When he describes the state of hair restoration today, Atlanta-area plastic surgeon Dr. Keith Jeffords doesn't just talk about the wonders of modern follicle transplants. He has another message too: Your scalp won't have to pay the price.
"There's new technology, new devices, new ways to do this that are less painful and less invasive but still satisfactory," says Jeffords, M.D., D.D.S. "No one goes to get their gallbladder out with a 12-inch scar like they used to. That's what we should be doing: We shouldn't leave a 12-inch scar on the back of somebody's head."
Dr. Jeffords, who's in private practice in Smyrna, Ga., spoke about adding hair restoration to plastic surgery practices at Plastic Surgery The Meeting 2016, the annual gathering of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In a conversation with Cosmetic Surgery Times, he talked about technological advances, competitive advantages for plastic surgeons and the market for reconstructive hair restoration.
Restoration Technology Changes the Game
Years ago, Dr. Jeffords refused to get a hair transplant himself because he didn't want to be sidelined from working. Why? Because he wouldn't be able to perform surgery for several weeks in order to prevent the hair-grafting scar from widening, which would happen by moving his head during procedures.
Technological advances have since allowed Dr. Jeffords to undergo two hair transplants. "Follicular unit extraction doesn't create a scar," he says. "Instead, you remove a follicle at a time to reconstruct the hair line."
Now, new automated follicle removal devices allow physicians to harvest 600 to 1,000 grafts per hour, he says. "I just did a 3,000-graft case, and finished harvesting in 2.5 hours," he says. "It's much quicker, much safer, with no scars."
The new grafting technology can even allow scar revision procedures, Dr. Jeffords says, such as graft hairs into scars. It's even possible to use the grafting devices to improve the appearance of scars without adding hair. "If you have a white scar that shows through dark hair, you can make holes in that scar so it will revascularize, turning a white scar into a flesh-colored scar."