Hair transplant surgery, also known as hair restoration surgery, is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of hair follicles from one area of the scalp (known as the "donor area") and transplanting them to a bald or balding area (known as the "recipient area"). The first recorded hair transplant procedure was performed in Japan in the late 19th century, but it wasn't until the 1950s that the procedure began to gain popularity in the Western world.
The modern era of hair transplantation began in the 1950s when Dr. Norman Orentreich, a New York-based dermatologist, first introduced the concept of "donor dominance." This theory proposed that hair follicles taken from the back and sides of the scalp (known as the "permanent zone") would continue to grow in the transplanted area, even if that area was genetically predisposed to baldness.
Dr. Orentreich's method, known as "punch grafting," involved using a circular punch to remove small round plugs of hair from the donor area and transplanting them to the recipient area. This method was effective, but it resulted in a "pluggy" appearance that was often criticized.
In the 1980s, Dr. Robert Bernstein and Dr. Walter P. Unger developed a new technique called "follicular unit transplantation" (FUT). This method involved removing a strip of hair from the donor area and then dissecting it into individual hair follicular units, which were then transplanted to the recipient area. This method resulted in a more natural-looking outcome and was widely adopted by hair transplant surgeons.
In the 1990s, Dr. James Harris and Dr. William Rassman developed another technique called "follicular unit extraction" (FUE). This method involves removing individual hair follicles directly from the donor area using a small punch and then transplanting them to the recipient area. FUE is a less invasive and more time-consuming procedure than FUT, but it results in less scarring.
Since then, hair transplantation has evolved to become a mainstream solution for hair loss, with both FUT and FUE techniques continuing to be used today. Advancements in technology have also enabled minimally invasive procedures like robotic hair transplantation, which helps to improve precision and accuracy. Today, with the help of advanced technology, hair transplantation is a safe, effective, and widely accepted solution for hair loss for both men and women across the world.