Hair transplantation, as the name suggests, is a process wherein hair is ‘transplanted’ from one part of the body to another. Hair transplantation is a technique which involves moving skin containing hair follicles, from one part of the body to another balding or already bald part of the body, surgically. This hair transplant treatment is usually used to treat common forms of hair loss in both males and females.
In this process, the part of skin containing hair forms the donor site and the part of skin that is balding or already bald forms the recipient site. Hair transplant is a technique where grafts containing hair follicles form the donor site. This donor site is such that it is genetically resistant to balding. These grafts are then ‘transplanted’ to the recipient site. This recipient site is formed of the balding or already bald scalp.
Hair transplantation technique is also used to restore beard hair, eye brows and eye lashes that are lost in accidents. Hair transplantation is also used to fill in scars caused by face lift surgeries and other accidents.
Hair grows naturally in follicles which contain a group of 1 to 4 hairs. Each group is called a follicular unit. The most advanced techniques transplant these follicular units in their very own natural groupings. Thus, these modern hair transplantation techniques can achieve an absolute natural appearance. Follicular Unit Transplantation is the term used to describe this modern hair transplantation technique.
The modern hair transplant techniques originated in the 1930’s in Japan where small grafts were used by surgeons to replace the damaged parts of eye lashes and eye brows. Although the Japanese surgeons never tried treating natural baldness then, but the methods used by them never even received attention till until the 1950’s.
It was only in the 1950’s when Dr. Orentreich from New York started experimenting with free donor grafts to the balding areas of male pattern baldness in patients that the western world taking note of this new development in the field of science. Initially, it was assumed that transplanted hair would grow and thrive on the recipient site only as long as the other original hair would have been able to stay. This theory was rubbished by Dr. Orentreich who demonstrated that these grafts were ‘donor’ dominant rather than ‘recipient’ dominant as the theory suggested before. He said that the new hairs that grew out of the transplanted hair follicles would last as long as they would have lasted at their original place of growth.
For the next 20 yrs many experiments were conducted to find the kind of grafts that should ideally be used for successful hair transplants. Only in 1995, when the papers of ‘Follicular Unit Transplantation’ were published, did surgeons understand that individual follicular units can be prepared and individually relocated. With this technique, transplanted hair looked close to real.
This field of science has evolved a lot and continues to do so.