A Japanese Discovery

Hair transplantation surgery as we know it today is actually rooted in Japan. In 1939, A Japanese dermatologist named Dr. Okuda published a revolutionary method in a Japanese medical journal, a method that he used to help burn victims suffering from traumatic alopecia. Dr. Okuda used a punch technique to extract round sections of hair bearing skin. These he implanted in slightly smaller round holes in the burned areas of the patientís skin Ė in scalp, eyebrow and upper lip areas. He reported performing this type of surgery on 200 patients and as the skin grafts in the previously bald areas healed, they continued to produce hair.
In 1943, another Japanese dermatologist, Dr. Tamura refined the technique developed by his countryman. He reported successful transplants in other body areas where implants had been made, as he used surgery to treat hair loss in the pubic region of female patients. His innovation consisted in using significantly smaller grafts, of one to three hairs. The donor tissue was extracted through an elliptical incision and afterwards each graft was individually dissected, a method resembling the very techniques used today.
Unfortunately, the groundbreaking advances in hair loss treatment of these two dermatologists havenít had an impact outside Japan for many years to come. The scientific reports were written in Japanese and came to the attention of the Western world only several years after the ending of World War II due to the role Japan had played in the conflict.

Table of Contents:
Hair Loss Treatment in the 19th Century
A Japanese Discovery
The Beginnings of Hair Transplantation in Western medicine
Minigrafts and Micrografts
Laser Hair Transplants
The Gold Standard in Hair Transplantation