The History of Hair Transplants

May 1, 2017

Although male baldness is something that has been around since the beginning of time, hair transplant procedures are a much newer phenomenon — which may go some way to explaining why there is still a mixture of unawareness and uncertainty over just what hair transplants are and how they work out in the general community. Pioneered in the early 20th century, hair transplants have existed in various forms over the hundred or so years, and were performed much differently than the advanced methods that are available today. Find out more about the evolution of hair transplants over time below…

The dawn of an era

Norman Orentreich was a renowned dermatologist in New York, widely known as the ‘father of modern hair transplantation’. His research as a young man was critical to later developments in hair transplants, and he performed the first successful hair transplant in modern history in 1948. By 1961 he had performed more than 200 successful hair transplants, with the treatment that he invented becoming so widespread that it had already been performed on more than 10,000 patients around the world by the mid-1960s. He would later go on to launch the iconic skincare line Clinique owned by Estée Lauder, which today remains one of the world‘s most renowned line of high-end skincare, cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances.

Orentreich coined the term ‘donor dominance’, which refers to his discovery that hair retains the characteristics of the area that it came from rather than that of the area it is being transferred to, a vital revelation that underpins the basis of hair transplantation. This idea was further built upon by Walter P. Unger, a disciple of Orentreich — Unger developed concept of the ‘Safe Donor Zone’, which refers to the optimal areas from which to extract hair due to the hair follicles being the most permanent. The Safe Donor Zone guides those performing hair transplants over where hair follicles should be extracted.

With continued scientific research and technological advances being dedicated to hair transplantation over the following decades, better techniques and a deeper understanding of the nature of hair follicles continued to develop. A major breakthrough was the development of the minimally invasive Follicular Unit Extraction method in the late 1980s, first successfully tested right here in Australia by Dr Ray Woods.

Interested in the future of hair transplantation? Read our previous post Exciting New Trends in the World of Hair Transplants.

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