Is Hair Restoration Artistic?
Published on December 31, 2011 by Sam Lam
Is hair restoration an artistic endeavor? Or in fact is it simply a rudimentary technical procedure in which hair is placed into the head and only the sheer number of grafts count? I will explain in a point-by-point manner why hair restoration is truly artistic in my opinion, focusing on three major elements: macro hairline design, micro hairline design, and recipient site creation/graft distribution.
Artistry in hair restoration requires good judgment when designing hairlines and making recipient sites.
- Macro hairline design – Macro hairline design refers to creating the overall shape and position of the hairline, i.e., what is initially drawn on the head as a template upon which the micro elements of the hairline (see below) will be fashioned. Every surgeon making a hairline will create a slightly if not significantly different hairline based on experience as well as artistic interpretation. When I design a hairline, I am always looking at how that hairline shape would best match a facial shape, ethnicity, and gender. I also make sure that it will age well for someone. Every hairline I design I consider a work of art to make it not only look seamlessly natural but also wonderfully shaped to match a patient’s head to the best of my ability.
- Micro hairline design – The micro hairline refers to the recipient sites that go into the general hairline. When designing the individual sites, it is important that the hairline look natural from a distance but also even close up. I really spend an inordinate amount of time during the procedure looking at my work from multiple angles to ensure that my hairlines look as natural as possible. I really consider the micro hairline the final expression of my artistic design for the macro hairline.
- Recipient site creation and graft distribution – To me the recipient site creation is one of the ultimate expressions of one’s artistry controlled down to the very site angle and distribution. After I am done making my sites, I sit back for a minute, take a deep breath, and enjoy the glory of my creation. I simply love seeing my sites before the grafts go into them because they are a work of art. That is why I have so many photos and videos showing my recipient sites. I consider showing you my sites is like showing the seams of a handmade suit so that you can see the quality that goes into the production. I love blending in the technical and the artistic elements. When I attain a number of grafts for a given size given to me by my assistants from their graft preparation (e.g., 600 2 hair grafts, 500 3 hair grafts, etc.), I like to sit down and figure out how best I am going to allocate those grafts in a creative way for optimal effect for a patient. In fact, after I have created my work I always make a color-coded guide for my staff to know how to place the grafts but also so I have a written record of my distribution so when I see a patient come in with the grafts growing in nicely I can remember w hat I did.
Samuel M. Lam, MD, FACS, a board certified hair transplant surgeon in Dallas, Texas. To schedule a hair transplant consultation please call 1-888-866-3388, or visit hairtx.com for more info. To ask Dr Lam a question please visit our hair transplant forum.