What Makes African-American & Asian Hair Transplants Different
The art and science of hair transplantation continues to progress after nearly a century of practice. African and Asian hair transplants continue to prove more difficult than those of a Caucasian heritage.
Hair transplants have become an increasingly valid option in restoring one’s hair, and it’s safe to say that there are quite a few people who are keen to figure out how well the procedure will work for them. For Caucasian patients, including those of other ethnicities with similar hair, this has rarely been an issue as far as hair type is concerned. They’ve had the FUT procedure (also known as the “strip” procedure), along with the newer FUE method, open to them for as long as those options have been around. Rather, their eligibility has always been an issue of specifics.
African American & Asian patients, however, were in a different situation for a long time. Their hair follicle & skin types, for reasons we’ll dive into soon, once made them virtually ineligible for either type of hair transplant procedure. Now, however, as the technology has developed & hair restoration surgeons have gained further experience with those procedures, the door has begun to open up for them as well.
These advancements have been astounding, to say the least. To help you understand why, let’s go through some of the particular factors a surgeon must navigate in performing a procedure on a African American or Asian hair transplant patient.
For Asian patients, the issue boils down to them having generally lower hair density across their scalp, meaning that there are less options for follicles in the donor area. This decreased margin for error means that a trained eye is especially vital in carrying out the procedure, lest the results end up looking thin & unnatural.
With African American patients, the density factor comes into play a different way. Specifically, it’s a combination of their hair density being higher than average, along with the fact that their follicles are curled (more on that later). As a result of this, the challenge comes with placing the non-linear follicles in close, natural groupings. This isn’t an issue at Modena, however; we have the experience to know what a natural hairline looks like, and we have unique tools that allow us to bring that ideal, natural hairline into reality.
African American patients are at special risk of a particular healing issue known as keloid scarring. People of any skin color can get it, but it’s been noted as affected darker skin patients the most often. Essentially, it refers to growth of extra scar tissue upon post-injury healing, and the issue is even believed to be passed on across one’s family.
To avoid any suffering from this issue, when patients visit Modena Hair Institute, those with a known history of keloid scarring in their family will go through a very minor test session to determine whether they’ve got it as well. Thankfully, however, even if you see that type of scarring happening on other parts of your body, the vascularity of the scalp means it’s generally less likely in that area. Furthermore, even if it does happen, Modena’s Dr. Amir Yazdan offers his Newport, Beverly Hills & Las Vegas hair transplant patients a special medication to combat it during the procedure, dramatically minimizing it as a result.
For Asian hair transplant recipients, It’s less an issue of specific potential issues (although keloid scarring is still possible), and more an overall increased risk of scarring. If there are genetic issues that might affect this, patients receive the same sort of minor tests mentioned earlier to determine how they’ll react to the full transplant.
Hair Follicle Shape
Lastly, as mentioned in the first point, the hair follicles of African American people are curled in the scalp, leading to the typically very curly nature of their hair. The extraction process changes accordingly, and a punch with a slightly larger diameter than normal has to be used to fully capture the curled follicle, without damaging the surroundings of course. Dr. Yazdan, for example, uses a 0.8-1mm punch to fully capture each follicle while avoiding the surrounding area in turn.
Given the different factors we’ve discussed here, especially with scarring in mind, we at Modena Hair Institute generally perform FUE transplants on African American patients, especially males, since FUT (“strip”) procedures leave minor scarring as a result. Asian patients, however, are eligible to receive either depending on the doctor’s analysis of each particular case.
Yes, it’s more than possible for African American & Asian patients to get the hairline of their dreams, but as we’ve suggested, it’s only possible if the procedure is being done by someone with years of experience & knowledge on their belt. That’s exactly what we provide here at Modena Hair Institute.
Our practice has had years of experience handling these specific types of transplants, and that’s exactly what it takes to do it right the first time. Sure, other clinics offer these transplants, but many of them have rarely performed procedures on non-white patients, especially Asians & African Americans. Because there are many different nuances in how their procedures are done, this simply won’t do; you’ll be far better off with a clinic like ours that’s spent quality time working with cases like yours.
It’s not just down to procedure experience, either; without the right tools, the best possible results are that much further out of reach, and risk comes creeping that much closer. That’s why, instead of the tools used for the majority of our patients, Dr. Yazdan has highly specialized tools at his disposal for his African American patients. By taking this vital step, he’s able to offer them a full, natural head of hair, an even hairline, and properly-healing donor & transplant areas in turn. Other clinics simply don’t offer this level of specialization, and it’s for that reason why their attempts at performing the procedures are loaded with risks that no patient should ever have to face.
Lastly, at Modena, Dr. Amir Yazdan, a board-certified physician, personally performs every transplant at our clinics, with no assistants handling the procedure itself. The time he’s spent perfecting his craft & practicing case-specific methods makes him more than qualified to handle patients of all backgrounds, and the results he’s achieved speak for themselves.