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Experience Makes the Difference at The Griffin Center

There are many different options available to those seeking hair restoration treatment, and nearly as many medical providers willing to supply them.  What makes The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research different is our skill, experience, and teamwork.  The Griffin Center has been a leader in the field of hair restoration since its inception in 1976 and those years of experience have allowed us to develop the skills and techniques to provide our patients with exceptional, natural-looking results time and time again.

griffin center atlanta hair restorationThe Griffin Center is led by its founder, world-renowned board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon Dr. Edmond I. Griffin.  For nearly forty years, Dr. Griffin has specialized in hair restoration surgery and has long been considered a leading expert in the field.  When other hair transplant surgeons from across North America were surveyed as to who they would want to perform their own hair restoration surgery, Dr. Griffin was among the top five surgeons selected.  Surgeons regularly visit from across North America and overseas to observe Dr. Griffin’s hair restoration techniques.  In addition to training others, Dr. Griffin has lectured at international meetings and conferences and has worked individually with many of the most distinguished hair restoration experts from around the world.

Joining the Griffin Center three years ago, Dr. Ashley R. Curtis is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon specializing in the complex intricacies of women’s hair loss.  Dr. Curtis has had the opportunity to refine and perfect her surgical technique while working directly under Dr. Griffin, and has been published extensively in a number of peer reviewed medical journals.  Her talent and dedication are matched only by her commitment to the ideals of education and community outreach.  She has volunteered extensively at both Northside Hospital and the Wake Forest Dermatology Department conducting public skin cancer screenings and been invited to contribute to several on line message boards, where she makes her extensive knowledge available to the general public.

But one of the greatest strengths of The Griffin Center is its highly trained and experienced staff of medical technicians.  During follicular unit grafting, the sample of donor tissue taken from the back of the scalp needs to be dissected into individual follicular units before these units can be transplanted onto thinning areas.  Many hair restoration treatment centers leave this task in the hands of inexperienced technicians, who risk damaging many of the harvested hair follicles during the dissection process.  Our technicians at The Griffin Center have been operating under the direct supervision of Dr. Griffin for nearly twenty years, and in some cases even longer.  They carefully dissect the individual follicular units under microscopic magnification, following the natural cell divisions and preserving a far greater number of hair follicles.  This means that more viable grafts can be created from a smaller amount of tissue or, simply put, that we can achieve greater, more natural-looking coverage with significantly less visual scarring.

The Griffin Center is dedicated to helping every patient determine which procedure is best suited to their individual needs and lifestyle.  That’s why we use the latest technological innovations, like NeoGraft® automated follicular unit extraction, LaserCap™ Red Light Therapy, or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments with and without Acell, and work with our patients to prevent hair loss by formulating custom designed prescription compounds.  Every consultation always begins with accessing your hair loss prevention program.   If you have questions about the causes of hair loss and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ . If you are interested in discussing hair loss or hair restoration options, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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Which Hair Restoration Procedure is Best for You?

Here at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we offer two different methods of surgical hair restoration: traditional follicular unit grafting and the newer follicular unit extraction with NeoGraft®.  While both can achieve excellent, natural-looking hair restoration results, they each offer different distinctive advantages that can be matched to specific patient needs.

the griffin centerDuring follicular unit grafting, a long, thin strip of hair follicles is surgically removed from the back of the scalp.  This strip is then carefully dissected under a microscope into discrete follicular units (which naturally consist of one to four hair follicles) that can then be transplanted to thinning or balding areas of the scalp.  While this linear scar can be covered by the hair on the back of the head, patients who prefer to wear their hair extremely short often seek a different option.  However, nearly forty years of practical experience has allowed Dr. Edmond Griffin to significantly refine this technique.  Our highly skilled technicians are exceptionally efficient in dissecting the strip, so that more viable follicular units can be harvested from a much thinner section of scalp.  Removing a thinner section of scalp allows us to keep scars far neater, thinner, and less noticeable.

Follicular Unit Extraction attempts to avoid the scarring issue by removing the follicular units one by one rather than in a single, long strip.  While this does not leave a single linear scar, it does create numerous tiny round scars dispersed throughout the donor area, but these are more easily concealed with shorter hairstyles.  Removing the individual follicular units by hand, however, can be an extremely tedious and labor intensive process, requiring long hours of extremely fine work.  Moreover, individual manual extraction has a much higher chance of damaging the delicate hair follicles, either through transection or trauma caused by the forceps used during the procedure.  The NeoGraft® automated system assists our surgeon, speeding the process so that it can be done in roughly the same amount of time as a traditional “strip” hair transplant.  In addition, NeoGraft® uses pneumatic pressure to extract the follicles and precisely implant them, eliminating the need for forceps and leaving the follicles in a more robust state.  However, regardless of the method used to harvest the individual follicular units, these follicles must still be implanted into the thinning areas of the scalp by hand, and it is the skill and experience of our surgeons that allows us to achieve the best, most natural looking results.

