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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
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Hair Restoration Answers

What are Obstacles to Hair Cloning Techniques?

A: The main problem is that the cultured cells may lose their phenotype with multiple passages, i.e. lose their ability to differentiate into hair follicles after they have been multiplied.

Another problem of hair cloning is that the orientation of hair direction must be controlled. With mouse experiments, the hairs grow at all different directions. Scientists need to find a way to align the hair so that it grows in the right direction. Hair, of course, must also be of a quality that is cosmetically acceptable and matches the patient existing hair. And the hair should grow in follicular units. Individual hairs will not give the fullness or natural look of follicular units.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is Follicular Unit Extraction and What Other Terms are Associated with the Procedure?

Q: I am considering having an FUE procedure and have heard the phrases topping, capping, and tethering as part of the procedure. What do all these terms mean? — C.C., Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.

A: These are all terms that refer to the types of injury that can occur to grafts during a follicular unit extraction procedure.

In FUE, a sharp instrument (or sharp instrument followed by a blunt one) is used to separate follicular units from the surrounding donor tissue. Forceps are then used to remove the follicular units from the scalp.

Topping occurs in the first step when the doctor accidentally cuts off the top of the graft so that the remainder of the graft cannot be removed.

Capping occurs when the doctor grabs a graft with forceps and the top of the graft (the epidermis and upper dermis) pulls off, leaving the rest of the graft behind.

Tethering occurs when the bottom of the graft is still attached to the deeper tissues after the first step causing the follicular unit to pull apart during extraction.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Hair Restoration Series in NY Japion Features Dr. Bernstein

NY Japion — a weekly newspaper in the Japanese language, published in the New York tri-state area, and distributed for free in the Japanese community — has featured Robert M. Bernstein, MD, in their series on hair loss in men and women.

In the series, TV producer, Hideo Nakamura, who is bald himself, goes on a mission on behalf of fellow bald men. His column hopes to help others with hair loss to have a more fulfilled, fun life and to raise their self-esteem.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Does Densitometry Help Diagnose Hair Loss?

Q: Dr. Bernstein, I was reading about a densitometer on your website. What is it and what is it actually used for? — Z.A., Westchester, NY

A: The hair densitometer was introduced to hair restoration surgeons by Dr. Rassman in 1993. It is a small, portable, instrument that has a magnifying lens and an opening of 10mm2.

To use it, the doctor clips the hair short (~ 1-mm) and the instrument is then placed on the scalp. The doctor counts the total number of hairs in the field, looks at the number of hairs per follicular unit and assesses the diameter of the hair, looking in particular for abnormal levels of miniaturization (decreased hair shaft diameter caused by the effects of DHT).

The densitometer can increase the accuracy of the diagnosis of genetic hair loss by picking up early miniaturization.

It can also better assess a person’s donor hair supply, thus helping to determine which patients are candidates for a hair transplant.

Densitometry has helped us define the conditions of diffuse patterned and unpatterned hair loss (DPA and DUPA) and help to refine the diagnosis of hair loss in women.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is the History of Hair Transplant Procedures?

Q: Dr. Bernstein, I remember Senator William Proxmire. He was one of the first sort of high-profile people who had a hair transplant probably, what, thirty years ago, and to be honest with you, it wasn’t all that great. It looked kind of funny. Have we made any progress in the last twenty-five, thirty years? — A.E., Fort Lee, N.J.

A: When hair transplant surgery was first developed in the late 1950s, early 1960s, everybody was so ecstatic that it grew – that one could actually move hair from the back of the head to the top, and it would grow – that no one really considered either the long-term implications or the aesthetic aspects of the procedure. And the fact that the hair grew is actually a problem because it never went away when it was transplanted poorly.

Over the years the grafts have gotten smaller and smaller. So where in the ’60s and ’70s they were the size of pencil erasers, they gradually decreased in size until doctors were performing hair transplants using just a few hairs at a time. The major breakthrough came in the mid 1990s when we realized that hair doesn’t grow individually but grows in little tiny groups and these groups are called follicular units.

In modern hair transplant surgery (which began in 1995) hair is taken from the back of the scalp and moved to the front and top of the scalp in these individual groups of one to four hairs.

In this way the results can completely mimic the way hair grows in nature.

See the Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) section for more information.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Do You Determine Size of Hair Transplant Donor Strip?

Q: I am interested in FUT. How do you figure out how large a strip to use for the hair restoration when transplanting all follicular units? — P.K., New York City, N.Y.

A: The length of the donor strip incision is determined by the number of follicular unit grafts required for the hair restoration.

There are slightly less than 100 follicular units/cm2, so if a 1cm wide strip is used, a hair restoration procedure requiring 1800 grafts would need a strip that measured slightly more than 18cm in length.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why is Strip Harvesting in Hair Transplant Procedure Still Popular?

