Dr. Norman Orentreich was the first person to perform a hair transplant surgery in the year 1952 in New York. He is also known as the father of modern hair transplant and has pioneered the term “Donor Dominance”. He wrote a paper on the respective that was initially rejected by medical communities, but later got published in the year 1959. His landmark study coined the term “donor dominance” that emerged as the base principle concept of all modern hair transplant procedures. His study claimed that the transplanted hair continues to display similar characteristics of hair extracted from the donor area.
However, his pioneering study steered the focus away from a distinct reality that a successful cosmetic result is not dependent merely on effective hair growth. His procedure used large grafts and failed to deliver natural results.
During the 1970’s, almost all hair transplant procedures used large grafts. It became well-known as “Hair Plugs” and emerged as synonymous with the term Hair transplant.
The year 1984 marked the introduction of the “Mini-Graft” technique in the hair transplantation domain. It used smaller graft cuts from the donor tissue strip rather than punching them out directly from the scalp (back). Further, surgeons started using even smaller grafts of 1-2 hair, known as “Micro-Grafts” for softening the frontal hairline.
This devised a procedure known as “Mini-Micro Grafting” that placed mini grafts in the scalp center and micro grafts around it to provide more natural results. It gradually replaced the traditional Hair-Plug technique to emerge as the foremost hair transplant technique in 1990’s.
In mid-1990’s, a technique named “Mega-sessions” gained popularity that used extended number of mini-micro grafts.
In the year 1995, Dr. Robert Bernstein and Dr. William Rassman pioneered the Follicular Unit Transplantation procedure that significantly transformed the hair transplantation industry. Popularly known as FUT hair transplant, this procedure transplanted grafts of naturally occurring units (of 1-4 hair), known as follicular units. The process included stereo-microscopic graft dissection that was based on dissection techniques invented by Dr. Bobby Limmer in Australia. It obtained follicular units from the donor strip and provided significantly improved results.
FUT initially faced resistance and skepticism from the hair restoration community. But since the method provided great results, it became popular among patients and surgeons all around the globe reluctantly adopted it. By year 2000, the procedure became conventional to emerge as “Gold Standard” for surgical hair restoration.
Even though FUT remained the best bet for people, the idea of harvesting grafts directly from the scalp was never dispelled. An Australian doctor probed the idea of removing units directly from the donor area using a very tiny punch. The technique eventually gained a lot of popularity in the hair transplant community as the team of Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Rassman further worked and introduced “Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)” in their publication Follicular Unit Extraction: Minimally Invasive Surgery for Hair Transplantation in the year 2002. However, like FUT, FUE procedure also faced resistance as it required special devices and entitled surgeons to develop new surgical skills.
In year 2005, a paper by Dr. James Harris added to the popularity of the FUE procedure. He introduced the two-step sharp and dull punch instruments that were capable of minimizing the damage to follicular units during the procedure. Further with time, new innovative devices like SAFE system, NeoGraft, SmartGrafts, and ARTAS robotic hair transplant systems were introduced that escalated the popularity of FUE hair transplantation.
The advent of time has led to various technological innovations and integrations in the Hair Transplant industry. In year 2011, Restoration Robotics INC. introduced the first ARTAS robot in the field of hair restoration and gave birth to the robotic follicular unit extraction procedure.
ARTAS robot is the most advanced technology used for graft harvesting and recipient site creation. It has empowered the surgeons with utmost precision and consistency. In the year 2013, Restoration Robotics INC. introduced recipient site creation capabilities for the ARTAS Robot. Further in 2016, they worked with Dr. Bernstein to develop an algorithm that allowed ARTAS robot to automatically select follicular units for harvesting while minimizing the risk of wounding.
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