Health Check: NeoGraft hair transplant procedure

By Barbara Morse Silva

Anthony DeMedeiros has a bald spot.

But he's not as concerned about that as he is this:

"I'd say about maybe 10 years ago I started to notice the receding hairline," DeMedeiros said.

He tried topical solutions with no results. He considered hair transplantation, but an ugly thought came to mind.

"Oh, those plugs. Those plugs. No more plugs. Plugs are long dead," said Dr. Robert Leonard, chief surgeon of Leonard Hair Transplant Associates.

But because DeMedeiros likes to wear his hair very short, he wasn't keen on the traditional hair transplant.

"Well, the traditional transplant is one where we actually remove a strip of skin from the back of the head, and then I suture it up and at the end, there's a linear scar that's remaining," Leonard said.

It's a very effective method, but not for DeMedeiros.

He almost gave up until he heard about something new, NeoGraft, which is less invasive.

"People who want to wear their hair very short, that's an ideal population," Leonard said.

Here's how it works:

"It's a machine that automates the ability to remove individual follicular units from the back of the head. So, instead of removing any strip or scar, I'm removing individual hair groupings," Leonard said.

DeMedeiros had his first graft three weeks earlier.

"There are no visible signs of the transplant," Leonard said.

"It was amazing. The next day I had a mild rash," DeMedeiros said. "No scars. No scratches. It was just amazing."

DeMedeiros returned for a second treatment. Hair transplanted three weeks earlier is already taking root. But they will fall out, and hair will regrow in a few months.

But it's not enough hair, so Leonard, with the help of his new NeoGraft unit, is once again removing each hair follicle from the back of DeMedeiros's head. It's a tedious process that takes hours.

Leonard implants the individual hair follicles where they're needed to help fill in DeMedeiros's receding hairline.

"I don't expect any miracles, but in a sense it is. It's kind of cheating time a little bit," DeMedeiros said. "I'd just like to get back to where I was maybe 10 years ago."

NeoGraft is an FDA-approved device.

Leonard said DeMedeiros should see some results in about six months and full results within 12 to 18 months.

Leonard said NeoGraft isn't for everyone. If you're looking for more dense hair growth, the traditional way is better. But for those seeking a less invasive option -- and especially for those like DeMedeiros who like to wear their hair very short -- Leonard said it's a great option.

Leonard Hair Transplant Associates is the only place in Southern New England to offer NeoGraft.

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