Thursday, May 17, 2012
Of particular interest to me were the presentations regarding the influence of the recipient site on the growth rate of transplanted hair. The original research was performed in Korea over 10 years ago and showed the surprising result that, contrary to our earlier belief, the body site where the transplanted hairs are placed influences and changes the growth rate of the hairs.
The relevance of this is that hairs in different regions of the body grow at different rates. Therefore when using scalp hair to reconstruct eyebrows the transplanted hairs initially grow at the scalp hair rate which is three times faster than the eyebrow rate. This means that the transplanted eyebrow hairs have to be trimmed regularly as they grow much longer and faster.
Over time however, the surrounding eyebrow skin somehow influences the transplanted hairs and they slow down considerably to more resemble the growth of normal eyebrow hairs. Even more interestingly, if the transplanted hairs are then removed from the eyebrow and re-transplanted back into the scalp, they then begin to speed up their growth rate again! Amazing stuff.
The other benefit from this research is that it shows that certain body hairs can successfully be used to replace lost hairs in the scalp. Over time these body hairs will more closely resemble natural scalp hairs in appearance and growth rates. Despite this, body hairs should only be used as a last resort when there are no more usable scalp hairs available as donor hairs.