Early Hair Transplant Efforts Contributed to Today’s Many Options

In ancient times, most men and women were probably more worried about basic survival than dealing with the onset of baldness, but still – it sure would’ve been nice if they had had access to modern hair transplants. For all we know, they may well have tried.

According to the Daily Mail, archaeologists in Peru found 1,000-year-old skulls with holes neatly drilled into them and pieces precisely removed.

skull with holes in it

Whether the surgery was to improve the graying hair on their heads or the gray matter within their craniums is still uncertain, but this primitive method does illustrate how far we’ve come to get to today’s advanced levels of care and treatment available for people seeking hair implants and transplants. There’s minimal scarring, short recovery time, and plenty of confidence to gain from restoring the natural hair.

Across the globe, ancient Egyptians were also interested in maintaining or preserving their hair. How Stuff Works explained that researchers have found papyrus recipes designed for hair care, hair restoration, hair dyes, and a variety of dark-haired wigs.

hieroglyphics
Horemheb flanked by Egyptian goddess Isis

The Roots of Modern-Day Hair Transplants

Most of our modern methods began in Germany in the early 1800s.

According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, the first modern hair transplantation took place in 1822, when dermatologist Johann Dieffenbach poked holes in his arm and inserted scalp hair follicles. His published findings showed that two of the hairs died instantly, two fell out later (which he blamed on an immune system reaction), and two took root and began growing. Dieffenbach worked on similar transplants most of his career and collaborated with another early alopecia researcher, Dom Unger.

johann_friedrich_dieffenbach

Other researchers in the 19th and early 20th centuries continued to look for cures and surgical methods like larger grafts or skin flaps.

Grafts and Transplants in the 20th Century

In the 1920s up to the 1950s, Japanese dermatologists looked into grafts and transplants. Drs. Okuda, Tamura, Sasagawa and Fujita examined ways to remove and inject hair into different parts of the patient’s body. Further experiments included replacing eyebrows, arm hair, and pubic hair.

The rest of the world was unaware of these advances until Fujita shared his findings in the 1970s. But other researchers were continuing to investigate baldness and surgical ways to prevent or reverse it.

Discovery of Donor Dominance Leads to More Refined Methods

In the 1950s, Norman Orentreich found hairs were the most successful at taking root if they were transplanted from a hair-producing area to another hair-producing area. He arrived at his conclusion – which he called donor dominance – after experiments on more than 50 volunteers with alopecia. Donor dominance explains how transplanted hair from certain areas can continue to grow in a new environment or another recipient.

dr. norman

More importantly, his research shattered the common belief that genetics were always the culprit. Though genetics can affect your hair’s characteristics, pattern baldness is more due to your hair follicles reacting negatively to a common male hormone called DHT.

Orentreich went on to create the punch-graft method, where, instead of larger grafted strip of skin like doctors use today, many small holes were created for the different follicles to be planted and grow.

Though this technique offered encouraging results, a scalp with many holes was certainly noticeable. Richard Shiell’s “Review of Modern Surgical Techniques” called it an unnatural “doll look” since it really could resemble a doll with individually inserted strands of hair.

Following these breakthroughs, efforts continued to refine the transplant process, including determining the optimal size, location, and number of the donor grafts. A variety of mechanical tools were even developed to improve the quality and quantity of punch-grafts, but none of these caught on.

 

Considering a hair transplant? Contact us to discuss your options.

Oklahoma City plastic surgeon and hair salon owner team up on hair loss education

It’s not easy talking about hair loss, it can be embarrassing and overwhelming.

Many people respond with: “Why is this happening and what am I supposed to do about it?”

To combat this problem, Dr. Tim Love and Steve Schardein teamed up to educate their clients and employees on how to deal with hair loss.

Schardein operates one of the largest and most popular full-service salons in Oklahoma City, Schardein’s. Dr. Tim R. Love, MD, an award-winning plastic surgeon, is one of Schardein’s clients. A conversation between the two led to an idea.

Steve Schardein talks to his staff during a weekly training session.
Steve Schardein talks to his staff during a weekly training session.

 

“Tim’s a client and we discussed the confusion many people have when they experience hair loss,” Schardein said in a recent interview at his 6,700-square foot salon located in northern Oklahoma City on May Avenue. “We deal with people who are suffering from hair loss – we cut their hair. We want to help them.”

