Author Bio: Dr. Sanusi Umar MD is the author of this article.
This article was updated on October 11th, 2018. See updates at bottom of the page.
In the past, basic methods of hair transplant surgery had severe limitations, especially in FUE hair restoration for black African men. Strip surgeries often resulted in unnatural looking hairlines and had a high rate of complications, such as linear scarring. On the other hand, basic FUE hair transplants utilize round-tipped rotary punches to score around the hair follicle in order to free it from its attachments. Unfortunately, this design has a downside: these tools can only extract straight or slightly wavy hairs with a high degree of reliability. Transplanting tightly curled hairs with these basic follicular unit extraction methods causes damage and breakage to the graft, making it unusable. This limitation of basic FUE applies to virtually all FUE hair transplant tools currently available at the time of writing this article, and that includes robotic FUE and all commercially available FUE tools.
Because of this limitation of basic FUE methods and their reliance on rotary punches, hair transplant for curly haired individuals can pose issues to surgeons. Doctors often deem the majority of patients who possess tightly curled hairs as poor candidates for FUE for this reason. This can come as a major source of disappointment for this major demographic group, especially black men who often prefer to keep their hair short. This also ranks men of African heritage as the worst candidates for strip surgery. Strip surgery leaves a linear scar that would be difficult to conceal with a short haircut. Still, the limitations of basic FUE often force men with tightly curled hair to resort to this outdated form of hair restoration. Thanks to Dr. Umar’s latest invention, the Dr. UPunch Curl addition to his Dr.UGraft advanced FUE system, this major impediment of FUE hair transplantation is now a thing of the past. FUE Hair restoration for African-American men has entered a new era of effectiveness.
Tightly Curled Follicles and Hair Restoration for Black African Men – Who is Affected?
Most patients with tightly curled hair are of African heritage. They have what dermatologists call Afro-textured hair. This hair type has distinct differences from wavy hair found in some Caucasians, Asians, Middle Easterners, and people of mixed heritage. Afro-textured hair, by contrast, is tightly curled exhibiting a phenomenon called “torsion twist”. This makes black hair restoration particularly challenging for basic methods of FUE. The diagram below illustrates the physical differences:
Why is Afro-Textured Hair Difficult to Extract Using Basic FUE Tools?
FUE devices that utilize rotary punches (e.g. Neograft, Artas Robot, Cole FUE devices, Harris’s SAFE and all other FUE tools currently in popular use) achieve scoring by a rotary and transverse cutting action around the follicle. In simpler terms, this means the punch must navigate the curve of the hair follicle inside the skin. For this reason, with basic FUE tools which use rotary punches consistent success occurs only with straight or loosely wavy hair follicles. Dr. Umar has observed that factors responsible for the difficulty in Afro-textured hair FUE include:
- Tightness of the curl
- Skin thickness
- Hair follicle connective tissue sheath to outer root sheath connection
Because of these factors, an African-haired patient going to clinics using rotary punch can at best hope for a 30-40% chance that the rotary based tool is capable of successfully working their FUE.
What Dr. U Used Prior To Inventing The Dr.UPunch Curl For African Hair FUE?
In the past, Dr. Umar has achieved a measure of success in a good percentage of patients with Afro-textured hair. That includes cases that have failed past attempts at FUE using other devices. Prior to his latest invention, Dr. U found success using his uniquely designed rotary punch shown below. However, even with this improvement over other basic FUE, Dr.UPunch i was still a rotary punch and incapable of universal success.
Enter Dr.UPUnch Curl For Universal FUE Success In Black Hair
Because of the limitations of rotary punches with regards to FUE in most black patients, Dr. Umar set about researching new devices and ways of performing FUE in Afro-textured haired individuals. Indeed, experts often consider this vexing issue the last frontier of FUE hair transplantation. His work culminated in the invention of a brand new way of performing FUE which does not involve any rotary motion. Rather, this new component of the Dr.UGraft method requires only a plunging action to have an effect. This addition to the Dr. UGraft system is called the Dr.UPunch Curl. The following schematic demonstrates how the new non-rotary Dr.UPunch Curl invention works. The punch is engineered to navigate the course of the curled hair under the skin without transecting it.
