The single most important thing about hair transplant surgery is that it is personalized. It is no cookie cutter procedure where surgeons just follow a template to fit you in. A good hair surgeon and a successful hair transplant surgery caters to the needs of the patient, be it the size of the balding site, their hairline and even their ethnicity.
On that note, let’s take a closer look at Asian hair transplant surgery, and why it has specific characteristics that has to be met.
The importance of choosing a good surgeon has a profound effect on the outcome of your procedure. It is very critical that he is sensitive to the needs of the patient, and in this case, he should be aware of the several anatomical variables that affect Asian hair. This is very important to people who are of East and South Asian descent considering hair restoration surgery.
Dr. Andrew Kim specializes in hair transplantation and treatment of ethnic hair loss in Sydney and Melbourne, including Asian hair transplantation.
Characteristics of Asian Hair Transplant
Compared to Caucasians, Asian hair are thicker in diameter creating that appearance of a fuller hair. When magnified, the follicular units of Asian hair consist predominantly of one or two hairs, in contrast to the 2-4 units typical in Caucasian scalp. It is also worth noting that the scalp hair distribution also starts with a flatter hairline up front, which then rounds at the sides to a widely-shaped skull.
Asian hair also have lower density in small follicular units but because of its wide diameter, it still gives an impression of fullness. A good surgeon should also be aware of its less acute emergent angle. Adding to that, Asian hair is also much known for being straight, coarse and black. It also creates a very distinct skin-hair color contrast.
Challenges of Asian Hair Transplant
A lot of surgeons approach Asian hair transplant with much hesitation because of the challenging aspect of making it look completely natural. The dark hair and light skin contrast is an important factor to consider in achieving maximum aesthetic results after the procedure. This tends to make the outcome less full compared to light hair on light skin.
In such cases, the marked contrast tend to exaggerate the spaces between the hairs. But when skin and hair color tend to match and are within the same shade, the skin color will act as a filler for the spaces between the hair shafts. This is the reason why surgeons would do additional hair transplant sessions to achieve the coverage appropriate for the patient.
Due to the coarse nature of Asian hair, it makes for large grafts and this has the tendency to look more pluggy. But under the expertise of a highly skilled surgeon, this will actually work for the better. Since hair shaft diameter is an important factor in creating volume, which is even more important than the actual number of hairs, this creates more impact for the overall result of the implant.
Many are also concerned of the coarse nature of Asian hair and whether if it is appropriate to be used on the frontal hairline. But surgeons today, with the improvement in techniques, are able to work around it to create a desirable outcome, which keeps Asian hair characteristics.
Asian hair also tends to lie slightly perpendicular to the scalp therefore, it has the tendency to stand from the scalp. This is even the reason why a lot of Asian babies have their hair point straight out. Caucasians have their hair lie relatively flat with its more acute angle.
When Asian hair is worn long, the thick hair shafts weigh it down causing it to bend downward creating yet again that illusion of fullnes. But the concern now is in men who most of the time prefer to wear their hair short, so when they have it cut, the length causes the hair to stick out allowing any onlooker to see easily view the scalp. This holds a certain bearing particularly on the type of closure that will be used.
A low tenion closure would be more appropriate to create less visible scarring if the patient wants to wear his hair short. The chances of keloid formation, which is also prevalent in Asians, is also a special consideration.
Another concern is that there is low folllicle density in the donor area, which also means that there is less available donor hair that can be used for transplantation. This can be a problem when correcting severe forms of hair loass.
Improvements in Approach to Asian Hair Transplant
Today, there are more surgeons who have developed better skills and expertise in performing hair transplant on Asians. With better knowledge on the characteristics of Asian hair, they are now able to customize their approach better.
An example is in creating a frontal hairline (See the photo above). As mentioned earlier, this is one of the common issues in Asian hair transplant surgery. But what surgeons do is to remove the bottom of the hair follicles to produce a finer textured hair to create that desired softness to the hairline. See before and after photos below.
The effects of a good Asian hair transplant can be extremely gratifying. You just have to start with a skilled surgeon who is also well versed in handling Asian hair. With that sensitivity to the patient’s ethnicity, he can better recreate or even improve their look.
The Australian Institute of Hair Restoration offers you a personal consultation free of charge where you will receive information on your options.