October 30, 2009
A Hairy Situation
Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2009
When Nobuyuki Sakai saw the picture his young daughter had drawn, he couldn’t help but feel depressed. It looked like an accurate representation of an octopus. The only problem was, the drawing was supposed to be of him.
Sakai’s hair had been thinning since his late 20s, and by his late 30s there wasn’t a whole lot left on top. The young father was embarrassed to go to the Parents’ Day events at his girl’s school, where he stood out among the much younger-looking dads.
“When I look at the other fathers, they’re all so young with heads full of thick black hair,” he says with a laugh. “I think my daughter also felt that her dad was a little different from the other dads. I said to her, ‘Next time I’ll be there too,’ but she said, ‘That’s okay, you don’t have to come.’ And that really made me feel down.”
One day, Sakai saw an ad in the newspaper about a hair transplant procedure conducted by the doctors at i-Land Tower Clinic in Shinjuku. The specialists at the clinic could actually transplant the patient’s own hair from the sides and the back of his head to the problem areas. Sakai went in for a consultation, and three weeks later he underwent the clinic’s Direct Technique, an unintrusive procedure where doctors remove individual hairs and transplant them. Seven months later, the transplants had taken root. The hair looked natural because, quite simply, it was his own.
The procedure boasts a 95 to 98 percent success rate in terms of the number of hairs that take root. The equipment itself has also been given FDA approval in the US, an extremely rare achievement within the hair replacement industry.
Koichi Inoue (top left), one of the doctors at i-Land Tower Clinic, describes how they combine specially designed transplant equipment with their Direct Technique to create a truly unique process. The doctors at the clinic work daily to develop both the tools and the procedure, and further improve what has already proven to be a reliable, safe and effective method.
“A tube punch with a 0.8mm diameter rotates and cuts around the hair, then pulls the hair and the scalp upwards, using air pressure to create suction,” Dr. Inoue explains. “This makes it possible to instantly remove the healthy hair, the bulb and the follicle.”
The hair is then implanted into the scalp, and six to eight months later, it takes root naturally in its new position, growing and graying along with the other hairs. The only difference is that hairs from the sides and back of the head are programmed to reject the action of the male hormones which cause balding.
The Direct Technique is a one-off procedure which does not need to be repeated once all the grafts are made. i-Land Tower Clinic has also reduced the diameter of its original tubes to about 0.65mm, which means that patients with extremely short haircuts don’t have to worry about any visible scarring from the operation.
Dr. Inoue stresses that the clinic’s doctors take into account the minimum operation required to give each patient a healthy head of hair. “There is a limit to the amount of hair you can take from the back of the head,” he says. And while the doctors at i-Land Tower are just that—medical specialists in their field—they are also hairline designers who know how a poor understanding of natural hairline aesthetics can destroy an otherwise technically correct procedure.
Since starting business six years ago, i-Land Tower Clinic has had over 5,000 Direct Technique patients pass through its doors—a concrete testament to the effectiveness of its procedures, the skill of its doctors, and the satisfaction of its patients.
5F Shinjuku i-Land Tower, 6-5-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 0120-43-1082. Open daily 10am-7pm. Nearest stn: Nishi-Shinjuku. Email: email@example.com. www.ilandtower-cl.com/en