Though the number of hair transplantations performed annually in the United States is lower now that it was in the year 2000, the procedure seems to be on the rise again, at least according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Why the renewed interest in hair transplants? Bay Area facial plastic surgeons and hair restoration specialists Dr. David Lieberman and Dr. Sachin Parikh note that influential factors are complex, but there are a few especially noteworthy potential causes.
The society’s report—released in March 2018—details cosmetic surgery trends and compares demographic data from 2017, 2016, and 2000. Back at the turn of the millennium, the advanced follicular unit extraction devices and techniques considered the gold standard today were just starting to grow in popularity after advancements and developments in the 1990s.
Earlier decades had seen the proliferation of hair plugs, which transplanted healthy hair to bald spots on the scalp in large chunks. The procedure brought more hair to where it was needed, but many people felt the look was obvious—a turnoff for anyone who wanted their new head of hair to look natural. Healing and recovery was also an involved process.
The idea behind plugs was improved upon by follicular unit transplant, which allowed for a more natural look and required less in the way of recovery, but left a linear scar on the back of the scalp. Various modifications to these techniques continued to improve on results, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that follicular unit extraction, focusing on the back and sides of the head for taking individual units of hair for grafting, began taking hold.
In 2008, the industry took another leap forward with the introduction of NeoGraft®, a device that safely and effectively automates the laborious follicular unit extraction process, which would previously be carried out manually. Fast recovery is an attractive benefit, especially for anyone looking to make a quick return to a busy work schedule. Some patients have reported getting back to the office within 72 hours after their procedure.
As with any new technology, this advancement has gradually caught on. The current widespread availability and effectiveness of NeoGraft® should certainly be taken into consideration when seeing that the number of hair transplant surgeries performed by American Society of Plastic Surgeons members rose 8 percent from 2015 to 2016, then another 19 percent from 2016 to 2017.
In these same years, image-based social media platforms have flourished, inviting anyone and everyone to post pictures of themselves online—often multiple times each day. With Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more dominating users’ increasingly versatile and portable smartphones, U.S. culture has become one of constant visual contact.
In fact, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reported in January 2018 that 55 percent of plastic surgery patients now list wanting to look good on social media as a motivating factor in pursuing a change. This is the result of a 13 percent increase in that motivator between 2016 and 2017.
In addition, the job market—especially in the tech-savvy Bay Area, where Drs. Lieberman and Parikh operate—is becoming increasingly competitive, prompting many men to seek any advantage they can get when it comes to looking young and vibrant during the interview and hiring process. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery report backs this up, too, as 57 percent of the survey respondents said their patients cite workplace competition among their reasons for coming in for a procedure.
While no one can predict the future, it stands to reason that as long as selfies remain popular, job hunting requires every edge possible, and hair transplantation technology continues to advance in safety and effectiveness, the cosmetic surgical procedure will continue to grow as well.
To learn more about NeoGraft®, follicular unit extraction, and hair restoration in general, contact Dr. David Lieberman and Dr. Sachin Parikh at the Lieberman & Parikh Center for Hair Restoration in Campbell, serving San Jose, Palo Alto, and beyond. Call (650) 327-3232 or inquire online at www.bayareahairtransplant.com.