Laser hair restoration is considered to be a state-of-art technique by some surgeons with its own advantages and disadvantages. Laser hair restoration was first introduced in the 1990s to try to increase the technology of transplanting hair to a new level and to help speed up the hair restoration procedure. In laser hair restoration, a carbon dioxide laser (sometimes a YAG laser is used but most surgeons conducting laser hair restoration use a carbon dioxide laser) issuing short high-power pulses creates openings for hair grafts with less bleeding and thermal damage than a traditional steel punch.
Laser hair restoration was claimed to be painless and bloodless, but later this claim was found to be misleading. In fact, some research studies found laser hair restoration reduced the survival success rate of transplanted hair follicles by as much as forty-percent. This was caused by a lack of blood flow to the new graft after being implanted into the laser created aperture. The laser hair beam actually cauterized the area, stopping the blood flow that a brand new graft needed to survive. Laser hair restoration is painful unless local anesthesia is given to fully numb the area prior to its use. Laser hair restoration minimizes the most important physiological consideration determining the success of the transplant, namely oxygenation. The laser hair restoration process should be aimed at maximizing blood flow to the implanted hair follicles, rather than reducing it and any manipulation that compromises proper oxygenation will potentially compromise graft survival.
One recent laser hair restoration research study showed that in order for the grafts to get to the ninety five percent or more survival rate attained with the more traditional steel punch or scalpel incision methods of transplantation, the physician needed to go back into the same aperture that was just made with a laser. It seems that the best way to make the smallest non-detectable slit or aperture in the beginning is without a laser. The tried and true way, using certain blade like instruments, is still the best method since it allows transplanted grafts to immediately receive the nourishment of blood supply and heal with the highest survival rate and the most undetectable appearance.
Lasers are a great and brilliant tool of this modern era for all kinds of diverse procedures. In general though they are not a popular tool for hair restoration selling. Some clinics may be using laser hair restoration surgery as a marketing gimmick, a selling point, just to get patients in the door and be made to think they are getting the best type of procedure available. As laser technology improves, laser sites become smaller, and the setback of thermal damage is sufficiently addressed, the advantage of rapidly producing large numbers of uniform sites will make the laser a more valuable tool for hair restoration surgery.