History of hair transplant

Methods about the redistribution of hairy tissues with human beings as well as with animals have been reported since the 18th century.

Dr. Okuda

In 1939 a Japanese dermatologist named Okuda was the first to describe a punch method for harvesting and redistributing hair on the scalp. His method was to use small punctures in order to transplant hairy tissues from the donor area of the scalp to the balding area on top as well to eyebrows and mustaches. After the relocating process all the follicles started to grow back on the new area. Dr. Okuda has performed this method only on victims suffering hair loss through inflammation. As a matter of fact he did not see any possibility to apply this technique on inherited, androgenic hair loss.


Dr. Tamura

In 1943 micrografting (1 - 3 grafts) was first performed on human beings. Dr. Tamura, a Japanese dermatologist and pioneer for hair transplant, applied this method on human beings in order to restore female hair. During a procedure micro-grafts were excised in elliptical strips from the donor fringe. This method has been very similar to the classical surgery strip method which is still performed around Germany.

These new techniques for hair restoration by the two doctors have been published in Japanese medical journals. Due to World War II the procedures have been left unkown to the rest of world.

Dr. Orentreich

The first to rediscover surgical hair restoration was Dr. Orentreich. In 1959 Dr. Orentreich presented his method to the public in New York. He found out, that hair follicles extracted from a donor area and relocated to the recipient zone are genetically programmed to grow for a lifetime and will not fall out later. Inherited balding was on its way to be treated. By using a cylinder to remove hairy tissues from the donor area he managed to redistribute hair follicles. Using the same device to create incisions on the recipient site sizing as big as the transplants he was able to relocate the tissues to the balding area. His aim was to transplant as much grafts as possible by each tissue without risking the death of follicles. The perfect size to be transplanted was formerly estimated as 4 millimeters in diameter. This method has been performed until the 1990ies and still may be expected in some clinics. Eventually the methods performed by Okuda and Orentreich mark the new standard for hair restoration for the next 30 years. In the 1980ies minigrafting has been a popular method to restore hairlines and was later superseded by micro-grafts containing 1 to 4 grafts only.

Dr. Carlos Uebel

Dr. Carlos Uebel has been one of the pioneers performing the first strip surgeries by exciting mini- and micro-grafts from the donor area. By removing larger, coherent pieces of tissue which have been - in a second step - divided into smaller tissues (mini grafts) with 4 to 8 grafts each and later from 1 to 4 grafts (micro grafts) Dr. Uebel restored naturally looking hairlines by using a highly invasive method.

Dr. Bob Limmer

In 1988 Dr. Bob Limmer started to use high-resolution microscopes. While his true purpose for using microscopes was to prepare hair follicles without damaging them unnecessarily he noticed that hair grows in natural groupings of follicular units. He was the first to use "follicular unit" as a medical term in order to describe a single follicle growing together in 1 to 4 single hairs. In 1991 a medical magazine published an article in which Dr. Limmer was the first to explain a new standard for hair transplant (FUT - follicular unit transplant).

Dr. Wood's and the " Woods-method" (Follicular Unit Extraction)

According to Ray Woods and Angela Woods-Campbell the latest state-of-the-art method for hair transplant, the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), has already been performed in the early 1990ies. As it is not possible to confirm this claim since there was another article written by Inaba in 1996 in which a similar extraction-method has been described precisely both Ray Woods and Angela Woods-Campbell deserve admiration as well as appreciation for being pioneers in the FUE-method.

Dr. Jones, Dr.Cole

Dr. Jones began to perform his first surgical hair restorations via FUE at the beginning of 2002 starting his first procedures with little sessions only. Dr. Jones heard about the "Woods-method" and got highly interested. Since Dr. Woods has not admitted any visit or insight to his work, Dr. Jones decided to manage his personal FUE technique. In August 2002 Dr. Jones officially performed his very first procedure via FUE. It must have been a few months later when Dr. Cole first heard about successful results of Dr. Jones´ method and apparently started find out more about this physician. Since then Dr. Jones and Dr. Cole did their best to pass on their method to other surgeons and instructed several physicians on this modern and less invasive method for hair transplant.

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More informations about Follicular units .