People have been trying to reverse hair loss as far back as we know. An ancient Egyptian remedy called for reciting a spell to the sun god and then swallowing a mixture of onions, iron, red lead, honey and alabaster. Another encouraged rubbing the fat of various animals onto the scalp, including that of lions, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, ibex, serpents and geese.
To our knowledge, none of these are used as any kind of treatment for hair loss. Today, a variety of over the counter and prescription products are available to stimulate hair growth. Some, like Propecia and Minoxidil have been shown to have benefits and stimulate hair growth. However, most other products have never been shown to really work.
In the late 1950s, a physician named Norman Orentreich popularized the concept of transplanting hair from the back to the front of the scalp. He was following the research of a Japanese dermatologist who was the first to publish this technique in 1939.
Since then, hair transplant procedures have generally involved harvesting a strip of skin and hair from the back of the scalp, splitting the tissue into follicular units of one to four hairs and transplanting these follicular unit hair grafts into the areas of hair loss.
The technique is effective in that the transplanted hair grows well, but patients do wind up with a scar on the back of the head that is noticeable with short hairstyles. There is also a sensation of tightness in the area as well as some downtime and pain involved, since a large amount of skin is excised.
The Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) device was developed to help automate and simplify the hair transplant procedure. Instead of harvesting a strip of skin and dividing it into units, the surgeon can take individual follicular units from the back of the head and transplant them directly into the area of hair loss.
This way of harvesting grafts is called Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). The procedure now becomes much easier to tolerate with minimal pain or downtime, no scarring and no sensation of tightness. Patients can wear a short hairstyle and all signs of the procedure are gone within a few days.
Over 6000 successful Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) transplants have been performed in Asia and Europe with excellent results. Therefore, the FUE method is Dr. Rivkin’s recommendation for treating premature hair loss and thinning hair.