New hair transplant procedure makes plugs obsolete

When it comes to men and hair loss, we have long heard the phrase “bald is beautiful.” Not so much when it comes to women.

Although baldness is not as common in women as in men, the psychological effects tend to be much greater.

In Goshen, a new technique is being used to give a local woman back her once triumphant head of hair, and this is a far cry from the old fashion plugs.

Judith Goodkin is originally from South Bend but traveled from her new home in Toronto to take care of a frustrating problem with hair loss that she's been dealing with for years.

“Hair for women is a kind of very sexy, society accepted thing and lots of women my age are suffering from thinning hair,” says Goodkin.

In fact, women make up 40 percent of American hair loss sufferers, generally noticing it in their 40's and 50's. That's why Goodkin goes to Peers Cosmetics in Goshen where Dr. Chris Peers says hair transplantation has drastically changed.

Dr. Peers says, “We all remember the doll hair look of hair plugs, and to this day, people still think hair transplant is plugs.”

Dr. Peers went to Los Angeles for training on a procedure called Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation. He says many Hollywood stars are using it as a preventative measure and it has made plugs obsolete.

“We now transplant one hair at a time,” says Dr. Peers.

Needing just a local anesthetic, Dr. Peers removes a small strip of hair from the back of Goodkin’s head, which is hidden now by her own hair. Next, his assistants, Vida and Tatiana, painstakingly spend hours separating each hair.

Tatiana explains, “What I do is I trim those slivers separating them into one follicular unit, two, and three.”

“It's natural, the appearance is indistinguishable from our own natural hair,” says Dr. Peers.

Goodkin will go through this process for roughly eight hours, but brings a book for reading. She says getting that first strip of hair removed was, “I slept through it. That was the only portion that I was worried about. I napped.”

With enough hair follicles separated, Dr. Peers and Tatiana numb the area on Goodkin’s head where they will be working.

All numb, Dr. Peers and Tatiana start Goodkin’s transplant, inserting the hair in the angle it would normally grow and making incisions with a tiny pin-like tool. Over the next year her hair should grow in fully.

Goodkin is tired of dealing with extensions and hair powder and says she is not splitting hairs on the length of time it will take to grow.

She says, “I plan on remaining in the competitive working world for at least another five years, so three months, six months is certainly not a major portion of that.”

For now she says she will sport some great hats, but soon she will be saying goodbye to bad hair days forever.
Dr. Peers is the only doctor in the area performing this procedure, which he says also works very well on men. He says while Propecia and Rogaine can slow down hair loss, they will not grow your hair back.

The cost depends on the area being filled. In Goodkin’s case, the cost was about $4,500. Dr. Peers says the failure rate is very low and the hair will continue to grow for the rest of your life.

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