Hair transplant outline

The first known attempts at hair transplantation were carried out by Japanese dermatologists in the late 1930s.

Dr. Shoji Okuda, a Japanese dermatologist, is often credited with pioneering the technique. In 1939, he published a groundbreaking paper detailing a method of using small grafts that are similar to the modern punch graft technique used today. His method involved using round grafts containing hair follicles extracted from an area of dense hair growth and transplanting them to areas of baldness. This was primarily intended to treat loss of eyebrow hair and not scalp hair loss due to male pattern baldness.

Okuda’s work was largely unknown to the western world until the 1950s due to the disruptions of World War II. Around the same time, another Japanese dermatologist, Dr. Hajime Tamura, also made significant contributions by developing a technique of using smaller grafts containing only one to three hair follicles.

The modern era of hair transplantation began in the United States in 1952 when New York dermatologist Dr. Norman Orentreich performed the first known case of a hair transplant to treat male pattern baldness.

Dr. Orentreich introduced the concept of “donor dominance” in hair transplantation. This theory posits that hair maintained its original characteristics and continued to grow even after being relocated to areas where balding had occurred. This foundational concept proved that hair transplantation could be an effective permanent solution for male pattern baldness.

Dr. Orentreich’s methods involved using larger grafts, which at times resulted in a pluggy, doll-like appearance. This was due to the use of 4mm punches, which created noticeable and unnatural hair clusters. Over time, the technique was refined by reducing the size of the grafts and improving placement methods, leading to more natural results.

The evolution of hair transplant techniques has continued with significant advancements such as the development of Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) in the 1990s and later, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), which involves removing individual hair follicles directly from the scalp without a strip of tissue.

These techniques have provided patients with more natural-looking results and less recovery time and today there are many highly skilled in the art of hair transplantation such as the Mittal Hair Clinic in London