As with everything in life, time changes us, for example, over time you might notice your hair thinning or receding. Over time we change, technology changes, everything changes and hair transplants are no different.
Over time hair transplants have progressed, changed and evolved dramatically and today we’re focusing on the timeline of the hair transplant and how it has improved over the years. From hair plugs to FUE hair transplants we’re looking at how the process has progressed over time.
Hair plugs are now a very out-dated type of hair transplant. Hair plugs were the only procedure available from around 1950 to the early 1980s. The process used for hair plugs, called standard punch grafting, used large circular grafts harvested by round punches. Each graft was about the size of a pencil eraser and contained around 20 to 30 hairs per grafts. During the procedure, only 50-100 of the grafts were used and the grafts had to be spaced far apart due to the constraints of blood supply.
Due to large grafts being used and being spaced quite far apart it lead to the hair looking quite unnatural, the plugs resembled the look of the hair on a doll. As such large grafts were harvested this technique also caused distress to the donor area. The punches used to harvest the plugs often left scarring, which resembled a checkerboard pattern at the back of the head.
The only way to attempt to resolve the doll head appearance left from hair plugs was to do multiple procedures in an attempt to fill in gaps between the hair plugs. However, many patients were disappointed with the initial results they did not return for more sessions and left the results as they were. Those who did decide on a second procedure ran the fear of using too much donor hair, leaving the area at the back of the scalp very thin.
By the mid 90s hair transplant technology had taken a turn for the better, with a huge improvement in technology follicular unit transplants began – a big improvement from the traditional hair graft process everyone had become familiar with.
The advances in technology came around when physicians observed that hair grows and exits the scalp in small groups of 1-4 hairs, called follicular units. With this in mind, microscopes were used to create grafts that kept this natural grouping.
The FUT transplant process starts by removing a strip of tissue from the back of the scalp, this strip of tissue was then prepared and dissected into follicular unit grafts that were so tiny in comparison to hair grafts. The grafts were so tiny they could be placed in micro-incisions to the scalp, the reduction in grafts meant that more grafts could be transplanted depending on the size of the area, this resulted in a much more natural looking head of hair.
Although the FUT transplant resulted in a much more natural looking head of hair, the process was not yet perfect. As a large strip of tissue was removed from the back of the scalp once this has been sutured and healed you are often left with a large scar at the back of the scalp. This can be quite obvious and can often be a give away that you have had a hair transplant.
Over the last few years, technology has yet again advanced, resulting in improvements in the hair transplant process. The follicular unit extraction process is similar to FUT, however, a new technique has been developed for how to harvest the donor grafts.
A specialist extraction tool is used to remove individual grafts of hair from the donor area, this makes the whole process minimally invasive and results in minimal scarring that is almost invisible to the naked eye. The grafts are then prepared and transplanted to the recipient area and placed in micro-incisions at an angle and density to follow a natural and realistic pattern.
As the grafts are removed individually this minimises scarring which results in a hair transplant that is almost completely scar free and seamless. FUE hair transplants produce the most natural result possible and the process can even be used to repair scars left from older FUT methods.
If you would like more information about our hair restoration treatments please contact us for a no obligation consultation where we can discuss in-depth what treatment would be best for you.