The January/February issue of Departures Magazine contains a feature called “The State of Plastic Surgery 2012”. The magazine covers topics such as how to find the best plastic surgeon, the use of stem cells in plastic surgery and the best hair loss therapies. The section on hair loss offers a timeline of the major advances in the treatment of hair loss since its inception over 75 years ago.
Here is the list of the milestones presented in the article:
1939: Japanese doctor Shoji Okuda is the first to publish the results of clinical hair-transplant experiments.
1952: Dermatologist Norman Orentreich, M.D., uses four-millimeter punches to perform the first hair transplants, popularizing “hair plugs” to treat male-pattern baldness. Each plug of some 20 hairs is taken from a “donor site” on the scalp (usually toward the back, where there’s adequate growth). They are bulky and, more often than not, the results look like a poorly hoed garden.
1984: Mini-grafting — the use of grafts containing up to six hairs — is introduced.
Late ’80s: Mini-micrografting, the combination of mini-grafts and smaller micro-grafts containing one or two hairs, becomes popular as a more natural alternative.
1995: New York dermatologist Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., and New Hair Institute founder William Rassman, M.D., develop Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), which uses a special microscope to identify individual units of one to four hairs, plus nerves, blood vessels and a tiny muscle called the erector pilorum (the same muscle that makes a cat’s hairs stand on end). Transplanting these intact units ensures their maximum survival and a much more natural look.
2002: Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Rassman offer even more refinement with Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). With FUT, the donor hair is harvested in a single strip, leaving a linear incision; with FUE, the hair is harvested with a tiny punch that leaves lots of tiny circular incisions-a noticeable advantage for patients who want to wear their hair short. The disadvantage is that FUE requires a much larger donor site, and the results may not all be permanent.
2007: The FDA clears low-level lasers, which promise that the absorbed light will stimulate cell metabolism and protein synthesis to regrow hair.
2008: Latisse, a prescription treatment to grow thicker and longer eyelashes, is cleared by the FDA. Now Allergan, the company behind Latisse, is doing a clinical study about a new formulation of bimatoprost (the active ingredient in Latisse) for male-pattern baldness and moderate female-pattern hair loss. The world waits with bated breath.
Read more about the history, milestones, and innovations in the modern hair transplant techniques that Dr. Bernstein pioneered
“Personal Best: The State of Plastic Surgery” Departures Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012