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  BEWARE OF HAIR TRANSPLANT CROOKS AND QUACKS:
Hair Transplantation is the most corrupt and sleaziest medical specialty of all time.

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Any statements I make on this website are my opinion.

"WELCOME"

Surgical Hair Transplantation is a billion-dollar industry which is completely unregulated. Far more than any other medical specialty, the hair transplant industry is notorious for being sleazy and corrupt. The "hair loss business" has always been a magnet for crooks, con men and quacks, and Surgical Hair Transplantation is no different. A recent article in the New York Times characterized Hair Transplantation as the "Wild West of medicine" to describe the completely lawless state of the industry.

Illegal sales tactics and unethical behavior are widespread. Patients are routinely lied to, in order to help meet sales quotas. False advertising is commonplace, and some clinics spend millions of dollars each year on deliberately misleading and deceptive advertising.

Anyone with a medical degree can legally perform hair transplants without having had ANY specific training. The so-called "established standards of care" for hair transplants are extremely low. The vast majority of clinics use surgical techniques that are outdated, because they are faster and thus more profitable.

INTERVENTION is urgently needed, to prevent further abuses and to protect the public. The hair transplant industry has a 40-year history, and yet still has no moral compass or code of ethics. Government agencies are unwilling or unable to regulate the industry, and doctors are unwilling or unable to police themselves. So dissatisfied patients must take matters into their own hands, with lawsuits or other alternatives. And the public must educate themselves, to protect themselves from these unethical and predatory doctors.

What this website will cover:

  • False advertising in the Hair Transplant industry.
    Prospective hair transplant patients are routinely lied to, by medical clinics who are more concerned with making money, than they are in their patients' well-being. Most hair transplant clinics care more about sales quotas, than they do about medical ethics. I outline some of the typical lies that are used on potential customers, to encourage them to sign up for a hair transplant. I also present multiple examples of "educational" materials that are full of phony claims, from the clinic that disfigured me. This material was created to ratchet up the clinic's sales, under the pretense of "educating patients".
  • My terrible personal experience with the Hair Transplant industry.
    The horrible results of disfiguring hair transplant surgery, that was performed on me when I was 21 years old. My surgeon had nine years of experience in hair transplantation when he operated on me, and I provide pictures of the miserable results. I discuss the established medical knowledge of that time period, to prove that my bad results were not due to "established standards of care" of that time period, but were actually due to an unethical medical practice operating on an innappropriate surgical candidate. I contrast my bad results against the false claims made by the clinic.

  • An overview of the disgraceful history of surgical hair transplantation.
    Why have the results of hair transplantation been so bad, for so long? For almost forty years, hair transplant surgeons have aggressively marketed a primitive surgical technique ("punch-grafting") that resulted in crude-looking "Dolls Hair" hair transplants. Patients were promised that their results would look "natural" and "undetectable" and other blatant lies. Many doctors want to whitewash their own shameful history, and try to pretend that "Dolls Hair" transplants and the disfiguring "open donor" scarring were done "way back in the early days" of hair transplantation. In fact those extremely crude techniques were being used for almost 40 years, and were only just abandoned by the majority of clinics approximately 10 years ago (the early 90s). However, other radical and disfiguring techniques like "flaps" and "scalp lifts" are still being performed today, even though many men have been permanently mutilated by these extreme procedures. This website outlines the disgraceful history of commercial hair transplantation.

    I also outline how "modern" hair transplants are done, because the vast majority of patients haven't got a clue about what actually happens during a hair transplant, before they head into surgery. Clinics capitalize on this ignorance ("it's just like going to the dentist") because the less 'surgical' they can make the procedure seem, the easier it is to sell it. See the section on Strip Excision for more details.

Use the links at the top and bottom of the page, to explore this website.


JUST HOW BAD IS IT?

"The industry itself has not been known for its good quality work in the past, nor its ethics. The industry has been laden down with a sleaze factor to a high degree."

"...unfortunately, over the past 30 years a lot of the doctors have done a great deal of harm in the hair transplant business. "
Dr. William Rassman, Hair Transplant Surgeon, Medical Director at New Hair Institute
http://www.thebaldman.com/Interview_rassman.htm

False advertising is one of the hallmarks of the hair transplant industry.

