The simple answer is a definite yes.
Each day, I see patients who are stressed out over their hair loss. They have tried everything to hide it—changing hairstyles and wasting their money on “lotions and potions.” And every day they look in the bathroom mirror and the shower. They see less hair on their head and more on their hairbrush and in the drain!
I’ve been treating patients with hair loss for decades. Many of them can get great results and long-lasting improvement with modern hair restoration treatments like the ones I offer at my San Diego-area practice.
If you’re reading this blog, then I’m going to conclude you are a regular person, not a doctor or someone in the medical field. I see regular people like you every day in my practice. Most people are unaware that there are great options to improve hair loss. Too many people think their hair loss is hopeless. They have already tried some type of topical treatment but were disappointed when nothing happened.
Hair Loss Treatment of the Past
Many of my patients know of someone who had hair restoration years ago with some barbaric-sounding method which:
- Was very painful
- Required stitches
- Resulted in a noticeable, long scar on the back of the head
- Took weeks to heal
- Often resulted in months-long scalp numbness
These people frequently had to change their hairstyles and grow their hair longer to hide the scars. That didn’t always work.
If I mention the term “hair transplants,” then you are probably reminded of seeing someone who had a bad “job.” It just looked strange and artificial. The hair transplants were growing out of the person’s scalp in clumps like the hair on a doll’s head or like a row of corn. Who wants to look like that? It’s better to shave your head or go bald!
Examples of bad hair transplants
Today’s Hair Transplant
The good news is that hair restoration has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Today’s hair transplant technology:
- Transforms the procedure
- Eliminates the long recovery
- Avoids noticeable scars
- Creates completely natural-looking and permanent results
I tell my patients, “No one will even know unless you tell them.”
So, if you’re one of those millions of men and women who are suffering from hair loss, then I wrote this blog for you. The purpose of these blogs is to inform you of the amazing medical treatments and procedures available today for a problem many people still think has no solution.
First, who am I?
I knew that I wanted to be a doctor after my dad suffered a heart attack. It was frightening for a teenager to see his dad in the hospital connected to wires and tubes. I remember thinking that he might die. Then, I met his cardiologist, who was very calm, reassuring, and sympathetic. I was fascinated by how medicine was the perfect combination of science and humanity. Surprisingly, his doctor became my mentor. Years later, I discovered that, although humble and unassuming, he was a world-renowned physician.
While in medical school, I became fascinated with the head & neck. The anatomy was challenging and complex. One of my early hospital rotations was in otolaryngology (ENT)—head and neck surgery. The surgeons performed many complex operations to reconstruct the face and scalp from trauma and cancer surgery.
After finishing medical school at the age of 24, I decided to do my initial residency training in head and neck surgery. The U.S. Navy paid for my medical education through an academic scholarship, leaving me with no debt! I entered the U.S. Navy as a medical officer and completed a five-year program. There, I learned how to perform complex operations in the head and neck, which included facial plastic surgery.
My passion was really plastic and reconstructive surgery, though. So, I decided to focus on this as it required both technical skill and a creative mind. I spent another three years focused on all aspects of plastic surgery, one as a Fellow at Stanford University, where I focused on facial plastic surgery.
Why am I interested in hair restoration?
Hair restoration appealed to me during my training because it was very precise and creative. The skills I learned as a microsurgeon during my plastic surgery training were very helpful in teaching my hair restoration team. And it was truly a “team effort” as you needed several assistants working together with you as the team captain to correct hair loss. Hair restoration was a natural “fit” for me.
As plastic surgeons, we are constantly operating on the scalp and hair, whether performing reconstructive or cosmetic plastic surgery. Most of the advances in hair restoration were developed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons. At that time, very few of my plastic surgery colleagues were interested in hair restoration, but I was hooked! I decided to travel across the country and visit many of the pioneers in hair transplant surgery to gain even more experience. Even more exciting was the explosion of technology in the field about 10 years ago. I was fortunate to be one of the early adopters in my community, which has benefited my patients a great deal.