Love and Schardein worked together to formulate a training program for Schardein’s stylists. Dr. Tim R. Love, MD met with they stylists to explain the hair transplant procedure and methods for talking about hair loss. Both Dr. Tim R. Love, MD and Schardein have undergone hair transplant surgery, so they know what to expect and what impact it has on a patient’s life.

“I’m living proof,” Dr. Tim R. Love, MD said in a video interview shortly after his procedure.
“It’s the best thing I ever did,” Schardein said, “my hair looks great and I feel great about it. I’m in the fashion business, I have to look good.”

But these two professionals were interested in more than just results – they were also committed to educating people about hair loss and providing the best possible customer service.

“It was interesting to see how Steve’s employees really soaked in the information and wanted to implement it with their clients who may have questions about hair loss – men and women,” Dr. Tim R. Love, MD said. “I was impressed at how Steve wanted to know as much as possible so he could help his clients. He also asked a lot of questions when he had his procedure.”

Dr. Tim R. Love, MD performs hair transplant surgery at his office at Hefner Pointe Drive and he believes strongly in the benefits of the procedure. He sees the positive reaction from his patients on a weekly basis. “You talk about people who have gratitude about what we do for them, it’s the hair treatment patient – male or female,” he said.

“The service I received from Dr. Tim R. Love, MD’s office was unbelievable,” said Schardein, who had his hair transplant a few years ago and has a healthy head of hair. “People are surprised that I had a transplant and when they find out they always tell me ‘Your hair looks amazing.’”

Thanks to their commitment to their clients, both Dr. Tim R. Love, MD and Schardein are making it easier for people to understand how a hair transplant can give them amazing hair.

Contact us to learn more about hair transplants and if it’s the right choice for you.

Keeping Your Hair Healthy After a Hair Transplant

Whether or not you’re considering hair transplant surgery, you want the hair you have to be as healthy as possible. It isn’t as simple as upgrading hair products, either; everything from how often you wash your hair to what you eat can have an impact. Instead of spending a fortune on unnecessary products or losing your hair to neglect, we’ve made a list just for you on things you can do to keep your hair healthy and lively (at any age):
Woman braiding hair loosely which is recommended if you get a hair transplant

Easy There, Killa

Your hair really does need some tender, loving care: certain shampoos or heat treatments can do more damage than help. Even if you’re guilty of a few bad hair habits, there’s no time like the present to change!

  • Less is more, especially when it comes to your shampoo. Although it’s designed to clean your hair, too much can strip your hair of the natural oils and minerals that keep it healthy and shiny. In fact, some hair gurus will recommend  you nix shampoo altogether.
  • Be gentle with wet hair, as it’s far more fragile than dry hair. Instead of using a harsh cotton towel to dry your hair, opt for an old t-shirt. Try to comb and detangle your hair before you wash it, and use a wide-toothed comb when you still have conditioner in your hair.
  • Beat the heat, as much as you can. While completely cutting out heat treatments may not be possible, limiting them is best. Invest in a hair dryer that has a cooling option, or a straightener that works without being over 300 degrees. Heat-protective products are also recommended.
  • A softer style works for your hair better than harsh up-dos. Loosen ponytails, braids, and any other hairstyle that puts a little stress on your roots. Additionally, try to limit products that make your hair too stiff or too big and opt instead for a little texture.

Closeup of blueberries which are good for you after a hair transplant

You Are What You Eat

Although you may not think that cheeseburger you had at lunch could impact your hair, it definitely can. For stronger, healthier hair, try opting for any of these foods:

  • Fish, such as salmon, tuna, or trout, are rich in protein and Vitamin D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids—all of which your hair LOVES.
  • Walnuts are also rich in fatty acids, biotin, and vitamin E which help protect your hair against damage.
  • Eggs, in addition to protein, have zinc, selenium, sulfur, and iron—which is responsible for carrying oxygen to your hair follicles.
  • Blueberries are abundant in vitamin C, which is critical for circulation to the scalp.
  • Spinach has beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C—all of which benefit scalp oils.

Other Cheats

Sometimes, hair damage and loss can be attributed simply to age or other genetic factors; other times, it’s a result of daily habits. If you’re eating right but still having trouble with your locks, you may want to have your vitamin and mineral levels checked and take supplements as recommended by your doctor.

In addition to limiting product use, try to choose silicone-based products to limit the amount of damage done to your hair. Leave-in conditioners are also excellent for protecting hair and don’t forget about following the product directions precisely. Finally, be sure you trust your hairstylist—whether it’s a cut or a styling, they shouldn’t be hurting your scalp by doing their job.

