History of Hair Transplantation

For a few decades now hair transplants have been the answer to hair loss and in particular to androgenic alopecia.

History of Hair Transplantation

The first written record of successful hair transplantation to baldness in humans is from 1822 in German when a German student called Diffenbach and his mentor, Professor Dom Unger, published the results of their experimental research on animals and humans which involved transplanting hair from one patient to another.

Nevertheless, we owe the development of modern hair transplant techniques to the Japanese dermatologist Dr. S. Okuda whose publications during 1930 – 1940 described the use of hair grafts for traumatic alopecia from hair-bearing areas to hairless areas on the scalp and even eyebrows.  However, owing to the World War II, these publications remained unknown outside Japan until nearly 20 years later.

It was in 1959 when Dr. Orentreich revolutionised the treatment of androgenic alopecia with the publication of his findings in this field and the introduction of a new transplant technique similar to that of Dr Okuda. More importantly, he established the physiologic basis for transplants based on the concepts of donor dominance and recipient dominance. Dr. Orentreich proved that the success of a transplant or treatment of androgenic alopecia depended on donor dominance, as the hair transplant continues to grow in the same manner as it did before extraction.

Current hair transplants

Through research and the experience acquired over the years in hair transplantation, it has been possible to develop different extraction and hair transplant techniques, finally leading to the achievement of a more natural look for transplant recipients, compared to hair transplants in the early days whose noticeable grafts were reminiscent of doll’s hair.

The methods most used nowadays are FUT and FUE:

FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant), also known as FUSS (Follicular Unit Strip Surgery)

The FUT method, also called the “strip method” involves removing a small strip of donor hair tissue from the back and sides of the head and creating Follicular Units (FUs) to be transplanted via tiny incisions in the recipient sites.

FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)

The FUE method is a more recent technique which involves a specialised micro-punch device – the punches ranging from 0.6 to 1.2mm in diameter – that extracts individual follicular units from the scalp, these FUs then being transplanted with utmost precision directly into the bald areas.

The decision of which transplant method to use in each case, whether the patient be male or female, should be recommended by the specialist after the initial consultation.  Treatment could involve just one type of treatment or a combination of them, depending on the desired outcome.

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