Hair loss, particularly at a younger age is devastating to the psyche of a male. One looks much older than the actual age with hair loss. A full head of hair is youthful and manly, while baldness is equated with aging. Although recently some in the west shave their heads as a show of style, a great majority still cherish having a full head of hair.
Hair transplantation has been in existence for decades, the reason it was not popular previously was because of the technique. The older method of “Plug grafts” did not have the natural look of a normal hair. The hair were taken from the back of the head with a punch and then transplanted in the front. The punches were rather wide and the transplanted hair looked like bushes or gave the so called “Barbie doll” appearance.
It all changed with the advent of the modern technique of micro and mini grafts and the way they are harvested from the back of the head. The hair transplant surgeons began to take a strip of hair bearing skin from the back of the head and then divided that strip into very small grafts which were named as “micro” if they comprised of one or two hair in each graft, or “micro” if they had three to five hair in each graft.
The micro grafts are placed at the front, at the hairline and the mini grafts are placed at the top of the head and behind the hairline. This advanced technique for the first time gave a true natural look to the hairline, virtually indistinguishable from a normal hairline. This one step changed the whole concept of hair restoration.
The new technique became popular in America and Europe in the late eighties ad early nineties, however the rest of the World is catching up with it now. According to a 2006 statistics, 226,000 hair transplant procedures were performed that year, an increase of 34% from the previous year. As more and more people learn about the advantages of hair transplantation and the easy nature of the procedure, they are opting to go ahead with hair transplantation. An increase of 16% is noted every year Worldwide, fastest increase is in the Asian countries with an impressive 178% every year.
The acceptance of hair transplantation as a safe, effective and consistent procedure has been enhanced further by the “follicular unit” concept. If you look at the scalp carefully, preferably with a magnifying glass, you will notice that some hairs are in groups or clusters of four or five hair. This cluster is known as a “follicular unit”, and if taken together gives a better density and improved looks.
A good hair transplant team will carefully prepare grafts and make sure the follicular units are preserved. I have used the word, “team” instead of a hair transplant surgeon, because hair transplantation is a team approach and requires highly trained surgeons, nurses and technicians for a successful procedure.
Compared to other cosmetic surgeries hair transplantation is relatively easy, however the finesse and good results are not achieved without knowing the details and intricacies of the procedure. Although it is performed under local anesthesia and a small space is enough, it still requires the skill of a surgeon and sterility techniques of a modern day hospital.
It is to be noted here that with improper sterilization it is possible to catch the dreadful Hepatitis B and C or AIDS. For this reason many good centers use disposable instruments. There are many small details to achieve a great result. Many hair transplant centers have popped up with the increasing demand; however it is prudent for a potential candidate to search thoroughly before undergoing the procedure.
The popularity of hair transplantation will continue to rise in the foreseeable future as it restores the confidence and looks of the patients who experience hair loss. Surprisingly a rising trend has been noted in women as well who have limited areas of hair loss. And last but not the least are the areas other than the head like eyebrows, burnt scalp and even eyelashes which are transplanted to give a better look.
Hair transplantation is not a medical breakthrough like a great cure for a major human malady, but a definite boost to the confidence and well being of those who suffer from hair loss.