For questions on how to keep your hair healthy after a hair transplant surgery, contact us! We’re here to help you look and feel your best.

Best Time for a Hair Transplant in Oklahoma

calendar

Although our country is one that promotes multitasking, efficiency, and timeliness (who else is guilty of ordering take-out on your phone while simultaneously doing laundry, working on the computer, and watching Netflix? We see you), we also enjoy children’s stories cautioning against rushing into things (remember the Tortoise and the Hare?). Some things, however, are just too good to wait on—but hair transplant surgery isn’t one of them.

Once you have decided to undergo surgery, the excitement about returning to a full mane can lead to delirium. This is especially true if you have been battling hair loss for a long period of time. After you’ve talked to your doctor and made your decision, you’ll want to consider a few things before you make your appointment.

There is a right time and a wrong time to get a hair transplant.

Much like winter is the easiest time to recover from plastic surgery, there is a right and a wrong time for hair transplant surgery. Depending upon where you will be recovering, your daily routine, and the current season, your ideal time may be drastically different than your neighbor’s.

Since hair transplant surgery is largely an outpatient procedure that is completed within a few hours, the main concern is recovery. Like most other surgeries, the incision needs to be kept clean and free from infection. The first two weeks are crucial to healing. Within six to eight weeks your routine will have returned to normal, and your results will be fully visible within a year.

To ensure the recovery process is the easiest possible, we’ve compiled a timeline with the benefits and downfalls to recovery in each season:

summer swimming

Summer

Especially in Oklahoma, summers can be brutal with temperatures soaring well into the 100s—making things hot and miserable. Many families take vacations to new destinations or spend their weekends camping, fishing, and swimming out on the lake. It isn’t uncommon for some days to be especially windy, either, since summer sees the end of tornado season.

Pros: A lot of foods that encourage strong hair growth are plentiful in the summer, including apricots, watermelon, avocados, and berries. While hair growth won’t be tremendously impacted by your diet choices following a transplant surgery, even the smallest changes help.  If you vacation to a cooler climate, you can use the time to give your hair a break from the hot temperatures. If you are one to experience extreme shedding following surgery—which is normal but doesn’t occur for everyone—you may be out of the office so no one notices.

Cons: The heat is not your friend. In addition to drying out your hair, your scalp can become sunburned. The incision site may become infected if you don’t avoid public pools of water for at least the first six weeks or until the site heals.  On windy days, your hair needs to be protected with an adjustable cap. Excessive washing and styling to combat sweating can strip your scalp of essential oils. Your vacation plans may be interrupted with return trips to the doctor to check-up and remove your stitches, not to mention minor levels of pain.

fall leaves

Fall

Autumn in Oklahoma is best described as spring in reverse: the soaring temperatures slowly begin to plummet, before dropping off around October. Storms are somewhat common leading into winter, and it’s back to school and work for most.

Pros: The change in temperature means your scalp has less to worry about: if you’re not sweating or exposed to direct sunlight, it gets a break. Foods that encourage growth are still relatively easy to find, like peanuts, whole grains, and pumpkin seeds. If you celebrate Halloween, your incisions could be used as part of a cool costume. And, due to the projected recovery time, your locks will be ready for debut along with the flowers in spring!

Cons: The drastic change in weather could be a shock to your locks if not cared for properly.  If you return to work soon after surgery, your coworkers are likely to notice the incision scar and scabbing. Shedding may also be noticeable. You’ll need to keep a hat or sunscreen on hand if the weather changes too quickly for your hair to be protected.

winter snow on plants

Winter

Just like summers soar into high temperatures, winters in Oklahoma tend to plummet below freezing with a short period of mild weather both before and after. Snowfall can range from a few flakes to a small blizzard, and freezing wind isn’t uncommon.

Pros: Due to it being the holiday season, you will likely be spending time at home—perfect for recovery. With the cold weather, exercise is limited to short gym sessions that won’t endanger your recovery. You won’t have to worry about your scalp being sunburnt, and the cooler temperatures provide a relief from over-washing your hair and scalp.

Cons: The cold weather will take a toll on your strands: the cold, dry air sucks the moisture out of their strands, making them susceptible to breakage. Snowfall and other moisture still present a risk of infection to the incision site, and beneficial foods are in shorter supply. While vitamins may help keep your body healthy, there is also a risk of too much vitamin A that leads to weak hair.

spring blossoms

Spring

With the snow melting, the flowers growing, and the sun coming out, it’s hard to be unhappy in spring. The temperatures stay relatively mild, although there are frequent thunderstorms with heavy rainfall. Wind comes sweeping down the plain, and weekends are usually spent enjoying the outdoors.