Every patient is unique, and so it is important that you consult with an experienced specialist in hair restoration, like Dr. Edmond Griffin or Dr. Ashley Curtis, in order to determine which procedure is best suited to your particular needs and lifestyle.  If you have questions about the causes of hair loss and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ . If you are interested in discussing hair loss or hair restoration options, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 Blog, Educational, Hair Restoration No Comments

The Five Most Irritating Things about Hair

At The Griffin Center for Hair Restoration and Research, we specialize in providing natural-looking hair restoration solutions to our patients, but we are also keenly interested in educating people about how to keep hair healthy.   Here is a list of some of the most common complaints people have about their hair, along with a few tips to avoid them.

The Five Most Irritating Things about HairNumber One: Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs are hairs that have curled around and grown back into the skin, irritating it and producing a raised, red bump that looks like a little pimple.  While they are generally not serious, they can, in some cases, form a painful, boil-like sore or even become infected.  Ingrown hairs tend to occur after hair removal, as new hair has a sharper edge and can more easily poke back through the skin and become trapped under the surface.  This is more of a recurring problem in certain ethnicities who have coarse curly hairs and with certain hair removal techniques, such as waxing.  Laser hair removal is a great solution for patients who get ingrown hairs in the bikini area, underarms, and/or beard area.  In addition, gentle exfoliation a few times per week can be helpful and topical antibiotics or alpha/beta hydroxy acid washes can be prescribed to help combat the problem.

Number Two: Cowlicks

A cowlick is a section of hair that stands straight up or grows in a different direction than the hair around it.  They occur when hair grows in a spiral pattern and are most apparent in the crown, although they can show up anywhere, in both men and women.  Cowlicks are often more obvious in straight, thick hair as the scalp may be visible in the center of the whorl.  For most people, a combination of the right hairstyle, length, styling products, and styling technique can minimize the problem. We specifically recommend allowing the cowlick to grow long so that it can more easily be pulled over or jelled into control using a styling gel like Redken’s Contour 8.

Number Three: Dry, Brittle, and Frizzy Hair

When the hair becomes dry and brittle, it loses its sheen and can appear frizzy, lifeless, and dull.  Dry hair, which can affect men and women of any age, can be caused by a variety of factors, including environmental conditions (sun, wind, and excessively dry or humid air), chlorinated pools, and personal hair care habits (such as overdrying with hot tools, using drying shampoos, or over brushing with a hard plastic comb which frays the hair strands.  Additionally some health conditions, such as anorexia nervosa, vitamin deficiencies, and thyroid imbalances, can cause dry, brittle hair.  Always protect your hair before going outdoors, particularly if you live in a dry, humidity-free climate.  Wear a hat to avoid long-term exposure to dry or windy air and wear a cap when swimming in the pool or ocean, since salt water and chlorine can easily damage your hair. Avoid excessive heat when styling, spread coloring and chemical relaxing treatments out by at least 6 weeks, use dimethicone containing serums on dry hair to protect the hair shaft, and avoid daily washing if your hair is extremely dry.

Number Four: Dandruff

Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition marked by flaking of the skin on your scalp, persistent itching, and frequently redness.  Although dandruff is rarely serious, it can be embarrassing and sometimes difficult to treat.  Fortunately, mild cases of dandruff can usually be controlled with nothing more than daily shampooing with a gentle cleanser or over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos.  More stubborn cases of dandruff often respond to prescription topical medications or shampoos.

Number Five: Split ends

When hair becomes damaged by heat, chemicals or mechanical stress, the ends can split and fray, giving it a frizzy appearance.  The use of hot curling and straightening irons, excessive application of damaging hair products, or even the repeated forcing of a comb through tangled hair can all result in split ends.  While there is no remedy for split ends beyond trimming the affected hair, reducing or eliminating the causes will frequently eliminate the problem.  Start with detangling products after shampooing, and then separate the tangled locks using just your fingers or a wide tooth pick.  Finally, while drying, use a gentle brush with smooth filaments and tips protected by tiny plastic balls – like in a professional styling brush.

If you have questions about caring for your hair or any of the treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation.  Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ .

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Monday, November 3rd, 2014 Blog, Educational No Comments

The Building Blocks of Healthy Hair

At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we are not merely interested in treating hair loss after it has already begun.  We are also on the forefront of research into preventing hair loss and helping the body hang onto the hair it already has.  While Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis use several effective hair loss prevention treatments at The Griffin Center, a great deal can also be accomplished with simple nutrition.  Experts agree that a healthy diet with the right mix of protein, iron, and other nutrients can help improve the health, look, and feel of your hair.

