New device helps women dealing with baldness

LOS ANGELES Women work hard to get a great hairstyle, but years of coloring, blow drying and ironing thinned out Amira Hashim's hairline. The final straw was chemical straightening.

"That really damaged my hair. It made it very thin and very dry," said Hashim. "That is when I noticed that my hair just changed."

"So as a result women are seeking hair transplantation," said Dr. Nicolas Nikolav.

While most hair transplant patients have been men, Dr. Nikolav says about one out of five patients he sees are women. Hashim wanted a procedure that produced results as natural as possible.

That requires doctors to harvest and transplant hair follicles in small units.

"The advantage is this technique is that we're not taking a strip of scalp," said Dr. Nikolav.

But it's painstaking work. Dr. Nikolav uses the NeoGraft device. The suction instrument uses a slight rotation to loosen follicles and remove them. In Hashim's case, extracted roots from the back of head and transplanted them to her hairline.

The device can cut the extraction process in half. Even so, it can take from five hours to 14 hours depending on how many grafts are involved.

"This procedure requires no anesthesia," said Dr. Nikolav. "It is much more comfortable for the patient before and after."

We caught up with Hashim a month later. After two procedures, she's had about 1,100 follicles transplanted. Her hairline is already filling in.

"My back part is already growing and there is absolutely no scar," said Hashim. "The whole procedure has been completely painless. I'm just really excited for the end result. I wish I could fast forward."

The cost of this procedure varies depending on the amount of grafts. But in Hashim's case, the cost of her two treatments was about $11,000. For just one treatment, the cost is about $7,000. And in most cases, insurance doesn't cover the procedure.

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