Is hair transplantation in African Americans different than in Caucasians? Are there any special considerations or concerns with African American patients?

Yes. The hair transplantation procedure is different for the African American patient compared to the Caucasian patient.

The main difference occurs in the process of dissecting the donor strip into the individual grafts.

In African Americans, most of these patients have very curled hair below the surface of the scalp. Therefore, the usual procedure of using straight blades to dissect the donor strip into follicular unit grafts must be altered and curved blades must be used in order to try and cause as minimal damage to the follicles as possible.

African Americans and patients of darker skin descent tend also to form keloid or hypotrophic scars more commonly than that of Caucasian patients.

A detailed history should be taken on any African American or dark skinned patient to determine if the patient has a history of keloid or abnormal scar formation. It is also possible to do a small test to determine if the patient does form keloids.

This test would be performed by taking a very tiny, approximately 1 mm x 3 mm piece of donor tissue, place a single or two individual sutures in the donor area as well as taking the small donor tissue, cutting it into three or four grafts and placing it into the recipient area.

We would then follow this patient for three to six months. At that time, we could determine from both the donor and recipient areas if the patient indeed does form any type of keloid scar or hypotrophic scar.

Posted by: Dr. Charles