Re-examining the history of hair replacement surgery

Hair replacement surgeries have been used for over 40 years now for the treatment of lost and thinning scalp hair.  There are several types of replacement surgeries that are commonly used today, most of which have beneficial results for the balding individual.  However, we are now at a point in the hair replacement industry where its history needs to be re-examined, the current procedures need to be enumerated, and the future of it needs to be evaluated.

As a result of its evolution, hair replacement surgeries have become a cosmetic surgery sub-specialty area.  In its earlier days, the procedure involved the transplanting of or punches of biopsied scalp segments containing conveniently sized amounts of hair follicles.  Initially, there was no specific course of action or plan for how the surgery should proceed.  Basically, the client and surgeon came to an agreement as to how the hairline would be established.

Over time, the aesthetic concerns for the alignment of the patient’s hairline along with the direction and growth of the grafts relative to the angulation of the scalp in the transplant sites helped to refine hair replacement surgical techniques.  The grafts were then implanted behind the established line requested by the patient.  There were roughly 20 to 30 grafts that were transplanted at a time while the hair donor areas were left open.

Typically there would be years of follow-up sessions until both the patient and the surgeon were satisfied with the results.  Interestingly enough, many of the results that patients encountered were positive and the individual was totally satisfied.  Even after 30 to 40 years, those patients that are still witnessing hair replacement positive results had the best hair density and type as well as the best skin color.

Conversely, those individuals with less satisfactory results experienced a number of adverse and undesirable effects.  These included:

  • cobblestoning
  • corn-stalking
  • inappropriate hairlines
  • progression of lost and thinning hair beyond the transplanted areas
  • scarring

As a result of these negative results, further advances and refinement of the different hair replacement procedures became necessary.  The different surgeries are witnessing the most positive results ever.  However, it should be noted that transplant surgery may not be the recommended course of action by your physician or surgeon, depending on how advanced your hair loss is.  Just remember that it is always best to consult with your family physician first before going ahead with the procedure.

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