One of the most important aspects of a successful hair transplant procedure is understanding that each patient’s physiology is different and unique. Each hair loss sufferer possesses their own specific level of scalp laxity, donor characteristics, hair characteristics, and balding pattern, and each feature affects a patient’s hair restoration plan. However, in many cases, when preparing for a hair restoration procedure one variable becomes more important than laxity or even hair characteristics: a patient’s ethnicity.
What’s more, although each ethnicity presents unique, important challenges, many patients and hair restoration physicians report that African American hair loss sufferers present with some of the most challenging and distinct physiology. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why successful hair transplantation can be more difficult with African American patients.
However, recently, Dr. William Lindsey – a Coalition hair transplant surgeon with vast experience in African American hair restoration, shared his thoughts on the challenges and advantages of working with this type of hair:
My clinic frequently works with African American hair. On one hand, you have the potential disadvantage of hypertrophic scarring and keloid formation if you perform follicular unit transplantation (FUT) … but on the other hand, most African American patients possess thick, “wirey” hair that gives better coverage than most other races’ hair.
Using a tree analogy, Asian hair is like skinny arbor vitae trees, average Caucasian hair is like bushy leyland cypress trees, Middle Eastern hair is like a weeping willow, and African American hair is like a big oak tree.
You can cover an acre pretty well with a couple of oaks, a few willows, a bunch of leyland cypress’, and you’ll never cover an acre – but you can get some coverage – with a ton of arbor vitae trees.
In most cases, donor “trees”, rather than money in the bank, is the scarce resource that has to managed conservatively
As Dr. Lindsey stated, working with African American hair does possess a fair share of challenges, but can also provide with excellent coverage and result in aesthetically pleasing hair transplant results.
Blake – aka Future_HT_Doc
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