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Hair transplant and restoration is a medical procedure that involves removing hair follicles from the back of the scalp and transplanting them to the areas with baldness. This treatment helps treat male and female pattern baldness and scarring alopecia, restoring people’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
The hair transplant and restoration industry has grown tremendously and is expected to value USD$53.17 billion by 2028. Its market value was estimated at USD$17.75 in 2022, indicating how quickly this sector can grow, perhaps more than any section of the beauty industry.
There are numerous factors catapulting the industry’s rapid evolution, including advanced technology, increased awareness, and changing attitudes from the past. That said, this article outlines the evolution of hair transplant and restoration from being an undervalued industry to achieving colossal success, recognition, and incredible growth.
Hair Transplant And Restoration’s Inception In The 20th Century
Dr. Norman Orentreich, a New York-based dermatologist, is the pioneer and, seemingly, the industry’s founder from the 1950s. His initial experimentations with free donor grafts to male patients’ balding areas are the trailblazers for the evolution of hair transplant services and modern techniques. Even after passing on January 23, 2019, he remains the father of modern hair transplantation.
The industry has grown through several hair transplantation and restoration eras, all infusing unique technology that improves existing ones. Before hair transplantation and restoration, technology forms included scalp flaps and hair plugs. However, follicular unit extraction (FUE) and robot hair transplantation are the highlights of contemporary hair transplantation and restoration.
The Evolution Of Hair Transplant And Restoration Technology
Hair transplant technology has quite a history, from the early days of hair plugs and other outdated techniques to becoming a multi-billion-dollar industry. This can be attributed to the increasing wit and prowess of individuals in the industry who choose to incorporate technology. Below is the evolution track of the hair transplant and restoration technology:
- Scalp Flaps in the Early 19th Century: This period comes before Dr. Norman Orentreich’s moment of modern-hair restoration technology discovery with hair grafts. Scalp flaps were the talk of the town, where doctors would use a band of tissue with their original blood supply. They’d then graft it into patients’ heads, having balding patterns. In some sense, the method wasn’t as aesthetic, and the procedure was a little more intrusive with lengthy recovery periods.
- Donor-Dominant Hair Restoration in the Mid-19th Century: Technology became the centerpiece of modern-day hair transplant and repair in the mid-19th century. Thanks to Dr. Orentreich’s genius, the industry clearly understood the technology and how to develop it. He experimented with a few donor hairs on men having pattern baldness while maintaining similar characteristics. His breakthrough was that this grafted hair resisted baldness, meaning the area wouldn’t necessarily get multiple subsequent treatments.
- Hair Plugs in the ’70s: While this method effectively restored hair, it wasn’t as aesthetic and efficient since it often resulted in an unnatural and patchy appearance. It wasn’t a significant improvement to donor-dominant either, even though the approach to the treatment was a bit more improved with less intrusion and pain on individuals. However, the technologies that came after proved more efficient, and the grafting techniques seemed more practical.
- Strip Harvesting in the ’90s: This method highlighted hair transplantation technology in the 1990s. The methods primarily involved removing head scalp strips before dissecting them into smaller grafts for transplanting. While it was more practical and improved the preceding techniques, it still had a few side effects. For instance, the procedure left a visible scar that only the hair could cover, which was almost permanent.
- Follicular Hair Extraction in the Early 2000s: People received FUE with utmost excitement, and it became the mainstay of hair restoration in the 2000s. It was less invasive as it involved removing individual follicles instead of removing a strip of the scalp. Modern hair transplantation and restoration still find value in this technique and are commonly used for quicker recovery times, less scarring, and more natural-looking results.
- Robotic Hair Transplantation in the 2010s: ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant was developed in 2008 but gained approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. The technique robotically restores your hairline with no stitches and staples and leaves no linear scars. It’s the epitome of modern-day hair transplant and restoration and involves a robotic arm to extract hair follicles from a donor. It then precisely transplants them to the recipient with minimal intrusion and zero or negligible side effects.
The hair restoration technology still doesn’t seem to stop at that as low-level laser therapy and platelet-rich plasma PRP hair restoration are finding ground.
Hair transplant and restoration technology has come a long way and won’t slow down soon. The technique has helped individuals restore their confidence and feel more like themselves in their looks. If, perhaps, technology becomes more sophisticated and the industry specialists become wittier, hair transplant and restoration will become more modern, effective, and much safer.