The evolution of hair replacement is a fascinating story. The technique was discovered by accident when a New York City dermatologist transferred skin bearing hair from the back of the scalp to the front of the scalp to fill in a cancer he had removed on a male patient. Years later, the transferred hair was still alive and well even though the patient lost all the surrounding hair to male pattern baldness.
A few more patients had similar procedures and the observant dermatologist initiated hair plug transfer. By today’s standards, the plugs were “doll like” but for years this was the standard.
A modern day hair transplant can be performed on both men and women. The hairs from the back of the scalp are genetically different from the hair on the top of the head. As the front and top hair falls out, permanent hair can be transferred from the back to fill in the front and top.
The donor area is closed so no defect is visible. Essentially we borrow from “Peter to pay Paul.” As the techniques have become more sophisticated, high power microscopes can be used to remove and transfer individual hairs instead of the plug looking grafts. The hairs actually grow in 3 to 6 months. Often, several sessions (3 to 6 months apart) are required to adequately fill in the bald areas.
Other techniques have been used and some are rarely performed today. Some of these include: