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Mar
26

Hair Plugs

If you have been wondering about how to deal with your balding issues I am sure you have heard the term Hair Plugs. When I first heard about these I wasn’t sure what it meant so I did some research to find out. Actually, the hair plugs procedure is not new at all. The term originated in the 1950’s when a couple of pioneering surgeons started to treat balding by transplanting growing hair from one area of the patient’s scalp to the bald spot. But, the procedure was first utilized twenty years before that.

During the 1930’s Japanese doctors were doing facial hair implants using this same method. They were mostly interested in eyebrow implants for women and mustache and beard renovation for men. They were really quite successful and were getting good results until World War II started which put a stop to their research. Most of their information was lost due to the war effort.

In the 1950’s surgeons in the US started experimenting with the procedure. They were interested in treating baldness caused by male pattern baldness which is the result of a genetic condition named Androgenic Alopecia. Since the balding area of a man’s scalp is so large it was determined that groups of hair would be transplanted. There were two main methods used. The first actually removed a round plug of scalp from the back of the head which had 10 to 15 hair follicles and their hair shafts intact. Men almost never lose their hair at the back of the head so this is a place to use as a donor site.

Then, once it was removed and cleaned, the plug was inserted in an incision that had been made in the balding area. There were usually several hair plugs transplanted in this way. This did give some hair growth in the bald spot but it was spotty and not very attractive. The hairs tended to stick out every which way because the surgeon had very little control over the directional placement of the individual hairs.

Although these were plugs which were being transplanted, the name actually came from the appearance of the new hair growth. It looked like the artificial hair which is plugged into the a cheap doll’s head with tufts sticking out all over. As you can imagine this was not very pleasing.

Now fast forward almost 60 years and we have a completely different set of results from hair plugs. Now individual hairs and their support structures are removed from the donor site and inserted in the thinning area with no cutting and sewing. A specially designed surgical instrument actually does both processes. This allows the hair restoration surgeon to place each individual hair in a way that matches the directional growth of the surrounding hair giving a very natural and pleasing appearance.

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