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Tom E. Curran
Comcast Sports Net New England Football Reporter

The Scoop on Laser Hair Transplant Surgery

I am writing to you from the ISHRS Live Surgery Workshop in Orlando, Florida where I moderated a segment and gave a talk on the Male Consultation. I also participated in creating the recipient sites of a live surgery teaching case on a follicular unit transplant of the frontal forelock on a very nice physician from the greater Philadelphia area.

Just a few weeks ago I was asked about a hair restoration technique called Laser Hair Transplant Surgery. It always surprises me that even though this technique has fallen out of use since the 1990s, people still talk about it. A patient will come in to the office having heard or read mixed reviews on this “high tech” way of restoring hair, and ask for my opinion to get the facts straight. I’m always happy to tell him or her the interesting history of this once “hot” technique.

First of all, this process should not be confused with low level laser light therapy, an effective technique that uses infrared light therapy to enhance cell activity, allowing for more nutrients to reach the hair follicles, improving hair growth. Laser Hair Transplant Surgery is a completely different animal.

That being said, I explain that similar to surgical hair restoration, in Laser Hair Transplant Surgery, holes are made in the scalp and the grafted hair is inserted into these holes. However, because these holes are made with a laser, the recipient sites are actually created by vaporizing skin tissue, cauterizing the circulation to the planted grafts. This causes a great deal of crusting as well as the slow re-growth of grafts–quite disappointing for someone who is expecting a full, healthy head of hair.

The bottom line is that a good blood supply is needed for re-growth to occur efficiently, and this can’t happen if the circulation is jeopardized in any way. Though this was a “hot” trend in hair restoration a number of years ago, the unimpressive results have made this technique a thing of the past. Good riddance. Back to techniques that really work!

-Doc