Dr. U recently published a study in which he compared the performance of rotary punches with the new Dr UPunch Curl in performing FUE in black African hair type. The study which was published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Online publication compared the performance of these tools in 18 patients. In the study, the Dr.UPunch Curl was successful 100% of the time. It was successful in all cases where the rotary punches performed dismally.
FUE Hair Transplant for Black African Men Using Dr. UGraft – Dr.UPunch Curl for All Tightly Curled Hair: The Process
FUE Hair Restoration for Black African Men Before and After Using Dr.UPunch Curl (Case Sample #1)
Video – African American Hair Restoration Using Dr.UGraft
This case of African American male hair loss treatment is depicted in a self-explanatory video below:
African American hair transplant before and after Dr U Punch Curl (Case Sample #2)
VIDEO: African American Hair Transplant Repair Before and After Dr.UPunch Curl
A patient who had an unsuccessful FUE transplant at another clinic finds hope in Dr.UPunch Curl:
Update October 2018: New Iterations of Dr.U’s FUE Technology for Afro-Textured Hair Transplant Extractions
Dr.U’s devices for successful hair transplant results in black patients have undergone new developments in the direction of healthier, more viable grafts and even greater ease-of-use for surgical providers.
The Nurture ™ Handpiece Offers Fluid Delivery for the Dr.UPunch i ™
The highly intelligent, self-navigating Dr.UPunch i™ makes the impossible possible through features that enable safe extractions for all types of follicles, including Afro-textured hair. When used with the Dr.UGraft Nurture ™ handpiece attachment, it offers a controlled drip-fluid delivery system that hydrates the grafts as they are being extracted. Wetter, more hydrated grafts are bulkier. They are also more protected from the damaging forces of evaporation, the leading factor of follicular death and poor growth yield.
At the same time, the fluid also lubricates the inner curved surface of the punch, helping the follicle ascend into the punch lumen more easily. Additionally, the lubrication protects the sharp edge of the punch from dulling over time through repeated use.
Dr.UPunch Curl™ Version 2.0 Offers Better Speed and Improved Ease-of-Use
Some African-American patient cases are more challenging due to the likelihood of higher transection rates. However, they can benefit from the Dr.UPunch Curl™ which offers more specialized features for overcoming graft damage and injuries to enable successful growth in the end.
Dr.U has further improved upon the capabilities of this device with his 2.0 version. The newer evolution of the Dr.UPunch Curl ™ includes sharper blades which create smaller incisions for better user-friendliness and improved wound healing results.
Practitioners can now perform extractions on more difficult patient cases with far greater ease, especially when it comes to separating grafts from stronger tissue attachments.
The Dr.UPunch i™ paired with the Dr.UGraft Nurture™, along with the Dr.UPunch Curl ™ provide surgeons with reliable tools for addressing all difficulty levels of black hair transplant cases.
Frequently Asked Questions – Hair Restoration for Black African Men
Can the Dr.UPunch Curl Afro FUE hair transplant procedure work for all men of African descent?
Typically yes: The Dr.UPunch Curl uses an unconventional non-rotary method of extraction. Unlike conventional rotation based punches, grafts from even the most tightly wound hair can be extracted successfully by FUE. Patients can thus avoid requiring a strip surgery and the dreaded linear scar that is very unsuitable for black patients who prefer to keep shorter haircuts. This factor makes Dr.UGraft with its Dr. UPunch Curl component the best method of hair transplant in Afro hair.
If someone has undergone previous black hair restoration procedures with unsatisfying results, is he still eligible for transplant with the Dr.UGraft method?
Yes. Most clinics fail because they lack the proper tools to extract intact survivable hair from African hair types because of their curliness. Dr. Umar invented the first ever tool for successfully extracting intact hair grafts from all patients with tightly curled hair. This dramatically increases the likelihood that where others have failed, Dr. Umar would succeed by virtue of this tool as well as his vast expertise in performing FUE hair transplants in this demographic.
How much does black hair transplant cost?
Cost of the procedure depends upon the number of grafts required to complete African American hair restoration. In that way, the price of black FUE hair transplant varies from patient to patient. Interested patients should contact Dr. Umar for a free consultation.
Don’t see your question about black hair restoration answered above? Use this button to submit your inquiry to Dr. Umar:
- A Video on Dr. Umar’s innovations in hair transplant with the Dr.UGraft.
- A New York Times article on the Dr.UGraft treatment
- Understanding the Dr.UGraft method