CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A childhood accident left Vonette Chisholm with balding and white scarred skin.
The incident left her feeling “embarrassed” and “different,” and Chisholm recently underwent hair restoration surgery.
Hair restoration surgeon Dr. Jerry Cooley with Carolina Dermatology in Charlotte said hair transplants used to mean hair plugs – clusters of hair follicles pulled from the back of the scalp to fill in bald areas.
“The hair follicles can be easily damaged, and you won't get the kind of growth that you would with the follicular unit technique,” Cooley said.
The follicular unit technique requires a microscope and tedious work to separate up to 4,000 hair units per procedure.
First Chisholm’s scarred skin was removed. After her scalp was closed she was given a transplant to create a new hair line. She is happy with the results, saying she would do it again.
“John,” who did not want to be identified by his real name, also underwent the surgery.
Rogaine is often used to thicken existing hair. The pill Propecia prevents more balding in men by targeting a hair-loss hormone. Cooley said John had already lost too much hair to be considered for those treatments, so he had a transplant.
The technique created a natural swirled pattern on his crown. Since the procedure, John said he’s been asked if he has lost weight or started working out.
“It's my hair. It's just moved around a little,” John said.
Some patients are given a combination of topical medications with surgery to keep the hair they do have while filling in bare spots. Experts said results are best if the patients start treatment during the earliest signs of hair thinning or balding.