Research and progress
The first hair transplants were performed during the Second World War on Japanese patients suffering from burns. Although all records were lost in the turmoil during and after the war, research into hair transplantation really got going just after the war. It was soon discovered that transplanted donor hair would carry on growing, not falling out. However, researchers soon came up against the greatest challenge - how to make hair transplants look natural. The search for improved techniques and more natural results got underway.
About mini- and micro-grafts of follicular units
Major progress and improvements have been made in the field of hair transplantation since the early 1990's. Grafts, originally quite big and round, have become increasingly smaller (we now refer to mini- and micro-grafts), leading to hair root groups - follicular units (FU) - being seen as anatomical structures. Over the past few years, the use of magnifying glasses and microscopes has enabled the anatomical structures of the follicular units to be even better observed, allowing even finer and more precise techniques. This in turn has allowed even denser hair transplants, making transplanted hair look even more natural. The microscopic dissection of follicular units (microscopic FUT technique) represented a significant step forward, since it was the first transplant technique allowing a natural hair pattern. In fact, it is only limited by the number of donor hairs. Expertly extracted and transplanted follicular units are hardly, if at all, distinguishable from natural hair.
The search for the causes: diagnosing hair loss and providing patients with advice
Hair loss has a number of different causes, meaning that diagnosing and treating hair loss is a very complex task. To find out why hair falls out, gets thinner (alopecia) or disappears completely (effluvium) - and then to come up with the right treatment - necessitates research into the exact causes. This requires both a precise and comprehensive diagnosis and in-depth research into a patient's medical history. An analysis of a patient's past illnesses and a clinical examination usually (ca. 80% of cases) allow a diagnosis to be made. Dependent on the examinations carried out beforehand, the patient’s medical history and the conclusions drawn, further examinations might be necessary. These can include specific hair analyses, looking for underlying diseases, or blood tests. Modern technology helps protect patients from undue stress. The basis of any successful therapy and treatment is always a deep-going comprehensive diagnosis, enabling the doctor not just to draw conclusions about the pattern, activity and state of the patient's hair and scalp, but also allowing him to present and explain the individual therapy.
Such a detailed diagnosis consists - dependent on the type and intensity of hair loss and on the ensuing therapy/treatment - of various procedures and diagnosis methods, many of which complement and support each other:
- an analysis of the patient's medical history (anamnesis)
- a trichogram
- a trichoscan
- lab tests
- a scalp biopsy