Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration - Cosmetic Benefit
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Q: I am so confused reading about FUT and FUE on all the blogs. Can you please tell me which is better, FUT or FUE? — M.T., East Brunswick, NJ

A: FUT (via strip) will give the best cosmetic results (more volume) since the grafts are of better quality (when using microscopic dissection, there is less transection and more surrounding tissue to protect the grafts) and better graft selection (the grafts can all be harvested from the mid-portion of the permanent zone).

In contrast, in FUE you need approximately 5 times the area. Because of this large donor area requirement, some of the hair must be harvested from fringe areas and thus the hair will be less stable genetically.

With subsequent FUT procedures we remove the first scar, so the patient only has one scar (albeit long). With subsequent FUE sessions we are adding additional scars, so over the long-term the cumulative scarring over large areas can present its own problems of visibility.

The main advantage of FUE is to have the option of wearing your hair very short (but not shaved). FUE is also appropriate for patients who are at risk for a widened donor scar (i.e., very athletic and muscular or with thin, tight scalps, etc.).

In my experience, Robotic Hair Transplantation is superior to other FUE methods in that it is much more accurate and more consistent. It enables the doctor to extract grafts with less damage than with hand-held instruments or other automated devices.

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Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., F.A.A.D., Renowned Hair Transplant Surgeon and Founder of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration in New York, is Studying Four Applications of ACell MatriStem™ Extracellular Matrix in a Type of Hair Cloning, Called Hair Multiplication, as well as in Current Hair Restoration Procedures.

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 15, 2011 – Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., F.A.A.D., Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University in New York and founder of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration, has been granted approval by the Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB) to study four different applications of the ACell MatriStem extracellular matrix (ECM) in hair restoration.

Hair Cloning with ACell MatriStemHair Cloningwith ACell MatriStem

Two of the studies include its use in a type of hair cloning, called hair multiplication, where plucked hairs and transected follicular units are induced to generate new hair-producing follicles. The other two areas of study include evaluating the use of the ECM in current hair transplant procedures to enhance hair growth and facilitate wound healing.

Approval by the WIRB allows the researchers to conduct double-blinded, bilateral controlled studies. Controlled studies are the best way to increase the objectivity of the research and insure the validity of the results.

“The medical research we are performing is important because it may lead to hair multiplication as a way to increase a person’s supply of donor hair. In this way, patients would no longer be limited in the amount of hair which can be used in a hair restoration procedure,” said Dr. Bernstein. “Additionally, in the near-term, the extracellular matrix may be able to improve the cosmetic benefit of current hair transplant procedures. We are simultaneously pushing the boundaries of hair cloning methods and follicular unit transplantation.”

Hair multiplication, a variation of what is popularly known as hair cloning, is a procedure where partial hair follicles are stimulated to form whole follicles. These parts can either be from hairs derived from plucking or from follicles which have been purposely cut into sections. Generally, damaged follicular units will stop growing hairs. However, there is anecdotal evidence that an extracellular matrix applied to partial follicles may stimulate whole follicles to grow and, when applied to wounds, may stimulate the body’s cells to heal the damaged tissue.

This new medical research also attempts to show that ACell can improve the healing of wounds created when follicular units are harvested for hair transplant surgery. Currently, in follicular unit hair transplant procedures, a linear scar results when a surgeon incises the patient’s scalp to harvest follicular units. Occasionally, this scar can be stretched, resulting in a less-than favorable cosmetic result. If ECM can induce the wound to heal more completely, the linear scar may be improved. The extracellular matrix may also benefit general hair growth in hair transplantation in that the sites where hair is transplanted, called recipient sites, can be primed with ECM to encourage healthy growth of the hair follicle.

Dr. Bernstein is known world-wide for pioneering the hair restoration procedures of follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). Follicular units are the naturally-occurring groups of one to four hair follicles which make up scalp hair. These tiny structures are the components which are transplanted in follicular unit hair transplants.

While hair cloning has been of great interest to hair restoration physicians and sufferers of common genetic hair loss, the method by which this can be achieved has yet to be determined. The use of ACell’s extracellular matrix to generate follicles is a promising development in achieving this elusive goal. In addition to the longer term implications of using ECM in hair multiplication, its impact on hair restoration will be more immediate if it can be proven effective when used in current FUT procedures.

About Dr. Robert M. Bernstein:

Dr. Bernstein is a certified dermatologist and pioneer in the field of hair transplant surgery. His landmark medical publications have revolutionized hair transplantation and provide the foundation for techniques used by hair transplant surgeons across five continents. He is respected for his honest and ethical assessment of a patient’s treatment options, exceptional surgical skills, and keen aesthetic sense in hair transplantation. In addition to his many medical publications, Dr. Bernstein has appeared as a hair loss or hair transplantation expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Discovery Channel, CBS News, Fox News, and National Public Radio; and he has been interviewed for articles in GQ Magazine, Men’s Health, Vogue, the New York Times, and others.

About Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration:

Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration is a state-of-the-art hair restoration facility and international referral center, located in midtown Manhattan, New York City. The center is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss in men and women. Hair transplant surgery, hair repair surgery, and eyebrow transplant surgery are performed using the follicular unit transplant (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) surgical hair restoration techniques.

Contact Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration:

If you are a journalist and would like to discuss this press release, please email us or call us today (212-826-2400) to schedule an appointment to speak with Dr. Bernstein.

View the press release at PRWeb.

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Eyebrow transplant and restoration article - New York TimesEyebrow transplant procedures are growing in popularity. More women are realizing how much damage they can cause to their appearance by overplucking, shaping, and over-styling their eyebrows. Today, the New York Times reports on the trend of repairing eyebrows with hair transplant techniques and the use of camouflage products to cover up eyebrows that have been “tamed into oblivion.”

As the article’s headline declares, it is time to call in the professionals. The author of the article, Ms. Catherine St. Louis, turns to hair transplant pioneer Dr. Robert M. Bernstein for guidelines on performing a cosmetically-pleasing eyebrow transplant.

Here is a portion of the article:

Chronic repeated plucking is now a common reason why women have eyebrow transplants, which entail using hair from the scalp, arms or pubic area. A more timeless reason that spans the sexes is the gradual thinning, especially on the outer parts, as we age.

AND the number of such transplants is growing. In 2008, 3,484 eyebrow transplants were performed nationwide, up from 2,544 in 2004, the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery says.

Dr. Robert M. Bernstein, a hair restoration specialist in Manhattan, said that the most natural-looking transplants for eyebrows followed a few rules. Hair has to lie flat; single-hair transplants, not units of multiple hairs, are used; hairs should follow a curve and be planted to account for changes in direction. (In general, Dr. Bernstein said, the upper hairs point down and lower ones face up slightly to create an interlocking ridge that gives brows their body.)

Visit our eyebrow transplant page for more information on eyebrow transplant and restoration procedures.

See another article by Ms. St. Louis on the topic of hair restoration and hair loss in women.

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Q: Can the crown be transplanted first instead of frontal area? Why is the crown the last choice? Any reasons behind it? — H.H., Ladue, M.I.

A: The crown can be transplanted first in patients who have very good donor reserves (i.e., high density and good scalp laxity). Otherwise, after a hair restoration procedure to the crown you may not be left with enough hair to complete the front and top if those areas were to bald.

Cosmetically, the front and top are much more important to restore than the back. A careful examination by a trained hair restoration surgeon can tell how much donor hair there is available for a hair transplant.

For more information on this topic, see my publication on surgical planning of hair transplants, “Follicular Transplantation: Patient Evaluation and Surgical Planning.”

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Q: Is it more important to do scalp exercises before the first procedure or the second? — P.P., Richmond, V.A.

A: When the scalp is tight, it can be useful for either the first or the second hair transplant.

Keep in mind, however, that the scalp will naturally stretch between hair transplant procedures, so that if exercises were not needed for the first procedure, they will generally not be needed for the second.

In our practice, we generally wait one year between hair restoration sessions so that we can see the full cosmetic impact of the first procedure and give the scalp laxity a chance to return to normal on its own.

In addition, there is a risk that active massage after the first procedure may widen the donor scar. Therefore, before considering massage before a second hair transplant, make sure that enough time has elapsed between procedures so that stretching of the scar will not be a be a problem.

In general, since the scalp will normally continue to relax for up to a year after a procedure, it makes sense that when there is a tight scalp, one should wait at least a year before considering the next hair transplant session. If massage is contemplated, it should be started one year after the prior procedure. This will give the scalp a chance to loosen naturally and will ensure that the massage will not stretch the donor scar.

In my opinion, it is a mistake to plan hair restoration sessions too close together in patients where scalp laxity is a constraint.

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Q: In which procedure do you generally see more of a change, the first or the second? — N.N., Flatiron, N.Y.

A: The answer depends upon the patient’s baldness. If they are very bald, the first session will be the most noticeable, since going from no hair to hair is much more dramatic than going from some hair to more hair. In addition, if someone is very bald, the first session is generally the largest, with less hair being transplanted in the second.

The situation is different if someone has had a hair transplant with only a limited amount of hair loss. In this case, the first session may be small (since that is all they need at the time) and the second session, performed after the person has lost additional hair, may be significantly larger.

