The history of hair transplants happens to be quite an interesting parallel between the first mode of transportation. As vehicles originally started as horse and carriage, hair transplants originated from the late seventeenth century. The first written record of hair transplant was described by Dieffenbach and Unger in animals in humans where hair was transplanted from one area to another. A half of century later, the first motor was invented in 1886 called the Benz Patent-Motorwagen created by German inventor Karl Benz. Following the creation of the first motor, towards the end of the late eighteen hundreds, the first car tire was invented by Michelin. The car tire consisted of rubber and constricted air making it the first pneumatic tire. As Michelin celebrates the invention of their new tire we still continue to use today, hair transplants also make a breakthrough. The introduction to flaps and grafts are welcomed into medical advances. The hair transplant moved from transplanting hairs to local grafts and flaps. Here surgeons would cut out portions of skin and attempt to close it with a flap. This was done and is still done by a select number of surgeons.
Moving forward to 1938, the first Beetle is created. During this historical era, war was underway making it difficult to recover specific medical documents and breakthroughs. In 1930’s and 1940’s Dr. Okuda of Japan described taking plugs of tissues to hair bearing areas. Unfortunately, due to the warfare and the text in written in Japanese, little of his work was appreciated until later. As early as the 1950’s doctors removed portions of strips and implanted grafts from the back of the head to the top. In 1950, the Crosley station wagon is welcomed to automobile advances. It appeared to be the implanted strips, and grans dominated the market for a several decades.
In 2002, the manual FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) proved to be the new way to receive hair implants. As doctors manually extracted hair follicles directly from the donor site rather than cutting a strip of scalp from the patients head. This allowed for the patient to go through the procedure without having a piece of scalp cut, hair follicles harvested, and then later transplanting the hairs back into the balding areas. The issue with the strips and implanted grafts was that the treatment left behind a large scar in the back of the scalp and was often painful. As the manual FUE became readily available on the market, more and Infiniti Q45 was welcomed onto the market, with the first back-up camera.
In 2011 the ARTAS system was approved by the FDA allowing for hair follicles to be harvested from dark haired men. The ARTAS system works best with dark hair haired patients but can be used on blondes if the patient dying the hair 3 days before the procedure. The newest updated ARTAS robot allows for the robot to continue to learn as it graphs each follicle. The benefits of using the ARTAS versus having a technician manually extract each hair follicle is that the ARTAS will maintain overall quality of the entire procedure. The biggest benefit of the ARTAS is that the procedure time is cut in half by using advanced technology and the condition of the first and last extracted hair follicle will be the exact same. The trouble with having a technician manually extract each follicle leaves the patient at risk of errors.
Come 2018, the latest version of the ARTAS has become as painless and efficient as the Model S from Tesla and other cars now which can actually drive themselves with autonomous driving. Now Dr. Shah and Dr. Chughtai combine the technological advances of the latest ARTAS with the advances of regenerative medicine. We have found that regenerative medicine allows for results to be more consistent, patients with less shedding early on, and even new hairs to grow!!
While the parallel between the history of cars and hair transplants go relatively hand in hand. If you are considering a treatment option for hair loss the best performing technology and obvious option is the ARTAS robot. While a 1985 Honda still may work, it is not as elegant as more modern solutions or as efficient. We feel the difference between some other forms of hair loss are now archaic. Although even the original treatments for hair loss work, so does a horse and buggy. ARTAS and regenerative medicine combination we have found to be more efficient (both with time as well as properly using donor hairs), as well as doing more for a patient’s scalp with less hairs. Hair transplantation is a rapidly evolving speciality. More effective means of hair transplantation will continue to evolve and we hope patients will take advantage of the latest technological advances for their hair.