The Beginnings of Hair Transplantation in Western medicineThe first recorded hair transplantion in a case of male pattern baldness in the United States was performed by New York dermatologist Dr. Norman Orentreich in 1952. He relocated the hair on the back and the sides of the head to the balding areas using the punch graft technique. Results in hair growth in previously bald areas after the surgery were good, but less natural looking than the results achieved by Dr. Tamura with his more refined method.
Seven years later, in 1959, Dr. Orentreich published his findings in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science – the first paper on free skin graft hair transplantation. He advanced the theory of the “Donor Dominance” principle that underlaid his work and laid the foundation for modern day hair transplantation. His experiments had shown that hairs from the back and the sides of the head were more resistant to balding. If small circular grafts removed from this area were transplanted to bald areas of the scalp, they would maintain this resistance and continue to grow for a lifetime.
Each of these initial grafts measured around 1/4 inch across and included 10-20 hair follicles. Good results were achieved in matters of fullness if the patient underwent all stages of the treatment, but it happened that patients ran out of donor hair before they were completed, resulting in an unnatural look often termed as “doll’s hair”. Also, patients could be limited in the manner they could style their hair.
In the 1970’s, technological advances produced better surgical instrumentation, allowing for the transplantation of more and smaller grafts in a single session. Graft size had thus been reduced to 1/8 inch across.
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