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When most people think of cosmetic surgery they think of Botox, facelifts and tummy tucks, but a great deal of cosmetic surgery is designed to address far more serious problems that affect people’s ability to simply look and feel healthy, particularly people who suffer from various types of alopecia and other ailments that cause major hair loss.

After personally experiencing a botched hair transplant surgery, Dr. Sanusi Umar decided to find ways to help others who suffered from major hair loss.

A certified dermatologist, Umar started his career as a surgeon in his native Nigeria. After coming to the U.S., he became a researcher in the field of infectious disease and won a fellowship and an invitation to present at the 1998 International AIDS Conference in Geneva, Switzerland and at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa in 2000. He returned to the U.S., completing a residency in dermatology in Los Angeles and currently is on the clinical faculty at UCLA.

When Umar began focusing on hair restoration, he focused his attention on finding alternatives to painful surgery and limitations of traditional treatments for hair replacement. He found that many alternative treatments were still in the developmental stages and were flawed, so he set to work designing a new, minimally invasive, transplant procedure.

It took two years, but Umar reached a breakthrough with his uGraft, a scapel-free, natural replacement, using body hair to conduct hair and eyebrow transplant. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, scarring and recovery time are minimized. The use of body hair also means the number of transplantable hairs is greatly increased and the hair follicles grow in a natural pattern from the first treatment.

“Traditional transplants rely on the available donor supply found on the back and sides of the head. In a good case, this would yield only 7,000-8,000 hairs,” Umar said in a statement. “A severely bald patient would have lost 50,000 hairs to become severely bald. Using only 7,000 hairs to do the job of 50,000 hairs is not a reasonable approach and when done, the result looks unacceptable. Using the uGraft technique that I developed, I am able to add hair from the beard and qualifying body hair to expand the available donor supply considerably, resulting in the credible restoration of these cases which are impossible to restore by any other method today.”

About 80 million adults in the U.S. suffer from hereditary hair loss. Hair grooming practices and disease conditions can result in hair loss, as well as breakage or loss of the hair root.

The first step, he said, is to determine the cause of the hair loss.

“The solution or treatment should target the cause as well as precipitating or aggravating factors. Solutions could range from the use of medications, surgery to changes in hair grooming practices, nutrition, lifestyles, etc.,” Umar said. “In severe cases of hereditary hair loss, credible restoration would require specialized hair transplant surgery that utilizes beard and body hair for a reasonable level of restoration.”

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