BEWARE OF HAIR TRANSPLANT CROOKS AND QUACKS:
Hair Transplantation is the most corrupt and sleaziest medical
specialty of all time.
This is a non-commercial website. Please ignore
Ads are placed by Angelfire in exchange for providing free space on
Any statements I make on this website are my opinion.
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techniques that are outdated, because they are faster and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:
Use the links at the top and bottom of the page, to explore
- False advertising in the Hair
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
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.
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
False advertising is one of the hallmarks of the hair
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
Dr. William Rassman, Hair Transplant
Surgeon, Medical Director at New Hair Institute
SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN THE INDUSTRY
HAVE NEVER BEEN FIXED
Transplant clinics make SALES, MARKETING and PROFITS their
#1 priority... NOT "good medicine" or patient satisfaction.
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
of the common complications from a hair transplant:
-Unnatural or bizarre appearance (the #1 risk)
-Permanent numbness in the scalp
-Accelerated hair loss due to surgery ("shock fallout")
-Pitting (divots) or cobblestoning (bumps) on the scalp
-Transplanted hair does not match very well with existing
-Lingering pain or sensitivity in the donor area
-Limited styling options
-Depletion of your donor supply, far before you reach your
-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!
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.
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)
are laymen with absolutely no medical training, but they
are presented to patients as "experts".
routinely break the law by "playing doctor", illegally making
medical diagnoses and recommending surgery.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
hair transplant industry is dominated by big franchises
that prioritize mass-marketing and sales, and they take
a "conveyor-belt" approach to surgery.
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
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.
a small handful of the estimated 3000 doctors doing hair
transplants are able to perform the surgery at a consistently
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.
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
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.
vast majority of all hair transplant patients have actually
been permanently damaged by the very doctors who
were hired to "help" them.
of thousands of guys have needed to hide their hair transplant
results by wearing a toupee or wig.
have been driven to commit suicide as a result of being
disfigured by hair transplant surgeons.
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.
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.
successful lawsuit against even the worst hair
tranplant doctor is rarer than a 4-leaf clover.
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
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.
transplant surgeons are forbidden to criticize each other,
as written into the by-laws of the professional organizations
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.
conferences on hair transplantation feature seminars like
"How to Market Your Practice" and "How to Turn a Patient's
'No' Into a 'Yes'".
advertise that they are "Board Certified" even though there
aren't any recognized or official Board exams for hair transplantation.
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.
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
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
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.
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