Back in the day, hair restoration attempts supplied wannabe comedians with plenty of material. Wigs were always easy to spot and, consequently, a good source of laughter. Early attempts at hair transplants were a marked improvement, but even then the characteristic ‘hair plugs’, provided an easy identifier, so that was always good for a giggle and a jibe.
Those days are gone. Hair transplants now provide the individual with natural, dense hair that is indistinguishable from the rest of the hair on their head. How is that possible? This article is going to look at the modern hair transplant and explain how it has shifted from being the butt of so many jokes to being a mainstream hair restoration option. Read on!
Hair transplants began to replace wigs from about the 1950s. Pioneering hair transplants at this time were done by surgeons using a ‘punch’ tool. This removed circular areas of about twenty hair follicles at a time from the back of the head. These were then inserted into small holes that the surgeon cut in the balding areas of the scalp. That’s where the term ‘hair plugs’ came from, as the transplanted follicles were essentially plugging the holes created by the surgeon.
Hair plug transplants, which continued to be the standard right up through the 1980s, left the individual with noticeable scarring on the back of the head. They also produced odd hair patterns on the scalp. Hair shafts were implanted at an upright angle and with noticeable gaps between them. This left clients with their strands growing straight up in symmetrical patterns, something that looked distinctly unnatural and did nothing to end the jokes and stigma attached to hair transplants.
The strategy behind early hair transplants was sound. Using a client’s own hair follicles to grow hair naturally in a different area of the head was certainly the way forward, but the execution of the strategy left much to be desired. That was due to surgical inexperience in what was still a new field of work coupled with technological shortcomings.
Greater Experience, Better Technology
As with any surgical process, the passing years have allowed surgeons to gain experience and hone their techniques. There are now more surgeons specialising in this work with a much better understanding of hair angles and density when it comes to implanting follicles. It is the development of technology, however, that has allowed the biggest improvements to be made.
Hair transplant technology is unrecognisable since the 1950s. Big improvements have been made even since the early 1990s. The modern methods of hair transplantation provide more natural results and will not give you that “hair plug” look that was associated with hair transplants for so long. The industry game-changer has undoubtedly been the arrival of the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant.
The modern FUE method involves removing individual follicular units with a microneedle rather than the old punch tools. This has cut down on the unsightly scarring that used to be a characteristic of hair transplants. FUE surgery also allows for the individual implantation of follicles in targeted areas and at the correct angles. That means no more clumps of hair that sit up from the scalp like the hair on a doll’s head.
Aside from the technique, the greater precision of modern surgical tools means that surgeons can operate with higher levels of accuracy and creativity.
Given the advances in surgery and technology, there’s probably never been a better time to have a hair transplant. That’s not to say that there won’t be even more improvements in the future. Many surgeons believe that the future will unfold around stem-cell transplants. If that becomes a reality, there won’t be any need to harvest hair follicles from the back and sides of the head. That will not only speed the process up, but it will make the surgery even less invasive than it already is.
The social stigma that used to be attached to hair restoration has largely been removed. That process has been helped by the growing band of well-known actors, athletes and musicians who have had hair transplants and are happy to talk about it. Most of all, however, the stigma has been removed by the vast improvement in hair transplant outcomes. Nothing promotes the business better than a satisfied client with a head full of thick, natural hair.
If you have any questions or concerns about hair loss, Vinci Hair Clinic can help. We are one of the world’s leading hair restoration organisations with clinics all over the world. Even better, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experts to all new clients. Get in touch today and make the appointment that could change your life!