In addition, while the impact of the first session was lessened by the progression of the person’s hair loss, the second session was superimposed on existing, permanently transplanted hair and may be more dramatic.

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Q: I recall that you wrote an article about Monocryl for the donor closure in hair transplants. Why are you now using staples? — R.S., Park Slope, NY

A: I have been using staples in almost all of our follicular unit hair transplants since the beginning of 2006. When we published the Sutures vs. Staples study in 2001, some doctors were still not convinced. Because of this I continued to look at the issue, not in a bilaterally controlled experiment, but just looking at my cases done with the 5-0 Monocryl and those with staples that I continued to use from time to time. After doing hundreds of additional cases, I was still convinced that, overall, the suture line looked better with the 5-0 Monocryl sutures than with the staples.

However, it occurred to me that perhaps we were looking at the wrong thing. I began to think that perhaps we should be looking at hair preservation, rather than cosmesis alone.

The problem with the appearance of stapled closures is that it results in a very well demarcated, geometric line. Monocryl sutures, on the other hand, results in a much softer, more smudgy line – the characteristic that made it look better in the study.

This effect is produced by two things. The first is that the very fine 5-0 Monocryl sutures placed very close to the wound edges allow perfect wound edge approximation. However, the running suture actually destroys some hair as it makes its spiral course through the skin, destroying some hair and producing this smudgy appearance. We had felt that suturing very close to the would edge, using fine suture caliber 5-0 Monocryl, advancing the running stitch on the surface rather than in the SC space, and the mechanism of action of Monocryl absorption (via hydrolysis rather than by an inflammatory reaction) would all mitigate against any hair loss – but there was still some. It seemed that although the overall look was better with sutures, it might be at the expense of some hair loss.

To test this, I began to look at the hair yields in the donor strips of second hair transplant procedures where the new harvest completely encompassed the old scar. It seemed, at least anecdotally, that the strip containing an old incision that had been sutured closed contained slightly less hair than that from one that was stapled closed, even if the former looked better. Although I did not do a rigorous study, this was my “sense.”

In addition, I realized that staples could be left in the scalp for 3 weeks after a hair transplant without causing excessive inflammation (patient discomfort not withstanding) and this gave me more flexibility in using staples in patients with slightly tight scalps without having to rely on subcutaneous sutures. I began to take out alternate staples at 7 to 10 days and the remaining staples at 18-21 days post-op.

With the issue of hair preservation, rather than just the cosmetic benefit, as the main goal and with the added flexibility of being able to leave in alternate staples for up to 3 weeks, I started using staples routinely in almost all of our hair transplants.

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Q: I am 22 and losing my hair all across the top of my head. How can I thicken my hair to its level a few years previously? — I.L., Kentfield, CA

A: If medication, such as finasteride, is successful it can thicken hair by increasing the diameter of the existing hair shafts. Although the cosmetic benefits can be dramatic in a person with significant hair loss, a hair transplant can not restore hair to its original density, since it only moves the existing hair around and does create new hair.

When hair cloning technology is available, this will change as a person’s donor supply will be increased.

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Q: Hair transplantation sounds like a really time-consuming procedure. How long does the hair transplant actually take? — S.M., Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.

A: An average hair transplant, that involves the movement of 1,500 to 2,500 grafts, can take a team of up to six people, five to eight hours.

Surgical hair restoration is a very time-consuming, labor intensive process, where every aspect of the surgery must be precisely controlled to get maximum growth and an optimum cosmetic result.

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Q: There is such a big deal made on the chats about people getting Megasessions of over 4000 grafts per session. When I look at the pictures on your website, the results look great, but I am surprised that not many grafts were used compared to what is being talked about. — N.R., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

A: My goal is not to transplant as many grafts as possible, but to get the best results possible without exhausting a person’s donor supply. It is important to keep reserves for future hair loss. Unnecessarily large sessions also risk poor growth and have a greater incidence of donor scarring.

View Before and After Hair Transplant Photos

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Q: Can you get your original density back with a hair transplant? — C.C. Scarsdale, New York

A: Although the cosmetic benefit can be dramatic, a hair transplant only “moves” rather than creates new hair. In surgical hair restoration, a limited amount of hair from the donor area is transplanted to a much larger area in the front and top of the scalp, so that we can never reach the original density.

Achieving a cosmetically appropriate density in the front part of the scalp (which is around 1/3 to 1/2 of the original) generally takes two sessions and is the goal of most hair restoration surgery. Lower densities are used towards the back of the scalp.

View before and after hair transplant photos of some of our patients.

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Hair loss has a variety of causes. Diagnosis and treatment is best determined by a board-certified dermatologist. We offer both in-person and online photo consults.

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