The hair follicle is an organ found in mammalian skin. It resides in the dermal layer of the skin and is made up of 20 different cell types, each with distinct functions. The hair follicle regulates hair growth via a complex interaction between hormones, neuropeptides, and immune cells. This complex interaction induces the hair follicle to produce different types of hair as seen on different parts of the body. For example, terminal hairs grow on the scalp and lanugo hairs are seen covering the bodies of fetuses in the uterus and in some newborn babies. The process of hair growth occurs in distinct sequential stages. The first stage is called anagen and is the active growth phase, telogen is the resting stage, catagen is the regression of the hair follicle phase, exogen is the active shedding of hair phase and lastly kenogen is the phase between the empty hair follicle and the growth of new hair.
The function of hair in humans has long been a subject of interest and continues to be an important topic in society, developmental biology and medicine. Of all mammals, humans have the longest growth phase of scalp hair compared to hair growth on other parts of the body. For centuries, humans have ascribed esthetics to scalp hair styling and dressing and it is often used to communicate social or cultural norms in societies. In addition to its role in defining human appearance, scalp hair also provides protection from UV sun rays and is an insulator against extremes of hot and cold temperatures. Differences in the shape of the scalp hair follicle determine the observed ethnic differences in scalp hair appearance, length and texture.
There are many human diseases in which abnormalities in hair appearance, texture or growth are early signs of local disease of the hair follicle or systemic illness. Well known diseases of the hair follicle include alopecia or hair loss, hirsutism or excess hair growth and lupus erythematosus.
Hair follicles form the basis of the two primary methods of hair transplantation in hair restoration, hair transplantation in hair restoration, Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). In each of these methods, naturally occurring groupings of one to four hairs, called follicular units, are extracted from the hair restoration patient and then surgically implanted in the balding area of the patient's scalp, known as the recipient area. These follicles are extracted from donor areas of the scalp, or other parts of the body, which are typically resistant to the miniaturization effects of the hormone DHT. It is this miniaturization of the hair shaft that is the primary predictive indicator of androgenetic alopecia, commonly referred to as male pattern baldness or male hair loss. When these DHT-resistant follicles are transplanted to the recipient area, they continue to grow hair in the normal hair cycle, thus providing the hair restoration patient with permanent, naturally-growing hair. More than 60% of men and 10% of women suffer from hair loss.
While hair transplantation dates back to the 1950s, and plucked human hair follicle cell culture in vitro to the early 1980s, it was not until 1995 when hair transplantation using indi
While hair transplantation dates back to the 1950s, and plucked human hair follicle cell culture in vitro to the early 1980s, it was not until 1995 when hair transplantation using individual follicular units was introduced into medical literature.