HAIR TRANSPLANT HISTORY
In order to perform hair transplant surgery patients must have some hair because it is, after all, a self-transplant surgery. Throughout life, while some hairs weaken and fall out, others remain until old age.
It was discovered that hair roots could be transplanted to any part of the body and continue to grow as if they were in their original places.
Hair transplanting is a safe, painless procedure and only slightly invasive. It comprises removal of hair from the donor area (rear of head area) and inserting it in the recipient area (where there is a lack of hair).
In 1939, a Japanese dermatologist called Dr. Okuda was the first doctor to describe the hair transplant technique which, at that time, used devices called punches with which multiple hair follicular units were removed to be put into areas where the skin had suffered burns.
Five years later, another Japanese called Dr. Tamura used this technique to insert hairs in women's pubic areas. It was only in 1952 that an American doctor called Orentreich performed the first hair transplant in the western world. He published the results of his work in 1959 and it was thereafter that hair transplants became widely known.
For about 30 years thereafter, transplant techniques evolved very little. Only in 1990 did a new revolutionary technique to transplant hair emerge, giving patients much improved results and a considerably more natural appearance.
This technique is described as Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT).
It currently covers two different kinds, namely:
- Strip Harvesting, which involves the removal of a strip of scalp skin from the donor area at the rear of the head. This is then divided into several individual follicular units which are later transplanted to the recipient area.
- FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction), consisting of the removal of a single follicular unit at a time and transplanting it to the recipient area.
The choice of technique to be used is always discussed between the doctor and patient according to the specific circumstances.
With further regard to hair transplant, it is important - as Dr. Cruz Dinis advises - to point out that it is totally inappropriate to express the technique as the 'implanting' of follicular units.
These follicular units comprise hair follicles, cells, i.e. living material, so the correct expression is hair transplant and never hair implant.
Hair growth process