Q: Why are strips used so much in a hair transplant when there is now Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)? — E.N., Long Island, N.Y.

A: Strip harvesting is used in the majority of hair transplant procedures because it allows the surgeon the ability to perform hair transplant sessions using large numbers of grafts while minimizing injury to the patient’s hair follicles.

This is possible because once a strip is removed from the back of the scalp, the tissue can be placed under a stereomicroscope where dissection is accomplished using direct visualization of the follicular units. This allows the grafts to be dissected with minimal trauma.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

NPR Interviews Dr. Bernstein on Hair Transplantation and Hair Loss

Here is one exchange from the interview:

Moderator: How one can tell the difference between hair loss from hormonal imbalances and common baldness?

Dr. Bernstein: Measuring hormone levels alone, although important for medical management, does not necessarily reveal whether the cause of the hair loss is actually hormone related or is genetic. The diagnosis is made by examining the scalp and looking at the hair under close magnification using an instrument called a “Densitometer.”

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is Graft Compression in a Hair Transplant?

Q: What exactly is compression in a hair transplant? — D.O., Short Hills, N.J.

A: Compression refers to the visible tufting of grafts due to the contraction of the grafts from the normal elasticity of skin around it, after it has been inserted into the recipient site.

Compression is most commonly seen when minigrafts are used in the hair restoration (minigrafts contain more than four hairs each).

Follicular units don’t show visible compression, since they are already naturally compact. However, if more than one follicular unit is placed into the same site, it can exhibit this phenomenon.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Bernstein Medical Launches FollicularUnitForum.Com, A New Website Where Hair Transplant Questions are Answered by Actual Patients

Follicular Unit Forum - Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair RestorationFollicular Unit Forum is unique in that it affords visitors an opportunity to anonymously ask questions about the “ins and outs” of hair transplant surgery, of those who actually have had the state-of-the-art Follicular Unit Hair Transplant procedures.

Questions are posted to people who have actually undergone hair restoration procedures. Individuals who are considering a surgical solution to their hereditary baldness are able to search through “threads” or conversations that will answer their most pressing concerns such as; what to expect before, during and after a hair transplant, and what kind of procedure one should have.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Presents at ISHRS 13th Annual Scientific Meeting in Sydney, Australia

Dr. Bernstein - Presenting on Hair Transplantation in Sydney, AustraliaSome of the world’s most renown hair transplant surgeons gathered this month to hear about the latest cutting edge methods in surgical hair restoration. Speakers included Robert M. Bernstein. M.D. founder of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration , New York, NY

The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) recently held their 13th annual scientific meeting. A broad range of topics were explored including; the most recent research in cloning, the latest proven medical therapies to prevent hair loss, and the newest concepts in the harvesting of donor hair follicles used for transplanting. The event was capped off with a live hair transplant surgery workshop.

As the largest non-profit voluntary organization comprised of over 650 hair restoration physicians, the ISHRS is the first international society created to promote continuing quality improvement and education for professionals in the field of surgical hair restoration.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Is Lead Author Of Follicular Unit Transplantation Article In ‘Dermatologic Clinics’

Follicular Unit Transplantation - Dermatologic Clinics“Dermatologic Clinics” is a hard-cover quarterly peer review publication with comprehensive, state-of-the-art information by experts in the field of dermatology. In a 2005 issue entitled “Advanced Cosmetic Surgery”, Dr. Bernstein is lead author of the article: “Follicular Unit Transplantation: 2005.”

This valuable contribution to the field of surgical hair restoration explores techniques and best practices of the surgical procedure known as Follicular Unit Transplantation that Dr. Bernstein pioneered and is now considered the state-of-the-art in hair transplant surgery.

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Hair Restoration Answers

In an FUT Hair Transplant, What Percentage of Telogen Phase Follicles in Donor Strip are Wasted?

Q: When a donor strip is taken out during a hair transplant and separated under the microscope, you can read on the internet that there is a wastage of grafts (about 15%), because of those unseen telogen hairs. What do you think about that and how does it affect the hair restoration? — T.B. Baldwin, New York

A: The Telogen phase of the hair cycle is about 3 months long and about 12% of follicles are in this phase at any one time. It is speculated that the follicles may be empty for perhaps 1/2 that time (this number may vary significantly between people). Therefore, approximately 6% of the hair follicles may be in telogen at any one time.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein and Hair Transplant Patient Featured on NBC’s ‘Today’ with Matt Lauer

“Over the past 10 years we’ve developed a new procedure called follicular unit transplantation, where hair is transplanted exactly the way it grows,” said Dr. Robert Bernstein […] This new technique replaces the plugs — groups of hairs inserted into round holes in the scalp — used in the early days of hair transplant procedures. It is now known that hair grows in groups of one to four hairs.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Encourages GQ Readers to ‘Grow Your Own’ Hair