NBC "DATELINE" Reporter CHRIS HANSEN: (Voiceover)
Can they really live up to those promises? Are the claims realistic? Can surgery restore your hair? We decided to investigate, and were surprised by how many men we talked to who felt ripped off and disfigured.

HANSEN: How big is this problem?
Dr. MANNY MERRITT: I don't want to sound histrionic and tell you it's of epidemic proportions, but it's of epidemic proportions.
(From "Splitting Hairs", the 1997 NBC DATELINE investigation of the Bosley Medical Group. Click here to read the DATELINE transcript.)

Bosley Medical Group is currently the world's largest (and oldest) hair transplant clinic franchise, with 62 locations, and dating back to 1974. Bosley Medical has been disciplined or sanctioned in 20 states, for false advertising, misleading patients, airbrushing photographs, and other violations. This has resulted in Bosley being penalized with huge fines, probation, and even being barred from practicing medicine in some states. Yet Bosley Medical is still one of the dominating forces in the industry, because they spend millions of dollars on advertising every year.

The earliest documented sanctions against Bosley date back to 1979, and the most recent charges were filed in July 2002. Bosley Medical is a long-term repeat offender. The charges against Bosley are documented extensively on the website "www.BosleyMedicalViolations.com".

Many doctors have worked for the Bosley franchise over the years before going on to open their own practices, making Bosley into a "training ground" of sorts, in how surgeons can maximize profits by deceiving patients.

The hair transplant industry is dominated by large franchise operations like Bosley (62 locations), Medical Hair Restoration, (MHR, 37 locations), NuHart (6 locations), PAI (Pierre Amelotte International, 18 locations), HRG (Hair Restoration Group, 11 locations). Sadly, the "violations" documented on the "www.BosleyMedicalViolations.com" website are actually standard practices in the hair transplant industry. Because Bosley is the world's oldest and largest hair transplant franchise, they have simply been caught breaking the law the most. However, the problems with Bosley Medical are just the tip of the iceberg.

HOW EVEN SMART PEOPLE CAN BE SCAMMED

If you've had a hair transplant and are happy with your results, I am truly glad for you. You are in the minority. I would never claim that all hair transplants are bad, or that all hair transplant doctors are liars. I believe that there is currently a small handful of skilled and trustworthy hair transplant surgeons, out of an estimated total of 3000 doctors performing hair transplants world-wide. In my opinion, less than 5 percent of the doctors in this field can give their patients consistently good results. The vast majority of hair transplant clinics are inconsistent AT BEST (and utterly incompetent at worst). "Inconsistent" means that some guys will turn out looking okay, and some guys will turn out looking lousy. Very few guys would agree to get Hair Transplant surgery if they realized that their odds of long-term satisfaction were actually less than 50 percent. So clinics only show sample photos of their very best results, and pretend they are typical. It is almost impossible for a "newbie" to protect himself against this common ploy. The range of quality in results is actually huge, and many guys who paid tens of thousands of dollars to improve their looks with a hair transplant end will up looking WORSE than if they had done nothing.

If you went to see your regular "family" doctor because of a Sore Throat, it's highly unlikely he would recommend that you have your tonsils removed just because he needed to make some extra money. However that kind of thing is typical at a hair transplant clinic... guys are urged to get hair transplants even when it's not in their best interests, because the clinic has sales quotas to meet. Hair transplant clinics prioritize PROFITS first. Most of the doctors do hair transplants to make a lot of money, not "help people". The procedure attracts bottom of the barrel doctors because they can make a lot of money without red tape from insurance companies and HMOs, and without having to learn a lot of demanding surgical techniques. It's almost impossible for a "newbie" to tell the difference between a "good" or "bad" hair transplant doctor, just using the normal criteria he would use to pick a regular doctor... Some of the most-experienced doctors are also the worst in the field!

Most hair transplant doctors hire "consultants" (salesmen) to work in the office, to make the all-important "first sale". Salesmen working inside a doctors office is unheard of, in other "legitimate" medical fields! The "consultants" exagerate the surgery, making it seem more effective, cheaper and easier than it really is, in order to make the sale. Because this is happening at a medical clinic, it gives the "consultant's" pitch an air of authority that it wouldn't have, if it were to take place somewhere else (a used car lot, for example). Afterwards, patients who complain about being disappointed will be told they had "unrealistic expectations" (translation: high expectations) about what hair transplants could accomplish. But it was the clinic who had deliberately created those "unrealistic" expectations in the first place, in order to make a sale! Clinics only talk about "unrealistic expectations" AFTER the surgery is over, AFTER you've already paid... never beforehand, when it could do some good. The phrase "unrealistic expectations" is their "Get Out of Jail Free" card, which allows them to do high pressure sales while delivering a sub-par result, and then place the responsibility for being unhappy back onto the consumer's shoulders.

