Hair Transplants Overview & Brief History
The principal behind hair transplant surgery stems from the permanency of some hair. While some hair on your scalp has a transient life span, other hair tends to endure for a lifetime. It was found that permanent hair could be moved to any part of the body where it can continue to grow and behave as if it was still in its original site.
Hair transplant is a safe and minor surgical procedure that includes harvesting the donor hair from the back or sides of the scalp (donor area), and relocating them into the balding or thinning areas of the scalp (recipient area). Dr. Okuda, a Japanese dermatologist announced the first study, the punch technique of hair transplantation in 1939. This was firstly applied to the scalp of severe burned patients and found that there was a considerable growth of hair.
Five years later, Dr. Tamura tried a micro grafting technique to restore female pubic hair from the Japanese society. After that, Dr. Orentreich from New York, performed hair transplantation in the western world in 1952. His findings were published in 1959 and since that time, transplanted hair was more commonly used to cover the balding areas. For 30 years, the techniques have not shown any considerable improvement.
Only in 1990, an innovative technique that provided natural results was firstly applied. This hair transplant procedure was known as the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) Technique.
(Image Source: Dr. O’Tar Norwood’s textbook ‘Hair Transplant Surgery’ published in 1973)
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) Technique
The FUT technique provides the patient’s natural hair groupings called follicular units. These are then removed from the surrounding skin in a way that leaves them intact in their genetic form. They are then implanted into the recipient area according to the appropriate density, distribution, direction, angle and orientation that are important factors for natural results.
Improvements in hair transplant from the last ten years have shown benefits; providing implant angles and density that contribute to your natural pattern of hair. Improvements have also been made with faster recovery times and minimal scarring at the donor area. With the naked eyes, it is almost impossible to distinguish the difference between the existing hair and transplanted hair. The whole hair transplant procedure takes about 5-6 hours depending on the number of grafts you transplant, and people usually go back to normal duties in around 5 to 7 days after the operation. Our clinic provides you with continuous advices and supports for your hair care.
Trichophytic Closure Technique
Traditional hair transplant donor scars have a width of 1-3mm in 95% of patients and 2-3% of patients may see their scars even wider. The key for minimizing the scar visibility is to directly apply the scar reducing factors such as the healing characteristics of head tissues and collagen. Fortunately, Australian Institute of Hair Restoration uses many surgical techniques to minimize scarring and scar widening.
Trichophytic closure, “hair loving” in Latin, promotes hair growth directly through a healing wound. For many years cosmetic surgeons have used this technique while repairing hairlines during brow lifts or in conjunction with face lifts. Now Dr Andrew Kim employs this unique technique to minimize scars resulted from harvesting of donor site hair (1). A small piece of one wound edge, as well as the corresponding hair, is removed (2). When the wound heals and a scar is formed, the buried and partially cut hair follicles will begin to grow through the scar (3). Since hair follicles cut in this manner resume their growth and there will be no unnecessary follicle wastes.
At AIHR we aim for minimal scars. However, every person is different and patient variability needs to be taken into account. The physiology of wound healing and scar formation is a very complex matter. Some patient heal with a virtually undetectable scar, less than 1mm, while others may form a wider scar despite the trichophytic closures. Scars within the 2-3mm range are widely accepted since surrounding hair growth disguises any scar formation. We expect a patient if he so wishes, to be able to cut his hair down to a number 3 and in some cases a number two with clippers, without a noticeable scar.
FUT Hair Transplant FAQs
Am I a candidate for a hair transplant surgery?
Hair transplantation requires removing a piece of the scalp from the back to be implanted in the recipient area. Before a surgery, it is important to inform the doctor if you have ever experienced a haemorrhaging (bleeding) problem or if you have diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, any heart problems, or other disorders. Local anaesthetic, like those used for dental treatment, is used during hair transplantation. Most clients undergo the surgery without any problem.
How many hair can be transplanted?
Caucasians have between 100,000 and 150,000 hair over the entire scalp, and Asians have 70,000-80,000.
For Caucasians, there is approximately 40,000 hair on the back of the head and approximately 8.000-10,000 can be transplanted. About 3000-4000 hair can be transplanted at one time.
Does the transplanted hair last for a lifetime?
The survival rate of the transplanted hair differs and depends on the skill level of the doctor and follicular unit specialists, as well as the method used. At AIHR, an excellent survival rate has been achieved by the sophisticated implanter, which minimises traumas to the recipient site. The transplanted hair maintains the same properties as it was on the back of head.
Therefore, after the transplantation, the transplanted hair will stay permanently. The transplanted hair is thick, long, and grows throughout one’s lifetime.