One out of five men is bald or will become bald in the future. Although hair growth products might help to preserve and promote hair growth, genetics always seem to have its way.
Where hair growth products seem to have failed, new techniques have been developed over the years to grow new hair on bald areas of the scalp.
Hair loss is mostly associated with men because men start losing their hair naturally at a younger age compared to women thus, these techniques have been carried out mostly on men.
I am talking about hair transplantation where hair is being taken from a part of the body bearing more hair called “donor site” to an area of baldness called the “recipient site”.
This process is of two types; hair plugs and the modern hair transplant (Follicular Unit Transplantation).
Of course, I know what I am talking about. Hair transplant is a general name for such procedures and hair plugs is ancient having been introduced in the fifties.
Hair plugs as the name implies involved plugging out a bunch of hair called “hair plugs in rows from the back of your head using a tool of about 4mm called a “punch tool”.
This punch tool is also used to remove tissues from the bald area, creating holes so that the extracted hair plugs can be fixed in. The wounds from this are either stitched or left to heal.
This process involved removal of such a large amount of tissue from the donor site.
The aftermath of this was a bit was a bit awkward as the hair did not blend in with the normal hair and its arrangement in ordered rows looked far from natural.
Also, the spots from the back hair were the hair plugs were taken was evident; you could see hairless spaces.
It was also possible to have inflammations and even infections after hair plugs.
Hair plugs were later replaced by modern transplantation techniques in the eighties.
Modern transplantation techniques involve extraction of hair follicle from the donor site and placing them in the area of baldness. Hair follicles are very small and bear a few numbers of hair. This process produces a more natural look of hair growth compared to hair plugs.
The extraction process is of two types; strip harvesting and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
In strip harvesting, a strip of skin is harvested from a donor site which bears enough active hair follicle which will be separated from the skin. These strips are very tiny and require a special type of microscope for extraction.
On the other hand, Follicular Unit Extraction as the name implies will involve extraction of individual hair follicles using punches of about 0.3mm to 0.55mm radius from the donor sites. This is similar to hair plugs.
Strip harvesting is more commonly used for extraction over Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) as FUE is more tedious and time consuming.
After the extraction, very small blades or needles are used to puncture areas of the recipient site in a particular arrangement before fixing the follicles at angles which will cause the new hair growth to sync with the pre-existing ones.
This definitely produces better results than the outdated, although foundational hair plugs transplantation.
Moreover, recent researches have witnessed introduction of robots into hair transplantation and the possibility of providing a cure for baldness has been highly anticipated through hair multiplication or cloning.