A huge percentage of hair transplant patients find their end results unnacceptable, despite paying tens of thousands of dollars. Unhappy patients are typically told that they're a "tough case" with "unusually high expectations", and the solution for their dissatisfaction is always to KEEP SPENDING on more surgery. The "next" surgery will hopefully result in an acceptable appearance, over and over again. THAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE SCAM. Once you sell the "first" hair transplant, additional surgeries sell themselves. Patients eventually run out of money, "donor hair" or patience. The vast majority of patients never accomplish what they thought they would, when they first agreed to go in for hair transplants.

Many Hair Transplant patients eventually "give up" and cover up the surgical damage with a hairpiece. Recent phone calls to the offices of Richard Farrell (a small chain of expensive hairpiece salons) revealed that approximately 40% of their Los Angeles clients and 75% of their New York clients began wearing hairpieces to cover up a bad hair transplant.

Of the few "quality" hair transplant clinics, many acknowledge that one-third to one-half of all their patients are there to get corrective surgery, to try to fix the problems that were created by other hair transplant clinics. These clinics make millions of dollars on "corrective" surgery, repairing the shoddy work of other hair transplant doctors. However it is uncommon that a "repair" patient is able to do a complete correction, and totally reverse the damage from unsatisfactory surgeries.

Most guys are too embarrassed to come forward and complain about getting a bad hair transplant, which allows the clinic to keep churning out hundreds or even thousands of other dissatisfied patients. Hair transplant clinics spend millions of dollars on advertising, so even when their "word of mouth" feedback is terrible, they still have a whole new crop of customers they can draw from, who saw their commercial on TV, in the newspaper, on the internet etc.

If you are interested in Hair Tranplants, be careful! Ask any doctor or "consultant" to put ANY claims in writing! You'll hear claims such as "You're going to be thrilled" and "All you'll need is about 2000 grafts" and "This transplant will last you for the next 10 years"> ASK FOR ANY CLAIMS IN A WRITTEN GUARANTEE... you'll get nothing but weak excuses about why your your 5,000 to 15,000 dollar "investment in yourself" can't possibly come with a real Satisfaction Guarantee in writing. In fact the long-term client satisfaction rate is actually LOW.

Some hair transplant clinics do half their business doing "repair" surgery, trying to improve "average" results, or trying to fix screwed-up hair transplants. Lousy results are all too common. A BAD HAIR TRANSPLANT IS HELL ON EARTH.

"Well I'm aware of three suicides on people who've come into this office on consultation, and then I've learned later on that they died who have not had surgery by us. In all three situations, all three patients were physically deformed by other doctors.

So if I know of three suicides, then there has to be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and thousands of things that are not known by others. Of course, I always say a doctor only sees one out of twenty of anything; one of twenty complaints, one of twenty compliments. So if he's got one of twenty and there more behind, and if I know of three, then there must be sixty I don't know of from those that have circulated through this business. And I don't know how many, and they are across world. But I suspect some substantial numbers.

I can tell you that I'm a pretty solid stable guy, and if somebody did that to my head, like I see everyday in this office, freaky guys coming into this office, I might have difficulty handling it.

A number of my patients who said that if that happened to them that they would kill the doctor. And think about that. Stable people who see some of the freaks that, you know, walking the streets, and they said, "Well, if anybody ever did to me, I'd kill them."

