Ethnic and African American Hair Transplant
The basic principals of hair restoration surgery are the same for all races and ethnicity including African Americans. Hair follicles are removed from the sides and the back of the scalp and then transplanted into the bald areas. As long as the hair follicle is intact and was not damaged during the harvest process the hair will continue to grow exactly as it did from the donor region from which it was removed.
There are however distinct differences in physiology that can impact the cosmetic result in a Black or African American patient.
Dr. Yazdan examing an African American patient who had traction alopecia after hair weaving on The Doctor’s TV Show.
One of the more significant concerns is keloid scarring. A keloid is a growth of extra scar tissue where the skin has healed after an injury. Although the cause is not known, keloids are equally common in women and men. Although people with darker skin are more likely to develop them, keloids can occur in people of all skin types. In some cases, the tendency to form keloids seems to run in families.
If there is any history of keloid scarring we will typically perform a very small test session to assure that you do not have this healing characteristic. In general because of the greater vascularity of the scalp many times patients with a history of keloid scarring on other parts of the body will not form keloid scars in the scalp.
Hair Follicle Shape and Hair Density
The reason that African American hair grows much more curly is because the hair follicle actually is curled in the scalp. This presents a particular challenge to the hair transplant surgeon because the extraction of the follicle needs to accommodate the curl in the scalp. When performing follicular unit extraction (FUE) Dr. Yazdan will use a slightly larger punch (1mm) so he can encircle the follicular unit and then follow the curve to safely extract the follicular units with out transecting the grafts.
In most cases, especially for males, Dr. Yazdan performs the FUE procedure vs. the linear strip extraction (FUT) method to avoid visible scarring and to accommodate the shorter hair styles of African American males.