i s t o r y
of portions of hair-bearing skin from either animals
or humans has been done with varying degrees of success
since the early 1800's. However, significant modern
developments in hair transplantation did not occur until
the next century. In 1939, a Japanese dermatologist
named Okuda first described the punch technique of hair
transplantation. Dr. Okuda, working on severe burn patients,
transplanted round grafts of skin containing hair follicles
from the permanent hair-bearing areas into slightly
smaller round openings in scarred areas of scalp. The
grafts continued to produce hair in their new locations.
In 1943, another Japanese dermatologist, Dr. Tamura,
used 1-3 hair micrografts to restore female pubic hair.
These very small micro-grafts were obtained from a single
elliptical incision taken from the donor area. Interestingly,
his techniques were very similar to those we are using
today. The work of both of these physicians were published
in Japanese medical journals, but their pioneering procedures
remained unknown to the Western World because of World
transplantation was rediscovered by Dr. Norman Orentreich
in New York City in 1952, where he performed the first
hair transplant for male pattern alopecia. In 1959,
Dr. Orentreich published his work in the Annals of the
New York Academy of Science (after several years of
rejection by a disbelieving medical community). In this
publication he put forth his theory of "donor dominance"
and this began the "modern" era of hair transplantation.
Unfortunately, his work paralleled the "punch"
technique of Okuda, rather than the "micrograft"
technique of Tamura and so, by the 1960's, hair restoration
surgery in the United States was off and running, but
in the wrong direction.