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There are several options available for surgical hair restoration. The best option is to use small grafts of one’s own hair to replace lost hair. Some methods, such as using large flaps or thin strips of hair, are unsafe or outdated and should generally be avoided. It is important to seek out a highly trained and qualified physician to perform this surgery.
The history of surgical hair restoration dates back to the 1930s, when a Japanese physician used the method to replace hair on burn victims. Early hair transplantation involved taking large chunks of hair attached to skin and inserting these pieces into skin on the desired area. This method was effective and may still be used today in some lower-end hair clinics. It is not a visually appealing method of surgical hair restoration and should be avoided, as more modern techniques are now available.
The best surgical hair restoration procedure involves transplanting hair from the back of the head toward the front of the scalp, where hair loss is most common. In many men who begin to become bald, hair at the sides and back of the head does not fall out. This hair, including the follicle, is transplanted to areas of the head where hair is missing. The exact placement of the transplanted hair depends upon the pattern in which hair naturally grows on the patient’s head. A hair restoration procedure can last from five to 10 hours and can take several sessions to reach completion.
Outdated methods of surgical hair restoration may still be performed today, but should be avoided. One such method involves taking a large flap of hair from the side of the head and repositioning it to cover balding areas. This risky procedure may cause permanent scarring or unnatural-looking hair. A version of this hair restoration method may be used on burn victims but should be reserved only for these extreme cases.
People seeking surgical hair restoration should also avoid thin strips of hair grafts, as they rarely yield an aesthetically pleasing result. Scalp reduction, where the skin on the balding portion of the head is completely removed, should never be used. Any other extreme forms of hair restoration should also be avoided.
Surgical hair restoration should only be performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon or physician. There are few such professionals practicing today, so the hair surgeon should be carefully researched and selected. Some surgeons have completed fellowships specifically in surgical hair restoration or belong to professional hair restoration societies. These qualifications can help ensure a smooth, reduced-risk procedure.