Surgery Isn’t the Only Hair Loss Treatment Option
I have also discovered that treating patients who suffer from hair loss is extremely interesting and incredibly rewarding. It is not only surgery that can help my patients. On many occasions, I recommend a very effective medical program to help stabilize and regrow hair which has been lost. These include:
- In-office procedures
If you’re reading this blog because of hair loss, then I know that I can help you.
My blogs are written to help both men and women who suffer from hair loss due to a number of conditions. They recommend effective and scientifically proven treatments based upon the current literature and my significant clinical experience in treating patients with hair loss over several decades.
Many of my patients are actually other physicians who have heard about us. My colleagues, who are also plastic surgeons, often refer their hair loss patients to me because of our reputation.
In this blog, I will attempt to dispel some of the misconceptions and myths surrounding hair loss. We will examine the various treatment recommendations which you can find on numerous public web sites and blogs. After reading these blogs, you will probably become more of an “authority” on hair loss than many doctors! And, most importantly, you will decide if it is necessary to see a physician who is an expert in hair loss and hair restoration.
Advances in Hair Restoration
I would now like to share a story with you about something important which happened in 2009. But first, the back story. Since the 1960s, most hair transplantation was performed by removing a large strip of scalp from the back of the head. This was called FUT or follicular unit transplantation. The strip of scalp was then cut into small grafts that were transplanted into balding areas of the scalp. The open wound on the back of the head was closed with stitches.
In the late 1980s, some practices began using a hand-held motorized punch to individually remove hair follicles as follicular units, called follicular unit extraction (FUE). However, these devices still required each follicle to be cut out by hand, limiting the number of grafts you could obtain. Some of them left unacceptable scars too.
Suddenly, everything changed in 2009. Now, a device had been introduced to the USA which removed each hair follicle called FUE or follicular unit extraction with a small, sharp punch which also created gentle suction. Each follicular unit was suctioned up through the punch and into a small tube where it was transported to a saline container to keep the grafts moist. There was no open wound on the back of the head which required stitches. This was a major technological breakthrough as it was now possible to remove thousands (not hundreds) of these hair follicles in a single setting and transplant them into the scalp with minimal downtime and no long scar. It was a game-changer! The device was called NeoGraft®; hair restoration had entered the 21st century. I discuss some additional benefits of NeoGraft in this related blog post.
The large white scars were from the older FUE method using a motorized punch. The tiny red holes seen above the white scars were created using the Neograft machine and will heal with imperceptible scars.
By 2010, this device had become much more widespread amongst both dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Our practice purchased the device in 2010, and we have performed over a thousand cases since that time in our office, not in a surgery center. The NeoGraft device became the first semi-automated system for FUE hair restoration in the USA, which was approved by the FDA.
So what is Neograft FUE?
In short, this procedure involves removing each individual hair (or group of hairs) using a tiny sharp punch, which is usually less than a millimeter in diameter. These hairs are ultimately transplanted into areas of hair loss.
My first NeoGraft FUE procedure went very smoothly. I remember seeing my patient back in the office the next day. He remarked that the procedure was very easy. He only took one pain pill the night of the procedure and switched to Tylenol the next day. He started showering three days after the procedure and returned to work after a week. No one at work even noticed he had undergone hair restoration. I followed him closely in my practice over the next year. His hair grew in very naturally, correcting his hair loss. The area where the hair follicles were removed looked untouched with no visible scars or thinning of the hair.
Since that time, I have gained a lot of experience with this technique of hair restoration. In fact, we have been performing FUE hair restoration with the NeoGraft device longer than any other practice in our community.
In addition, we perform more of these hair restoration cases each year than any other practice locally, and you can see the results in our photo gallery. Our practice is amongst the top 1% of NeoGraft practices in the USA in terms of experience and case volume. I am convinced that it is the right option for many people like you who are sick and tired of suffering from permanent and progressive hair loss.
If you’re ready to tackle your hair loss and you’re in the San Diego area, request a consultation online or call my office at (858) 623-6333 (La Jolla) or (619) 633-3100 (San Diego).