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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Research

Strategies for Follicular Cell Implantation

Follicular cell implantation (FCI) is based on the ability of the dermal papilla (DP) cells, found at the bottom of hair follicles, to stimulate new hairs to form. DP cells can be grown and multiplied in culture, so that a very small number of cells can produce enough follicles to cover an entire bald scalp.

In order to produce new follicles, two types of cells must be present. The first are Keratinocytes, the major cell type in the hair follicle, and the second are dermal papillae cells (DP) which lie in the upper part of the dermis, just below the hair follicle. It appears that the DP cells can induce the overlying keratinocytes to form hair follicles. There are a number of proposed techniques for hair regeneration that use combinations of cells that are implanted in the skin. The two major techniques involve either transplanting dermal papillae cells by themselves into the skin, or implanting them with keratinocytes.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Is Success of Hair Transplant Affected by Age or Scalp Fibrosis?

Q: It is my understanding that as a person loses his or her hair, the skin of the scalp undergoes a number of changes, namely there is a loss of fat, an increase in cellular atrophy, and of course the dreaded perifollicular fibrosis (now that’s a mouthful). It seems to me that these changes, in particular the fibrotic scarring, are the main obstacles in the way of regrowth, and the reason Propecia does not work for extensively bald men. What can be done about this demon we call fibrosis? Can it be slowed, stopped, prevented, reversed? If we could somehow counteract collagen formation, wouldn’t our baldness problems be solved for good? If a bald scalp is atrophic, how does it have the capacity to hold a whole new head of transplanted hair? Is there a limitation to the number of hairs we can transplant (outside of donor limitations)? — R.L., Rivington, C.T.

A: The findings that you are describing are well documented; however, it is not clear if these changes are the cause of the hair loss or are the result of having lost one’s hair. Most likely, the DHT causes the hair follicles to miniaturize and eventually disappear. This, in turn, causes the scalp to thin and lose its abundant blood supply (whose purpose is to nourish the follicles). The changes in the scalp are also affected by normal aging, which causes alterations in connective tissue including the breakdown of collagen and other components of the skin. The changes seen with aging are greatly accelerated by chronic sun exposure.

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Hair Restoration Answers

After Hair Transplant, Can Donor Hair Become Frizzy and Dry?

Q: Why can donor hair become frizzy and dry once transplanted? — G.F., Stamford, C.T.

A: Frizzing and kinkiness is a temporary phenomenon that is part of the normal healing process after a follicular unit hair transplant.

During the healing process, the new collagen that forms around the grafts can alter their growth. Over time, usually within a year, this collagen matures and the hair quality usually returns to normal.

If grafts have been excessively traumatized or grafts larger than follicular units have been used, these changes are more likely to be permanent.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Follicular Hair Transplantation Makes Splash After Bernstein Introduces Procedure To American Academy of Dermatology

Cosmetic Surgery Times
Cosmetic Surgery Times - April 1997

Cosmetic Surgery Times features Dr. Bernstein’s presentation to the 55th annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in their April 1997 issue.

The article describes Dr. Bernstein’s introduction of the concept of Follicular Unit Transplantation to the academy as well as the keys to making the technique successful. From the article:

“‘Hair doesn’t grow singly it grows in naturally occurring groups of from one to four hairs. In follicular transplantation, we use these naturally occurring groups as the unit of the transplant,’ he told CST.

Although the procedure is highly labor intensive, it can actually be less expensive than conventional hair replacement surgery, because it can be performed in a single, but lengthy, session.

‘It is also much more efficient and conserves donor hair much better than conventional hair transplants. Every time you make an incision in the person’s scalp you waste some hair and make the remaining hair more difficult to remove. Accessing the donor area just once or twice will increase the total amount of hair that is available for the transplant,’ Dr. Bernstein told CST.”

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