Protein
The Building Blocks of Healthy HairEvery strand of hair is primarily composed of protein, and so it naturally requires a steady supply of protein from the body in order to grow.  At any given time, about 90% of the hair on the head is in a growing phase, which, for each individual hair, can last from 2 to 3 years.  At the end of that time, hairs enter a resting phase that lasts about 3 months before they are shed and replaced by new hair.  However, if the hair fails to get enough protein to maintain active growth, a disproportionate number of hairs may go into the resting phase.  Ultimately these same hairs are then all shed at the same time, resulting in a condition called telogen effluvium and the appearance of sudden, major hair loss.  Fortunately, this condition can be easily remedied by returning to a protein rich diet, as the follicles have not been damaged but only prematurely pushed into a resting, dormant phase.

Iron and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Iron is one of the chief nutrients involved in the production of the various proteins that make up your hair, and is especially important because it helps cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles.  An abnormally low level of iron in the blood can result in iron-deficient anemia, a condition that has been linked to hair loss.  Likewise, omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in the cell membranes of the skin of your scalp and in the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated, are absolutely essential to the development of healthy, growing hair.  Since the body does not naturally produce them on its own, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon or walnuts, are an important part of any diet.

Other Nutrients
Some studies have suggested that vitamin D may play a role in the hair growth cycle, although research is still underway to determine exactly how that works.  Additionally, vitamin C is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed the follicles, so too little vitamin C can lead to hair breakage.  Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid – an ingredient you’ll often see on hair care product labels) has also been shown to play a role in the growth of hair.  Finally, zinc and biotin are assumed to help with hair growth because people with metabolic disorders lacking them can have thin or brittle hair and nails, and saw palmetto, a plant rich in fatty acids and phytosterols best known for its use in decreasing the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, is also believed to have some effectiveness in promoting hair growth.

If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.  Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ .

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 Blog, Educational No Comments

Handling Hair Loss from Cancer Treatments

Hair loss is one of the most well known side effects of cancer treatment.  When chemotherapy drugs travel throughout the body to kill cancer cells, they specifically target rapidly dividing cells, including the hair follicles. This leads to damage of the follicles, making hair fall out. This specific type of hair loss is called anagen effluvium and is normally not permanent.   Depending on the types of drugs that are used, the dose, and an individual’s specific sensitivity, many of these drugs may cause anything from a mild thinning of the hair on the scalp to complete loss of hair all over the body.  Not all treatments cause hair loss, but if hair loss does occur, it usually begins within 2 to 3 weeks after treatment starts.  Additionally, radiation therapy to the head can also cause scalp hair loss and sometimes, depending on the dose of radiation to the head, the hair does not grow back due to scarring.

Griffin Center women hair lossMany patients undergoing chemotherapy cancer treatment have managed to reduce the amount of their hair loss by using something called a cold cap.  This device lowers the temperature of the scalp, reducing the blood flow to the area.  Less blood flow means that there is a reduced amount of chemotherapy drug that reaches the hair follicles on the head during treatment.  In two small European studies, cold caps proved effective in reducing the amount of hair lost in about 50% of the women that used them, and several U.S. studies are currently underway to examine the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.  Cold caps, however, only block certain drugs and are not suitable for use in all types of cancer.  Recent hair loss research has determined that vasoconstrictors, drugs that restrict blood flow to the skin, can achieve an effect similar to a cold cap when applied topically to the scalp.  These drugs, which have long been used in conjunction with Novocain and similar numbing agents to keep the injected anesthetic in a particular spot, could temporarily cut off the cells in the scalp from the body’s blood supply and prevent the hair follicles from being damaged by chemotherapy.  Unfortunately, since both of these treatments would work by isolating the scalp from the cancer treatment, they are not useful in cases where there is a risk that cancer cells could be present in the scalp blood vessels themselves.

Unless you have had very high doses of particular chemotherapy drugs, hair lost as a result of treatment will generally grow back once the course of treatment is over.  However, this may take several months and the hair that grows back may be softer and thinner or even a different color or curl than it was previously.  At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we have had a great deal of success stimulating regrowth by applying direct visible red light to the scalp.  Red light therapy can increase the energy production around the individual hair follicles, waking the cells from dormancy into an active growth phase.   We have been using these red light wavelengths for years to improve the survival rate of transplanted grafts after hair restoration surgery, as they have been shown to inhibit inflammation and speed recovery while decreasing redness and swelling.  For optimal results, most patients require 20-30 minutes of laser light exposure two to three times per week, either administered through one of our two red light machines within The Griffin Center or with a portable red light cap like the LaserCap™ or igrow helmet. Both of these light sources emit 655 nm red visible light to the scalp either through a combination of LED lights and or laser diode lights. In addition, the application of certain topical medications along with prescribed vitamins and minerals may boost hair growth in patients with have experienced anagen effluvium.

If you have questions about any of the hair restoration treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation.  Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ .

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Monday, October 13th, 2014 Blog, Educational, Hair Loss No Comments

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