performing the surgery, so the results appeared much more natural. Linear scarring from this procedure was more limited than with previous procedures, however, strenuous exercise tended to make the scarring worse.

This led to the birth of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), which is used today by most transplantation specialists. This procedure is also based on the artistic technique of each transplantation expert, leaves virtually no visible scarring, and is less invasive which allows for a shorter healing time. Patients can participate in strenuous exercise once they have healed, and the end result is a very natural look that allows for continued hair growth.

Since that time, only three non-surgical medications/treatments have been approved by the FDA to address hair re-growth. The names of these treatments are Rogaine, Propecia and the Hairmax Lasercomb. They tend to stabilize hair loss, for the most part, but slowly the patients experience further hair loss. As a long-term solution, these treatments can be costly, not permanent and have physical side effects that prove unpleasant for many who chose these options.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy involves the safe and effective method of using a needle to inject the patient’s own platelet-rich plasma into the scalp, utilizing the growth factors in the blood to naturally stimulate hair growth. This treatment is especially successful after hair transformation surgery to fortify the grafts and solidify procedure success.

With the advent of new technology, the FUE process can now incorporate the use of an image guided, computer driven robotic device, called ARTAS, that is even more precise, consistent and maximizes the growth potential of the grafts transplanted using the FUE technique.

Today’s hair transformation surgery, when done right, can create a natural look with results that fool even most hair stylists. Patients can enjoy a head full of natural hair that last a lifetime!