n cosmetic surgery, everyone is always looking for the latest technique, the most innovative approach and the newest surgical options. This makes sense - as a patient, why wouldn't you want the most modern approach to a cosmetic procedure? Since most of the research towards a more modern surgical technique typically means that the procedure yields a natural look with minimal scarring and detection.
This is also true for hair restoration. The Strip Method and Follicular Unit Extraction have brought hair transplant surgery to a whole new level. It has made it minimally invasive – so much so that it is even undetectable. In order to fully appreciate this technique, however, it is important to understand the history behind hair restoration surgery. It has truly come a very long way.
According to the American Hair Loss Association, hair transplant surgery originated in Japan in 1938 when dermatologist Dr. Okuda developed a process to restore hair caused by scalp injuries and also for burn victims. He achieved this using a punch technique where he would extract small sections of “hair-bearing skin” and implanting these into smaller holes where the hair is gone from damage. And just shy of a few years later, another Japanese dermatologist, Dr. Tamura, improved on this technique by making even smaller incisions and reducing the size of the grafts to 1 to 3 hairs. Tamura’s technque is most closely related to the procedure that is performed today. Since these techniques in Japan were occurring around World War II, they were not readily accessible in the US until much later.
From the American Hair Loss Association:
“Hair transplants became a more sought after cosmetic procedure by the 1960s, but because the early procedures were largely ineffective and extremely unnatural in appearance, hair transplant surgery developed a negative reputation which unfortunately plagues the field to this day. It took almost three decades for hair transplant surgeons to develop significant improvements to these early methods.”
The hair transplant techniques during the 1950s, most notably the one done by New York surgeon Dr. Norman Orentreich, were downright unattractive — bad scarring and detectable and unnatural results. This began the negative reputation of hair transplant surgery that still haunts it to this day.
When Follicular Unit Transplantation was finally introduced in the 1990s, it changed the industry for good – making hair transplant a reputable option for hair loss sufferers.