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Pat before and After

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Helping those with hair loss.

Hair transplant, to understand it you first need to know the

ABC's of baldness.

A) Who will experience hair loss, how much, where, and when is all largely determined at your birth. The hair follicles in your scalp are genetically programmed from birth to either last you a life time or wither away and disappear. What determines which hair follicles live or die is largely about how resistant they are to hormone derivatives, such as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Those hair follicles that are genetically vulnerable to certain hormones gradually whither away, producing ever thinner strands of hair. Eventually these hair follicles die and no longer produce any hair - the result is baldness. Drugs such as Minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Proscar or Propecia) intervene in this process by either counteracting the symptoms (increasing the flow of blood to the endangered hair follicle) or by inhibiting the production of androgens like DHT.

B) Yet why does the hair around the back and sides of a man's head last a life time, even while the hair on top thins out and goes away? Once again the answer is in the genes. The hairs on the back and sides of balding men's heads are typically programmed from birth to be genetically different than the hair found on top the head. On men with hair loss the hair follicles on top are genetically vulnerable to hormones that gradually shut them down. While the hair on the sides and back of their heads is resistant to this balding process. Too bad the good hair wasn't more evenly distributed, right? (Now we're getting close to the basic premise of how hair transplants works).

C) Back in the early 1950's doctors began to wonder what would happen if the balding resistant hair follicles were taken (Transplanted) from the back and sides and relocated to the balding scalp? Would these follicles live forever, as they would have if they had never moved? The answer was YES! The reason has to do with what is called "Donor Dominance." It was the hair follicle itself that determined longevity, not where the hair follicle was located or relocated to on the scalp.

With the concept of hair transplantation at least sound in theory, physicians began to perform hair transplants for cosmetic improvement. And like most new developments the first attempts were less than perfect (i.e. the Wright Brother's plane versus a Boeing airliner).

Yes, doctors learned to successfully transplant hair from the sides and back of the head and grow hair on top, but mostly in clumps that looked unnatural and obvious. This poor aesthetic look is often described as "doll's hair," "Corn row," etc.

Obviously things had to improve and they did - dramatically. Over the course of years the technique of hair transplantation evolved. Hair grafts became increasingly smaller and refined, changing from 15 to 25 hair grafts to as small as one and two hair grafts. Today a good hair transplant is one you'll never notice. Unfortunately some people still associate hair transplantation with the old corn row look because that's the only transplantation work they notice.

As techniques improved, the grafts became smaller and the number transplanted per session increased. Today most hair transplant surgeons use grafts that are from one to eight hairs, with 200 to 800 grafts transplanted in each session. Although this is a major improvement over the larger grafts, this procedure still produces a slightly unnatural look.

Going beyond this, Dr. Ron Shapiro and his associates, have perfected a total micro grafting technique called "follicular unit hair transplants". This procedure uses only 1, 2, 3, and 4 hair grafts created from naturally occurring "follicular units".

Their technique is extremely refined and natural because it mimics the way our hair grows naturally. If you look at naturally growing hair under magnification you'll see that hair grows in irregular groupings of one, two, three, and sometimes four hairs.

Dr. Shapiro and his associates isolate these naturally occurring "follicular unit hair groupings" trim them under a microscope and place them close together so they will grow in naturally occurring patterns and directions.

Using this technique they can place between 1000 to 2000 grafts per session. This made it possible for me to more quickly achieve the volume of hair I wanted and for less money.

So why aren't all doctors doing mega hair transplant procedures that use only micro grafts created from naturally occurring "follicular hair units"? Basically the reason is that it takes time to change and adapt to these cutting edge (pun intended) advancements in technique.

A doctor who is still performing 300 to 700 grafts per session, relying on a staff of 1-3 technicians, may find it difficult to transition to mega sessions of 1000-2000 grafts requiring a staff of 4-6 technicians. These longer sessions are more labor intensive and technically more demanding. It also takes a lot of time and effort to learn this more refined technique.

Hair transplant techniques like my doctor's have evolved to such a high degree of naturalness that many doctors believe that hair transplantation has advanced about as far as it can. After all, you can't get any more natural than using hair as it naturally occurs in "Follicular Hair Units". 

Great work now really comes down to the technical and artistic skill of the doctor. And in my opinion Dr. Shapiro and his associates are great surgeons, innovators, and artists.

(To see an actual hair transplant procedure)

Contact me (Pat)or The Shapiro Medical Group

To call the Shapiro Medical Group Directly

Call 1-800-843-1989 or 952-926-0000
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Copyright 2000 - Please note,  all content on this web site is copyright protected and not to be used with out the express permission of Pat. All images and photos contain embedded watermarks that are tracked online by Digimarc.