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Patients who are African-American or Afro-Caribbean often ask can transplants work for them and if so are there differences between hair for them and Caucasian hair. The answer to both is yes. Hair transplants are extremely effective for patients with black skin. I’ve done many, many, many transplants on these patients, and we get extremely good results, but it’s important to know two particular factors with African-American skin.
For example, the hair is curved. It’s like a C shape. So it’s important when you’re cutting the graft that you’re very careful at how you do that. Also, when you’re transplanting them and putting them in, you have to keep in mind that they can curl a little bit easier. So while one of the benefits is you get more coverage with less number of grafts, you’ve got to be more particular and more skilled at how you cut the grafts.
This also implies that it’s difficult to do this procedure on African-American patients with the FUE, where you’re cutting them out one at a time, because it’s often difficult to see that C-shaped curve. It’s possible, but very difficult. So you have to go to a very skilled surgeon for that, who’s got a lot of experience in dealing with African-American skin.
One of the other important variations to understand and appreciate is the ethnic differences in the hairline shape. For example, in Caucasian patients, you’re going to have much more deeper recession and that M pattern. It’s much more natural. For African-American patients, they often want it more straight across and there’s a sharper edge to the transplant in the hairline zone. So it’s important that you create the hairline that’s appropriate for the ethnic patient that you’re dealing with.