© Thieme Medical Publishers
25 November 2008 (online)
Since the beginning of recorded history, hair has been one of the cornerstones of the human concept of beauty and strength. Sampson's strength was directly attributable to his proud mane. This connection between hair and sexual attraction transcends all societies and cultures. Other than historical differences in style, a thick, full head of hair has always been associated with youth, vitality, strength, and pulchritude. Hair continues to be a prime focus in our modern society's view of beauty, and this translates into a multibillion-dollar, worldwide industry.
Hair transplantation was introduced by Okuda in Japan in 1939, and the technique was popularized by Orentreich in 1959. Prior to that time, wigs and hair pieces were the only methods of “restoring” the youth and beauty associated with hair. The donor dominant principle of hair growth, which allows the transfer of hair from the rich occipital scalp to the sparse frontal scalp, has granted us with a surgical solution to many forms of alopecia. From the initial procedures using large punch grafts, to scalp flaps and scalp advancement, and finally to microfollicular unit hair transplants, the techniques have been revised and refined over the decades to a point where we now can achieve completely natural results.
It has been my pleasure to assemble many of the world's authorities on hair restoration to contribute to this monograph. Though it is of course impossible in the space of this issue to cover the entire field of hair restoration, the issue does present many cutting-edge concepts and techniques. As we look into the future, we anxiously await the fruits of new science and research that may one day allow us to take one follicle and clone it into an inexhaustible supply of transplantable hairs … the next new frontier of hair replacement surgery.