Alexei, from my video said that he wanted to kill the man that did that to him, and Alexei is a pretty benign guy. And it ran through his mind a few times.
Dr. William Rassman, Hair Transplant Surgeon, Medical Director at New Hair Institute
http://www.thebaldman.com/interview.asp

SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN THE INDUSTRY HAVE NEVER BEEN FIXED

  • Hair Transplant clinics make SALES, MARKETING and PROFITS their #1 priority... NOT "good medicine" or patient satisfaction.
  • Hair transplant clinics NEVER volunteer information about potential problems when trying to make a sale, even though problems are common. Most people don't know the "hard questions" to ask, and are at risk of getting screwed. Clinics only show examples of the "best" results, but they pretend as if these results are average, and achievable by anyone. "Average" results are not shown, because that's bad for sales.
  • Some of the common complications from a hair transplant:
    -Unnatural or bizarre appearance (the #1 risk)
    -Severe scarring
    -Permanent numbness in the scalp
    -Accelerated hair loss due to surgery ("shock fallout")
    -Pitting (divots) or cobblestoning (bumps) on the scalp surface
    -Transplanted hair does not match very well with existing hair
    -Lingering pain or sensitivity in the donor area
    -Limited styling options
    -Depletion of your donor supply, far before you reach your goals
    -Poor coverage of transplanted hair.
    If a hair transplant clinic claims that these common issues will not be a problem for you, ASK THEM FOR A WRITTEN GUARANTEE. See what they say! Then ask them why they didn't voluntarily disclose these potential complications, on their own!
  • Anyone with a medical degree can legally perform hair transplant surgery, without having ANY specific training in hair transplantation, dermatology or cosmetic surgery. Your Proctologist could decide to open a hair transplant clinic, and he could legally begin doing hair transplants the very same day.
  • Clinics usually hire salesmen ("consultants") to hype the surgery in the pretense of "educating patients". (Note the job pays a salary, plus commision and bonuses based on sales)
  • "Consultants" are laymen with absolutely no medical training, but they are presented to patients as "experts".
  • "Consultants" routinely break the law by "playing doctor", illegally making medical diagnoses and recommending surgery.
  • Many clinics have sales quotas or pay their "consultants" an illegal commission, which leads to consultants "over-selling" the surgery with false claims, not giving full disclosure on limitations and risks, and selling the surgery to innappropriate candidates. The goal is to make the first sale, because the first sale is the hardest. After that the patient is committed to getting more surgeries in the future, because he has permanently altered his scalp. So pressure, lies, deceptive or misleading claims, airbrushed photos, even humiliation can be used to induce the patient into getting a "first" hair transplant... by a SALESMAN, working on commission!
  • Even the "consultants" who don't earn a commission, feel economic pressure to oversell the public on Hair Transplants... Salesmen who don't make very many sales will usually lose their job.
  • Many patients are illegally scheduled for surgery by "consultants", and the patient never even meets with a real doctor until a few minutes before the surgery begins.
  • A common ploy is for the "consultant" to wear a white lab coat, creating the false impression that he has some medical training. Sometimes they are given official-sounding titles like "Senior Medical Advisor", even though they have no medical background whatsoever.
  • Hair transplant clinics advertise that "transplanted hair is permanent, and will last you the rest of your life". This is often NOT TRUE. Look at the "permanent" fringe (aka donor area) on older guys... That "permanent" area will often thin out with age. Transplanted hairs are often NOT permanent. This is a well-known medical fact, yet hair transplant clinics still lie about that in their ads.
  • The vast majority of guys will run out of donor hair, money, or patience, before they achieve the kind of results they imagined they would get, when they first signed up for hair transplant surgery.
  • It takes about 12,000 grafts to lightly cover a fully balding head. However the average guy only has about 6,000 to 7,000 donor grafts available, in total. Hair loss is progressive and there is no cure. Many guys get started early with hair transplant surgery, and will end up "stuck in-between" with 'half a head' of transplanted hair. THE NUMBERS USUALLY DO NOT ADD UP IN YOUR FAVOR. The "supply" does not meet the "demand". I have NEVER heard of a "finished" hair transplant patient who wasn't left wanting more hair... NEVER.
  • Hair transplant "consultants" often "lowball" their initial estimates with potential customers, in order to make hair transplants seem cheaper and easier than they actually are. Once the patient undergoes the first surgery, he is committed to getting additional transplants. The hardest sale to make is the first one, after that the patient is forced to return, sooner or later.
  • The hair transplant industry is dominated by big franchises that prioritize mass-marketing and sales, and they take a "conveyor-belt" approach to surgery.
