A walkthrough “what was”


Necessity has always initiated the human mind into driving headlong into discoveries, inventions, and breakthrough solutions. One such breakthrough was reached in 1897 in Japan when Menahen Hodara made a successful attempt to implant hair on to the bald patch left after the scalp was left bald after being infected by Favus (a fungal infection). He implanted small grafts off healthy areas of the head onto the bald patch. In fact, the Japanese had been practicing hair transplant as early as the 1930s to treat damaged eyebrows and even lashes. They had however not attempted to hair transplant for baldness


However, the journey of the modern day hair transplant is traced back to the 20th century way back in 1950. New York based dermatologist Norman Orentreich. He was able to demonstrate that grafts taken from donor sites can survive at the recipient site and grow naturally.


Work on the same lines progressed with many trials and errors. Walter P. Unger, M.D. worked further on Orentreich’s theory. He proposed the concept of the safe donor zone. He stated the possibility of extracting permanent donor follicles for hair transplant from these safe donor zones. This was the founding principal of the most popular hair transplant methods, FUE and FUT, used even today. These methods continue to be improved upon but the basis remains Unger’s theory of safe donor zone.


However post Unger’s theory; hair transplants were done using small amounts of grafts. This yielded an artificial blotched job look. It was not until 1980 that invasive method of strip harvesting was replaced. Carlos Uebel in Brazil started practicing a larger number of grafts to give volume to the transplanted hair. About the same time, Willaim Rassman in the United States was making successful attempts at transplanting thousands of grafts at the same time.


Hair transplant as a skill set has come a long way today. Experts have worked on the techniques and found technological modifications to make the process less invasive. Today hair transplants are also done with growth serums injected along.


Unlike the past, today hair transplant is not just a mere procedure. It is an aesthetic procedure which aims at giving patients their natural hair back complete with the natural look of the hair. Hence incision angels, hairline definition, the density of the tuft to be implanted are all taken into consideration when hair implants are carried on.


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