Have you ever seen an electrolysis hair transplant repair? Part 4 of the hair transplant documentary series highlighting Dr. Jerry Cooley of Hair Center in Charlotte, North Carolina is now live.
In my career I have had the question presented probably a hundred times if not more. I would be sitting there with the patient, or on the phone if they were from out of the country, and talking to them about their hair transplant repair. It would be the same thing, over and over; a hairline that was so badly transplanted from another clinic that a simple hair transplant would not be the best way to fix the problem. The best way to fix the problem would be to remove the offending grafts in some manner because the previous graft work would overpower any new grafting that could be done, by anyone. Sometimes moving backward is the best way to move forward but the question would always be about the options for removing the bad grafts. There are currently four ways to do this.
The "brow lift". This is a procedure that has various approaches depending on the specific goal but in the context of hair transplanted hairline repair this variation is the most common. A brow lift is when the hairline is literally cut out, just like a donor strip from the back of the scalp but in this case it is done in the hairline. Cut it out, stitch it up and done. This method is actually the best way to correct an old hairline but it is the move invasive and of course the most dramatic. Every time I'd explain this option to patients they were saying "nope" before their eyes would return to normal size. To be honest, the result donor scar from this procedure has been far smaller than any donor zone scar I've ever seen.
2. FUE. This is a common procedure now but the problem is that you are trading bad graft work, and the scars it creates for more scar tissue. In many cases these scars are not visible or they are barely visible and it seems to be the preferred method in practice.
3. Laser. This works too but the problem here is that the hair needs to be darker and straighter as it is this kind of hair that is most easily affected by laser light and the wavelengths they operate in. The upside is there is no additional scarring if done correctly and it is usually permanent after a few sessions.
Electrolysis Hair Transplant Repair?
4. Finally, there is electrolysis hair transplant repair. This to me is the most effective method as it is not as limited by hair color and hair type as laser hair removal is and it too is essentially a cosmetically scarless procedure if performed correctly. Be warned, in the wrong hands electrolysis hair transplant repair can lead to quite bad scarring and even dermal atrophy. Performed correctly however electrolysis hair transplant repair is a permanent procedure that can really free up the patient and the doctor to have a more natural hairline (assuming better transplant methods and artistry are performed) and a faster final result.
The problem with laser and electrolysis however is that in the past I'd never be able to offer it so my suggestions were, admittedly, academic at best because the only thing my former employers could offer was the brow lift option. Considering the initial reaction and usual denial of the procedure by patients they were usually left with the option of going elsewhere for the correction or to allow the doctors to simply carpet bomb the hairline with the idea that some improvement was better than no improvement. This always bugged me but it was the limitation of my existence at the time.
When asked about these non-surgical options however the subject would turn to that of convenience. Can electrolysis or laser be performed at the same time as the surgery, or on the same day? I didn't really see why not but the common sense and safe answer was to have the procedure done first and let the area recover because surgery should be attempted to rebuild and repair the hairline. I still stand by that kind of approach as being valid but with what I saw at Dr. Cooley's office, the alternative is just as valid as well.
In this video the patient has finished his FUE extractions by Dr. Cooley and his assistant Brandi but before the recipient site insicions are to be made the offending grafts have to be zapped out. It was fascinating to watch how this is done. Once the needle was inserted and the jolt was delivered the hairs would just slide out with nearly no resistance, indicating that the follicles were dead and would no longer contribute to the patient's unnatural looking appearance. This paved the way for Dr. Cooley to work his magic and give the patient the hairline he originally hoped to have.
As a side note, I contacted the patient for a follow up call since he is now six months post-op at the time of this writing and he reports that his hair is growing great and he's very happy overall. I hope to add some footage of his results at the one year mark.