Pros: The foods you (and your hair) love so much are back—salmon, seafood, broccoli, and spinach. The moisture in the air makes it easier to style your hair without damaging it. Since the weather is just starting to lighten up, you don’t have to worry about venturing too far from your doctor’s office for check-ups. The start of the new year could be a new start for you!

Cons: The rain and wind pose minor threats to your incision sight until it’s healed, and require extra precaution.  Unless you vacation during Spring Break to heal, most likely your co-workers will be privy to your procedure. Once the season starts warming up, your scalp may become sensitive to the sun and require sunscreen. Finally, your new hair growth won’t be visible until closer to the fall and winter seasons, leaving you bare on top for the vacation season.

 

You’ll have a bad time if … While each season has its drawbacks, there are some things to consider regardless of when you receive your hair transplant surgery. To ensure the best possible experience, try to avoid:

  • Getting a transplant too soon is possible. If you’re too young and you haven’t fully completed your hair loss cycle, you may require multiple hair transplant surgeries to correct the damage done.
  • Pregnancy or any other underlying medical condition can have a tremendous effect on how your hair grows. Be sure to disclose any conditions and medications to your doctor before scheduling the surgery.
  • Outside factors like extreme amounts of stress or scalp resistance can be contributing to the weakening and loss of your hair. This surgery is to improve the new you—you don’t want to waste it!

Although a hair transplant surgery is largely cosmetic, it is still a serious surgery. For the best recovery, carefully consider recovery time and how it may impact your lifestyle before scheduling your surgery date. If you have questions or concerns about hair transplants, contact us! We’d love to help you.

Hair Loss Awareness Month: Things You Should Know About Hair Loss

man looking in mirror at his hair loss

August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month! Here are a few things you may not know about hair loss:

Hair loss impacts more than 55 million men and women in the United States

For men and women 35 years and older, there were 56 million who experienced a hair loss problem in 2013, according to research by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. However, many people under the age of 35 can also experience the problem. This is important in realizing that you’re not alone if you are experiencing hair loss.

Hair loss is not just a men’s issue

An estimated 21 million women deal with hair loss in the United States. Women now have more information and options than ever before when it comes to hair loss. But unfortunately, women seem to consult a physician less often than men when confronted with hair loss. If you’re a woman and you notice hair loss, see your doctor as a first step.

Check the products you use on your hair

Some hair care products can be damaging to your hair. Carefully check your shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, hair spray, and other products to make sure you aren’t hurting your hair. Be aware that blow drying with heat is almost always bad for your hair. Weakening your hair can make you more susceptible to hair loss. Start a discussion about your options with your hair care specialist, stylist or physician.

During National Hair Loss Awareness Month, perform an inventory on your hair and find out ways to see warning signs of hair loss. In addition, be certain that you are treating your hair well so it stays vibrant and healthy.  Contact us today if you’re interested in discussing hair transplant options.

Hair Loss Awareness Month: Things You Should Know About Hair Loss

man looking in mirror at his hair loss

August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month! Here are a few things you may not know about hair loss:

Hair loss impacts more than 55 million men and women in the United States

For men and women 35 years and older, there were 56 million who experienced a hair loss problem in 2013, according to research by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. However, many people under the age of 35 can also experience the problem. This is important in realizing that you’re not alone if you are experiencing hair loss.

Hair loss is not just a men’s issue

An estimated 21 million women deal with hair loss in the United States. Women now have more information and options than ever before when it comes to hair loss. But unfortunately, women seem to consult a physician less often than men when confronted with hair loss. If you’re a woman and you notice hair loss, see your doctor as a first step.

Check the products you use on your hair

Some hair care products can be damaging to your hair. Carefully check your shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, hair spray, and other products to make sure you aren’t hurting your hair. Be aware that blow drying with heat is almost always bad for your hair. Weakening your hair can make you more susceptible to hair loss. Start a discussion about your options with your hair care specialist, stylist or physician.

During National Hair Loss Awareness Month, perform an inventory on your hair and find out ways to see warning signs of hair loss. In addition, be certain that you are treating your hair well so it stays vibrant and healthy.  Contact us today if you’re interested in discussing hair transplant options.