Hair Loss Advice


Hair Transplantation Techniques


Hair Transplantation Techniques

Medically Reviewed On: May 16, 2003

Webcast Transcript

MICHAEL REED, MD: The outcomes of hair transplantation nowadays are pretty spectacular. It's extremely rare to find a patient who is not very happy with the results.

ANNOUNCER: That's because research has led to new ways of improving the look and feel of transplanted hair.

MICHAEL REED, MD: The techniques involved putting hairs very close together, the same way Mother Nature did, and basically putting someone back the way they were before they lost their hair.

ANNOUNCER: With older methods, surgeons removed large sections of skin and hair, creating so-called "plugs" that were transplanted to bald areas. This left scars and made the transplanted hair look and feel unnatural.

ROBERT BERNSTEIN, MD: A major breakthrough in hair transplantation came via identification that hair didn't grow individually, but actually in small groups called follicular units. And these follicular units are naturally occurring clumps of hair from one to four. And in modern hair transplantation, a procedure called follicular unit transplantation; we transplant the hair the way it actually grows in nature.

In a follicular unit extraction, we actually go down right on the hair follicle with magnification, score the edges and then literally extract these follicles from the back of the scalp. The grafts that are produced are so small that they can just be placed into very fine needle poke holes. And this leaves a lot of very small 1 mm holes that heal up in just a few days after the procedure. With follicular extraction, people then really resume physical activities right away. The healing that once took a couple of weeks is now compressed into just a few days.

ANNOUNCER: The new follicular unit transplantation technique is also helping patients who want to improve the appearance of old transplants or scars

MICHAEL REED, MD: People who have had plastic surgery procedures, people who have had injuries to the scalp, people who have had scalp diseases resulting in scarring and people with old, pluggy transplants that don't look good, all can be corrected.

ROBERT BERNSTEIN, MD: What we can do now is remove the old grafts, sew the holes closed where they're transplanted. Take those grafts, put them under a microscope and divide them up into individual follicular units and then put them back in the same day.

ANNOUNCER: Some patients may think getting a hair transplant means they can stop taking medication for hair loss. Most physicians, however, recommend using medicine along with surgery.

ROBERT BERNSTEIN, MD: Hair transplantation and medications do essentially different things. The main benefit of a transplant is to restore hair that's been lost. The main benefit of medication is to prevent further hair loss.

MICHAEL REED, MD: Nowadays along with the hair transplantation we're advising if at all possible to have the patient use topical minoxidil postoperatively and also to take Propecia to help the hairs grow back better basically and to help prevent further hair loss. So that maybe over a person's lifetime, we only have to do one or two transplants, not ten transplants to chase baldness.

ANNOUNCER: Many patients say the newest combination of transplants and medication leave them with a natural-looking, full head of hair.