Getting to great hair transplants

The hair transplants of yesterday that made todays’ transplants possible.

Today, thousands and thousands of people get great hair transplants every year. But it wasn’t always so. The very first transplants were done in the late 19th century by removing balding areas and drawing areas with hair together and stitching it closed. Results were poor, painful and the recovery was long.

What could be called the first “modern” hair transplant occurred in Japan in the 1930s when hair transplant surgeons took scalp grafts as small as a single follicular unit and transplanted them to repair damaged eyebrows. The ravages of World War II would keep the surgeons’ revolutionary advancements from the rest of the world for two decades.

In the U.S. a New York dermatologist first removed graft scalp from a donor site and successfully placed it onto a recipient site in the late 1950s. This was a significant advancement because, until that point, conventional opinion held that hair from the back of the scalp would only last as long as the balding area it had replaced.

Further work was done by other surgeons to determine the precise area of the scalp that would yield donor hair that continued to grow once transplanted to the front, top and sides of the scalp.

In the 60s and 70s surgeons used small circular scalp grafts commonly referred to as hair plugs…not the stuff of great hair transplants as the plugs, when looked at together, resembled the rows of tufted hair found on dolls scalp.

In the late 1980s surgeons began using individual follicular units of from one to four hairs. The results were a stunning improvement over the plug look. Later in the decade, the stereo microscope was introduced allowing technicians to dissect micro grafts from a small strip of donor hair.

Today, hair transplant surgeons use what is called the “later slit” technique to transplant micro grafts, allowing the hairs to be placed at the proper depth and angled in the direction to the most natural look of the surrounding hair. At DiStefano Hair Loss Treatment Centers, this technique has been further refined with special micro surgical tools. The results are great hair transplants.