Hair loss isn’t new, and it’s always something that people have been interested in solving. Whether it’s heading abroad to Turkey to get a hair transplant or spending thousands on a natural looking wig, the solutions to hair loss are ever evolving. But how did all of this come about? Keep reading and discover how hair restoration became a popular aesthetic treatment for people all over the world.
Where It All Began
Up until recently it was thought that Dr Norman Orentreich was the father of hair transplants as he began performing them as far back at the 1930s. However, it’s recently been discovered that a Japanese surgeon Dr Shoji Okuda might actually be the creator instead. Dr Okuda created the punch graft procedure which he performed on burn victims to help them grow back their lost hair. This work is said to have been carried out before Dr Orentreich did. However, because of World War II, Dr Okuda’s work didn’t manage to spread outside of Japan. This continued to be the case until 2004, when some papers written by Dr Okuda were found and translated into English.
Hair Plugging In The Past
When Dr Orentreich started performing these procedures for male pattern baldness, not everyone as keen on the idea, and it wasn’t until he published his findings that people began to take notice. He managed to prove that hair follicles on the back and sides of the head are less likely to fall out and can be implanted elsewhere to restore lost hair. As the technology was limited in this time, the grafts of skin that were used were actually pretty large, causing a rather unnatural finished look. Despite this, it gained immense popularity in the 70s, as people became a lot more self-conscious about their lack of hair.
During the 1980s, the skin grafts that were previously used, became obsolete as follicular unit transplantation (FUT) replaced them. An FUT hair transplant is still popular today, and it involves only taking small strips of skin from the scalp which are then implanted into the balding areas. These strips are carefully cut to ensure minimal damage and scarring too.
The sections of skin that are to be transplanted are placed into micro-puncture sites that the surgeon has made so that the end results look as natural as possible, and the hair follows your natural pattern. Although an FUT is way better than hair plugging, it does still leave some scarring where the skin is taken from. So, it’s something to still be considered if you’re trying to achieve a completely natural hair restoration look.
There is an alternative to an FUT, and it was actually first performed in Japan in 1988, but again it didn’t gain popularity until recent years. This innovative procedure is called a follicular unit excision (FUE) and it involves removing between one and four follicles at a time using tiny micro-punches. These follicles are then transplanted into the donor site and the holes left behind don’t even require stitches.
In fact, they heal on their own within a few days! There is said to be little to no pain with this procedure and the scarring will be non-existent. When it was first gaining popularity, it took the surgeons quite a while to complete. But with the help of technology, they can get it done in a much faster and precise way. The use of AI and robotics has helped massively and takes a lot of the guesswork away from the surgeon. This ensures that the patient ends up with minimal pain and even better end results.
Hair restoration has changed so much in recent years, that it’s actually crazy to think how far it’s come. From the hair plugging of Japan in the 1930s to the robotic FUEs, the improvement has been amazing. Who knows what the future will hold for hair restoration treatments? It will be exciting to find out, and hopefully we don’t have to wait too long!