In 1989, Dr Ray Woods saw the horrific results of hair transplant surgery. Doctors were taking large clumps of hair from the back of the head and placing it into the scalp which caused a horrible, often disfiguring and “pluggy” look.<./p>
In approximately 1988, doctor’s realised that taking large plugs rapidly destroyed the donor area. They then decided that cutting a strip was a more efficient way of harvesting grafts.
Dr Woods understood and realised that this was just the better of two evils.
Dr Woods encountered young men whose lives were destroyed by both techniques, their relationships, job opportunities and self-esteem were decimated. Young, fit and healthy men, were living their lives under a baseball cap to hide the scars and unnatural results.
He decided that individual 0.5mm-1mm Grafts must be removed via micro surgical techniques and proprioceptive skills and finely tuned micro surgical instrumentation.
Dr Woods was ridiculed for this idea, as senior Doctors in the field internationally claimed that the transection rate, that is, cutting through follicles, would be so high as to render this approach futile as so many grafts would be damaged and therefore, there would be very little yield.
The reason being as all doctors, anatomists, and histologists in the world understood, as clearly demonstrated in all findings, that the follicles bend and twist under the skin in three dimensions like bananas. And the follicles decended to varying depths. The bulb depth could vary by several millimetres. Therefore the only way to harvest WAS TO TAKE A LARGE “BUNCH” (hence the Strip Excision method.) Refer to Figures A, B, C, D, E, F and H.
Dr Woods disagreed and challenged the paradigm, spending many years of hard work, practice, development ,understanding and perfecting the art of perceiving the angle and DEPTH of each and every follicle. This was particularly difficult as once an incision is made we are working at a level of tenths of a millimeter in the excisional perimeter, and following the pattern of which way the follicle is actually bending, in 3 dimensions. High power magnification is essential, but there are stages where it is “blind” and “feel” alone guides you. Refer Fig E
Although this was a great achievement in itself, providing enough follicles to provide a cosmetic result was the next challenge and took many years to perfect.
As all medical critics stated in the 1990’s, a small punch drill mechanism is impossible to achieve a result, because follicles are not naturally placed as “matches in a match box”, see Fig H, and hence could not be removed by small punches, see Fig F, without massive transection and destruction rates. And that is why no one world wide attempted FUE for 15 YEARS after Dr Woods, and then only did so due to enormous public pressure and demand. Interestingly, they STILL offered and mainly performed Strip Excision surgery (FUT). By offering FUE, they got patients in, and then convinced them that they were not candidates, using the old “bait and switch” selling technique. Or, a “test patch, or trial” would be performed, and then stating that only FUT was a viable option.
They refused to believe that Dr Woods was working his way around the follicle using “feel” and high-powered magnification. Gradually he achieved large numbers to give significant hair transplantation outcomes and the most natural and perfect results ever seen in the World.
In addition, Dr Woods new technique avoided the horrific scarring and irreversible loss of follicles in the donor areas seen in “standard” surgeries.
In 1998, Dr Woods encountered patients who had horrific damage to the donor areas (back of head) and still had significant baldness, unsightly plugs and scarring on top of the head. There was nothing anyone could do, as they had no or insufficient donor hair to repair the damage.
Dr Woods was suddenly struck with the idea that in cases of absolute desperation and disfigurement, chest hair could be used to infill scars on the hairline and throughout the frontal/crown region.
The idea was that although it would not be like “donor Hair”, if kept short, the scars could be concealed and camouflaged. This was in 1998, and the beginning of what is now known as body hair transplant, or BHT, conceived, invented and perfected by Dr Ray Woods.
This new discovery was so revolutionary, it was beyond belief of the international medical community. Dr Woods was continually ridiculed for his avante garde techniques. Despite not only having developed a highly successful alternative to the outdated and destructive Hair Transplant methods ie strip, plugs, scalp flaps etc, he had also now developed a new technique to repair those whom had been scarred and left without adequate donor hair, using micro skin grafting and BHT. Doctors who caused the most damage some how also held key and influential positions in the various organisations representing the industry. The foxes were guarding the hen house indeed, as often happens in politics etc. They sought to put an end to Dr Woods and FUE. But unexpectedly, in 2003, millions of people in the USA and around the world witnessed The BHT/FUE technique on the “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” program.
It must be stressed that the removal of body hair, where the follicles are even more “bendy” and three dimensional than donor hair, that there is no magic trick or formula. The process requires hard work, determination, patience and the single-minded effort to achieve this goal without unnecessarily destroying or transecting follicles, which the patient may need in the future.
It has been shown that body hair placed on the head may grow longer when transplanted on the scalp. Dr wood’s discovery was published in the British Journal of Plastic Surgery in 2004.
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