Photograph by Jim Prisching
Across the North Shore, as throughout the world, the issues of hair loss and balding are very prevalent ones. In the United States alone, approximately 35 million men and 21 million women suffer from hair loss, according to the Hair Loss Learning Center. Balding is a genetically programmed process that occurs simply because hair follicles begin to die as the body ages. Though medications exist to help slow the progression of balding, they do not serve to replace the hair that is lost.
Dr. Gregory Turowski, plastic surgeon and Medical Director of the New Horizons Center for Cosmetic Surgery, and his associates are excited about the new game-changing procedure to replace lost hair. Recently, the arrival of a groundbreaking machine known as NeoGraft has
revolutionized the way they, as well as a handful of other physicians in the nation, perform hair-transplant procedures.
Prior to the development of the revolutionary NeoGraft technique, hair transplantation traditionally involved the “strip method,” in which cosmetic surgeons cut a strip of the scalp from the back of the head, removed individual hair follicles from that strip, and then transplanted them on the top of the head. Though the procedure is effective and, until recently, was the gold standard in hair transplantation, the major drawback of the process is the visible, bold, permanent scar at the back of the head. Additionally, it involves staples and a prolonged recovery, and the elasticity of the scalp does not usually allow for the repeated procedures.
Now, the innovative NeoGraft machine makes it possible for Dr. Turowski and his team to simply drill out single hairs at the back of the head, which eliminates any need for cutting and stapling. Thus, the harvesting process is completed with ease and patients are left with no scar. A patient seeking to improve small balding areas such as the temples can be treated in about four hours, while those who desire a full-head procedure typically require a full day. Another benefit of the process is that it does not require general anesthesia, so patients are able to read and listen to music while the procedure is in progress. Because the NeoGraft process is so effective, the recovery time is fairly quick, and patients generally return to work and the gym within three to four days.
Aside from its efficiency, the NeoGraft method also has a few distinct advantages over the previous methods of hair transplantation. Because the procedure requires no cutting, patients can opt to use hair from their chest or beards. This is particularly beneficial to those whose balding is so severe that it’s difficult to extract a sufficient number of follicles from the back of the head—which is genetically the part of the scalp that retains the most hair. Hair follicles transplanted with the NeoGraft machine from the chest or the beard will actually change their characteristics to conform to the appearance of the rest of the scalp hair, yet will remain strong and intact.
Another benefit unique to the NeoGraft procedure is that it can actually cover up scars caused by previous strip methods, by strategically planting hair follicles near the scar. Moreover, patients can return for numerous NeoGraft treatments as they continue to bald on new areas of the head. With the previous strip method, patients could only receive treatments one or two times, because each resulted in a new scar.
While the NeoGraft procedure is relatively new in the United States, the machine has been utilized in Europe and South America for a number of years. Currently, there are a mere 20 machines in the United States, and New Horizons has the only Chicagoland-area machine. Yet, while the technology is new, the process of hair transplantation is not. At the New Horizons Center, the technicians who help doctors perform the procedure have years of experience in their field and have worked with countless patients. As a result, the outcome of hair transplantation is usually very successful with more than 90 percent graft take.
Dr. Turowski has already heard positive feedback from patients who have tried the new NeoGraft technology. Many of them had previous strip procedures and were excited about the prospect of a scarless treatment. One patient, a 20-year-old male who began balding at age 17, had already undergone two strips and was unable to receive any more. With the new procedure, however, he was pleased to discover that his body hair could be transplanted successfully and that it would not result in a new scar. As pioneering technology, the NeoGraft machine will essentially renew the world of hair transplantation. “There are only a few developments that happen every so often that ‘change the game,’” Dr. Turowski says. “This will be a game-changer.”
NeoGraft is only one addition to the full spectrum of cosmetic procedures offered at the New Horizons Center. With two board-certified plastic surgeons—Dr. Turowski (educated at Harvard and Yale) and Dr. Leonard Lu (with credentials from Brown and Northwestern)—patients can expect to receive the most innovative procedures in plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgery.
New Horizons Center for Cosmetic Surgery is located at 9843 Gross Point Road in Skokie. For more information, call 847-674-4646, or visit drturowski.com. —JENNA SCHUBERT