Synthetic hair transplantation is the use of synthesized hairs and implanting them into the scalp in lieu of a real human hair follicle. This technology came out in the 1970’s. It seemed to be a nice way to restore hair. It was created during a time before the internet. The synthetic fiber market exploded into many hair clinics and dermatology offices due to the marketing and sales of the companies producing the synthetic fibers. And since this was a time before the internet, the efficacy, risks and complications information was not readily or immediately shared. It took time for the information to spread.
Finally the complaints started rolling in and by 1983, all use of synthetic hair fibers for transplantation was banned by the FDA in the United States. There were a plethora of complications why this occurred:
rejection and periodic loss of fibers needing frequent replacement
frequent allergic reactions and possibly leading to severe contact dermatitis and/or irritant effects
- fears about possible carcinogenicity
- recurrent infections
Here was a case study that was performed in 1981 showing overwhelming evidence of some or all of the complications mentioned above: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7012203
Today the ban still remains in the United States however there are two companies that came out in 1996 and 1999 that offer synthetic fibers to non-banning countries. Biofibre from Medicap Italy and Nido corporation from Japan currently market synthetic hairs. Apparently the technology has improved tremendously since the 1970’s. The materials that were used in the 1970 were made of polyester poly and monoacrylic combinations. This material was quite reactive in many individuals thus the reoccurring infections, reactions and scarring. The newer technology uses a polyamide substance claims to be less reactive along with an easier implantation and lower risk of complications such as infection.
Nevertheless the use of synthetic hair fibers are banned from use in the United States still today for use in Hair restoration or hair tranplants.