New York — The technology of microscopes and magnification is often used to minimize damage to hair follicles when dissecting follicular units from donor strips for hair transplantation, and this approach is now being used to help preserve existing follicles in the recipient zone.
Resulting in shorter operating times and less transection of existing hair, allowing for greater density from the procedure, use of polarized light-emitting diodes (LEDs) offers advances in hair transplantation that benefit both the surgeon and patient. Based on the premise of polarized LED's effectiveness in treating broken blood vessels, Marc R. Avram, M.D., transferred the tool's clarifying ability onto hair graft and recipient site creation."Typically, creating recipient sites can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. With magnified polarized light, I'm able to reduce site-creation time by 25 percent to 40 percent," says Dr. Avram, clinical associate professor, department of dermatology, Weill Cornell Medical School, New York City.
Just as polarized sunglasses reduce glare, polarized LED magnification cuts surgical light's glare, allowing the surgeon to easily create recipient sites between existing hair follicles.
In those patients where medications such as minoxidil or finasteride are aiding in slowing or stopping hair loss, magnification in recipient sites can reduce transaction of existing hair follicles leading to maximum density, Dr. Avram tells Cosmetic Surgery Times.
"Existing hair that is viable long term can be unintentionally damaged when creating recipient sites. Polarized light allows us to go in between hair follicles at the right angle so as not to destroy them," says Dr. Avram, who is also in private practice in New York City. "In the end, the patient is not losing existing hair, allowing for a larger net gain."
In a recent study conducted by Dr. Avram, a 2X magnified polarized LED (Syris Scientific) was used in 75 consecutive male and female patients. Dr. Avram, along with four surgical assistants, evaluated the device for graft and recipient site creation and insertion of grafts. The results showed better visibility of follicular groupings between existing hair in the recipient zone, leading to quicker creation of recipient sites and the elimination of glare, leading to less eye strain for all members of the hair transplant team (Dermatol Surg 2005; 31:1124-1127).
"Additionally, the device does not give off any heat, leading to less desiccation of hair follicles and less discomfort for the patient," says Dr. Avram, who has used polarized LED magnification on his patients since its creation almost three years ago.
Enhancing today's technology
While the last decade has seen an evolution in hair transplantation, the challenge for the physician and his or her assistants to create and implant 800 to 1,500 grafts per session into natural-appearing hair can be daunting and time-consuming.
The polarized LED magnification device offers advancements that both surgeons and their patients can benefit from — although its application may come down simply to a matter of choice.
"The surgeon has to decide what they're most comfortable with — from needle choice to different instruments; (polarized LED) is just another option that's very affordable and easy to integrate into their practice," Dr. Avram says.
Currently in its prototype phase, polarized LED magnification is certain to be refined into a relied-upon tool due to its ability to lessen operating room time and increase hair density.
"The results (from hair transplantation) were very good before, but we're seeing better density as a result of polarized LED," Dr. Avram says. "The amount of time that we've saved and the ability to become more precise in making the recipient sites is aided tremendously due to this tool."