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Hair Transplant History

Hair Transplant History, an old photo of channels opening at a hair restoration surgery in black and white.

Hair Transplant History

The Rise Of The Hair Transplant

Hair Transplant History

The 1950s

Hair transplantation in Turkey is an exciting and increasingly visible industry. However, the world’s first hair transplant took place all the way back in 1952. It was Dr Norman Orentreich who performed this innovative process, in New York City. Dr Orentreich witnessed the rejection of his first few studies on hair transplantation, but he then went on to release his first landmark paper in 1959. The key concept in this study was “Donor Dominance”.

Dr Orentreich’s study explains the basic theory behind modern-day hair transplant procedures. According to the “Donor Dominance” concept, transplanted hair shows the same properties of original hair. This means that the healthy hair transplanted hair will continue to live healthily on the patient’s scalp.

Dr Norman Orentreich.

Unfortunately, the exuberance of Dr Orentreich’s study was not to last for long, because “Donor Dominance” was unable to promise successful cosmetic changes. For many years, the transplants were limited to 4mm graft areas, meaning that in terms of size the transplants did not cross the width of pencil erasers. Larger graft sizes were therefore very difficult to achieve.

All of the above meant that doctors were unable to generate real-time results. For several years, patients compromised on less-than-optimum hair transplant results. Some surgeons considered hair transplantation to be a potentially lucrative career. However, other surgeons were reluctant to embrace these innovations as they were averse to change.

The 1970s

Throughout the 1970s, hair transplant procedures involved larger grafts known as “plugs”. Following on from this, mini-grafting then became famous in the 1980s. As its name suggests, mini-grafting involved the use of smaller graft areas. These grafts were carefully cut from the donor tissue rather than being punched directly from the scalp.

The use of mini-grafts first hit the scene in 1984, but a few years later many surgeons moved on to micro-grafts. These graft areas had one or two hairs. Micro-grafting was used to soften the scalp, and for the next two decades, the technique was both widely used and highly regarded. It became an extremely well-known hair restoration method.

The 1990s

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) only became famous during the mid-1990s. The FUT procedure increased the length of each hair transplant session. FUT used similar equipment to previous methods and did not call for any new skills. However, the technique itself was completely different. Dr Bernstein and Dr Rassman performed the world’s first FUT treatment in 1995 and in those days, FUT was able to satisfy the needs of the hair transplant community. At the same time, doctors believed that FUT could also be developed into a mainstream hair transplant procedure. Today, however, SHIFT hair transplant focuses mainly on FUE rather than on FUT. In fact, the majority of hair transplants in Turkey are now based on FUE.

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