Dr. Bernstein: Anatomically, follicular unit transplantation is the end of the line. The next step would be hair cloning, which is still quite a way off. The way you get the most amount of hair into the smallest wound — and ensure that it’s going to look natural — is by using a follicular unit transplant. We can create swirls, add sideburns…

The beauty of follicular transplantation is that the hair will take on the old wave that the original hair had.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Authors Follicular Unit Transplant Chapter In ‘Surgery of the Skin’

Follicular Unit Transplant - Surgery of the Skin - Dr. BernsteinSurgery of the Skin: Procedural Dermatology; published in 2005 by Elsevier-Mosby and Edited by Robinson, Hanke, Sengelmann and Siegel; is monumental work that covers the entire spectrum of dermatologic surgical procedures.

Dr. Bernstein was honored to write the chapter on hair transplantation, with a focus on Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), the technique that has changed the face of surgical hair restoration over the past decade.

The chapter discusses strip harvesting, follicular unit extraction, the use of anesthetics, ways to optimize density and ensure the naturalness of the procedure, as well as a host of other important topics.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Long Should I Wait Before Having a Second Hair Transplant?

Q: If a second hair transplant is performed before the first had a chance to grow could the second procedure destroy the follicles from the first? — B.M., Upper East Side, NYC

A: Hair from the second hair transplant session would not damage the follicles transplanted in the first session, even if follicular unit grafts were transplanted in exactly the same spot as in the first session.

The reason to wait until the hair grows in, however, is so that you can better plan the subsequent hair restoration procedure. If two follicular units are placed on top of each other or very close together, you will essentially be creating a mini-graft and the results will not look natural.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Talks Hair Transplant Repair On ‘Good Morning America’

“Good Morning America” interviewed Dr. Bernstein in their two-part series on hair transplant surgery. Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Charles Gibson: Are there good candidates and bad candidates for this?
Dr. Bernstein: Yes. And actually people that wear hairpieces are sometimes tricky because their baseline is a full head of hair, so one of the important things that we had to discuss in the first consult was what his expectations were and whether he realized that a transplant wouldn’t give him the fullness of a hairpiece, but of course, it would look much more natural.

Watch the full interview.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

‘Platinum Follicle Award’ for Outstanding Achievement in Hair Restoration Goes to Dr. Bernstein

In giving Dr. Bernstein the 2001 Platinum Follicle Award, the President of the ISHRS said:

“I proudly present the 2001 Platinum Follicle Award to Robert M. Bernstein, MD. Dr. Bernstein has contributed to the field of hair transplantation in dramatic and substantial ways, revolutionizing the advancement of Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation. His published articles have become ‘Bibles’ for this methodology.”

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Interviewed On Advances In Hair Transplant Surgery

Since the publication of ‘Follicular Transplantation,’ hair transplantation has undergone an “extreme makeover” itself, in part due do to the incredibly natural results that this powerful procedure can produce. FUT is now considered to be the state-of-the-art in hair transplant surgery and is currently the most widely used surgical hair restoration technique. Robert M. Bernstein M.D., Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University in New York City, sat with us for a Q&A on hair transplant surgery and its future.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Hair Transplant Surgeon of the Month Award to Dr. Bernstein

Dr. Robert M. BernsteinDr. Bernstein receives the Surgeon of the Month award given by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. Dr. Bernstein introduced the concept of “follicular transplantation” in 1995 through a publication in the International Journal of Aesthetic and Restorative Surgery, where he recommended that in all hair transplant procedures the implants should consist of only the naturally occurring follicular units. The anatomic follicular units, seen clinically as the patient’s natural hair groupings, are different for each individual, and these differences should be reflected in the transplant plan. He has been a strong advocate of using follicular transplantation for the best possible cosmetic result, and has encouraged his colleagues to use this approach in his writings and lectures.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Featured In FUT Editorial By Influential Hair Transplant Surgeon

The following is a portion of “An Idea Whose Time Has Come,” an editorial written by O’Tar T. Norwood, MD — founder of the Norwood Classification System for Hair Loss — and published in the May/June 1997 issue of “Hair Transplant Forum International”:

An Idea Whose Time Has Come - O'tar NorwoodI just returned from visiting Dr. Bob Bernstein in New York, and was impressed with his operation and even more impressed with his thoughts, observations, and insights into hair transplant surgery. He applies scientific methods to his work, is academically honest, and has an almost eerie instinctive knowledge of hair transplant surgery. Of course he has Dr. Bill Rassman to work with, but it is still remarkable. Dr. Bernstein is best known for introducing follicular transplantation to hair transplant surgery, an idea Bob Limmer has been pushing for ten years with the use of the binocular microscope, but no one would listen to him. Dr. Limmer, however, never used the term follicular transplantation. Using the microscope, you automatically dissect the follicular units. It can’t be avoided if done properly.

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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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