Hair loss is a common issue for many men, but the same method of restoration is not always appropriate for all hair types. Dr. Samuel Lam, a board-certified hair restoration surgeon, describes the techniques and differences of varying ethnic hair qualities for the best results.
“Ethnic hair qualities are remarkably different and must be understood in order to achieve natural results,” explains Dr. Lam. “With various hairlines and textures, placement and harvesting techniques must always be considered before starting a procedure.”
Below are details for four ethnic hair transplant procedures:
- Asian Hair Transplant: Asian hair transplants have been considered one of the most difficult types of hair transplants due to the unique characteristics of the Asian hair shaft and hair-to-sculpt color contrast. It is particularly important to understand the shape of the Asian hairline that is slightly wider and rounder, the differences in density and the differences in hair caliber. For hair transplants, the very thick, straight black hair against a paler skin background must be handled and placed at very low angles to appear natural. Choosing only the finest hairs for the hairline and creating very low angles allows Dr. Lam to create the most natural results for Asians.
- Hispanic Hair Transplant: Since “Hispanic” is a broad term and encompasses many types of individuals of Spanish descent, hair restoration in the Hispanic individual is more difficult to categorize and depends on what specific ethnic mix of each person. The hairline is further tailored to the individual’s facial shape and degree of hair loss. Select a plastic surgeon that considers the ethnic mix and will thoroughly explain the procedure in your preferred language.
- African Hair Transplant: Hair loss in the African community is very common in both men and women. For African hair transplants, the curlier black hair must be harvested with precision and placed in such a way that the hair matches the exit angles of the scalp. Hairline design must also conform to ethnic specifications, namely in men a straighter, less curved shape, than what would be commonly observed in other races. Cultural sensitivity and knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the African hair shaft is a prerequisite for safe hair restoration in the African patient.
- Middle Eastern Hair Transplant: Similar to Hispanic, Middle Eastern is a broad term and encompasses a range of countries including Iranian (Persian), Lebanese, Turkish, Israeli and many of the Arabic-speaking countries as well. Although these Middle Eastern countries are very diverse, there are certain common physical characteristics that unify them and help guide surgeons. The hair caliber tends to be thick, coarse and oftentimes dark, which mandates a strategy that is ethnically sensitive. Dr. Lam creates hairlines and density patterns that optimize naturalness and ethnic suitability by understanding how the head is shaped differently and how the hair shaft caliber differs in subtle, yet remarkable ways.
Dr. Samuel Lam is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and a board-certified hair restoration surgeon. He is the owner of the Willow Bend Wellness Center and has authored five major medical textbooks, over 150 book chapters and scientific papers as well as lecturing nationally and internationally with over 200 lectures to date. Dr. Lam has won numerous awards, including the 2002 John Orlando Roe Research Prize for his research on skin rejuvenation, and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. For more information, visit his website at http://www.lamfacialplastics.com/.