  • The vast majority of hair transplant clinics use outdated techniques and tools, such as multi-bladed knives, and "mixed grafting" techniques. (Minigrafts and Micrografts, aka "Varigrafting"). See the STRIP EXCISION section of this website for more info. Older methods are faster, and that allows the doctor to do more patients per day. The #1 priority of the doctor is profits, NOT doing hair transplants the best possible way.
  • Hair transplantation is a cash-only business with fast patient turnover, and no "red tape" from HMOs or insurance companies, so it attracts many "bottom of the barrel" doctors who are only in it for the money. Many of the doctors are burned out or couldn't cut it, practicing legitimate medicine. They turn to Hair Transplantation where the profits are high and the standards are practically non-existent.
  • Only a small handful of the estimated 3000 doctors doing hair transplants are able to perform the surgery at a consistently high level.
  • Most of the innovations in the field have only come in the last 5 or 10 years, but only a tiny fraction of the doctors have voluntarily adopted the latest methods. Learning modern techniques means interrupting the cash flow, and the newer methods are harder to do and more time-consuming. Hair transplants are usually done the way that is fastest and most profitable, NOT the way that gives the best results.
  • Hair transplant clinics have churned out hundreds of thousands of bad results over the previous 40 years, with no remore and no penalty. Doctors who based their careers on lying to patients have gone unpunsished, and are still doing hair transplants today.
  • Over ONE MILLION men have been subjected to primitive "Punch Graft" procedures that result in a "Dolls Hair" appearance. This crude technique was typically being used by the majority of clinics not much more than 10 years ago.
  • The vast majority of all hair transplant patients have actually been permanently damaged by the very doctors who were hired to "help" them.
  • Hundreds of thousands of guys have needed to hide their hair transplant results by wearing a toupee or wig.
  • Patients have been driven to commit suicide as a result of being disfigured by hair transplant surgeons.
  • Some clinics admit that up to half of their clients are there getting "corrective" surgery. Many damaged patients go from clinic to clinic hoping to finally achieve a normal appearance. "Corrective" patients are an important part of the business, and a huge source of revenue. Many "repair" patients have paid 10 times more for multiple "corrective" surgeries, than they did for their original hair transplants. There is no financial incentive for doctors to stop the cash flow that comes from "corrective" patients seeking repair surgery.
  • Most men are too embarrassed to come forward to complain or sue, after being disfigured by an elective cosmetic surgery. Guys who get hair transplants are already self-conscious about their looks. After they are subjected to a "botched" hair transplant, that self-consciousness is greatly amplified.
  • A successful lawsuit against even the worst hair tranplant doctor is rarer than a 4-leaf clover.
  • Lawsuits against hair transplant doctors are rarely successful, because the established standards of care are so poor, the statute of limitations expires before patients can actually judge their results, and unlike other legitimate fields of medicine it is difficult to find an ethical hair transplant surgeon who is willing to testify as an expert witness against an unscrupulous colleague.
  • To beat a lawsuit, oftentimes the only thing that a hair transplant clinic has to do is prove the bare minimum: that they moved skin grafts, and some of the transplanted hairs did grow. If the patient looks totally bizarre as a result, that is often considered legally irrelevant.
  • Hair transplant surgeons are forbidden to criticize each other, as written into the by-laws of the professional organizations they've created.
  • Medical texbooks and professional journals on hair transplantation contain chapters that teach doctors how to evade a successful lawsuit. This is unheard of, in other medical specialties.
  • Medical conferences on hair transplantation feature seminars like "How to Market Your Practice" and "How to Turn a Patient's 'No' Into a 'Yes'".
  • Doctors advertise that they are "Board Certified" even though there aren't any recognized or official Board exams for hair transplantation.
  • The hair transplant boards that DO exist were created by the doctors as self-promotional devices, and as a way to create a false air of legitimacy.
  • The hair transplant industry was threatened with an FTC audit in 1996, but representative doctors quickly created a "straw" (token) regulatory organization, and talked their way out of FTC scrutiny by promising to clean up the industry. But nothing actually changed, and the abuses still continue.
  • Newer outpatient surgical industries such as LASIK have come under regulation and oversight by the FTC, yet for some reason Hair Transplantation still remains completely unregulated and unsupervised.
  • PT Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute". Even the worst Hair Transplant clinics can make a fortune if they spend enough money on advertising, to lure in "new suckers". They simply pass the high cost of advertising on to their patients. Some clinics spend one third of their budgets on advertising... MILLIONS of dollars a year.

This is a non-commercial website that is not connected to any business, group, doctor or organization. This website was created by a real patient solely for the purpose of informing people about an ongoing threat to public safety.


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