History of Medical Hair Restoration

Home > Hair Restoration > History of Medical Hair Restoration

History of Modern Hair Restoration

Research into hair biology and diseases has grown tremendously in the past 20 years, enabling Dr. Vories to create extraordinarily natural hair transplants that are virtually undetectable, even by stylists.

Hair transplantation surgery began in 1939 when Japanese dermatologist Dr. Okuda first documented his surgical attempts to restore hair in burn victims. Dr. Okuda used a “punch technique” to extract sections of hair-bearing skin, which were then implanted into the scarred or burned areas of the scalps. After skin grafts healed, hair continued to grow in these previously bald areas.

In 1943, another Japanese dermatologist named Dr. Tamura refined hair transplant surgery by using significantly smaller grafts of one to three hairs, a process similar to many techniques used today.

These surgical breakthroughs remained lost to Western medicine until 1952. In that year, a New York dermatologist, Dr. Norman Orentreich, performed the first known hair transplant in the U.S. on a man with male pattern baldness.

Orentreich’s theory of “donor dominance” demonstrated that hair from the back and sides of men’s scalps were generally resistant to balding. But Dr. Orentreich’s surgical technique, which replicated the punch graft technique of Dr. Okuda, produced less than satisfying results for men.

By the mid-1990s, hair restoration surgeons abandoned these large grafts in favor of smaller grafts that produced more natural-looking results. To harvest a large number of individual follicular units containing 1-4 hairs physicians would excise a long linear strip of hair bearing skin, stitch the area closed and then dissect the follicular units from the strip under microscope.

Today, our surgeons have refined the hair replacement transplant with Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE Hair Transplantation), a revolutionary advance that individually extracts each follicular unit, optimizes the harvesting of follicles and the natural look of hair while limiting donor scarring. In our practice our doctors are with the patient throughout the procedure and extract and implant every hair graft.