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Beware of the Crooks in the Hair Transplant Industry

This is a non-commercial website. Please ignore any advertising you might see.
Ads are placed by Angelfire in exchange for providing free space on the web.

Any statements I make on this website are my opinion.

Cosmetic surgeons who make marketing, promotion and profits their priority, are a disgrace to medicine.

When these doctors use false advertising to promote their practices, it is more than just sleazy: it is immoral, unethical and illegal.

This section of the website documents various materials that were distributed to potential patients of the Cleveland Hair Clinic also known as Puig Medical Group. These franchised clinics were co-owned and controlled by Medical Director Carlos J. Puig. (pronounced "Pwig").

This material comes directly from Dr. Puig's clinics; It spans a period of three different decades, which makes it evidence of a repeated and sustained effort at deceiving patients, in my opinion. In my view it is "institutionalized lying" and is nothing short of deliberate medical malpractice. The Puig clinics were more concerned with making a lot of money, than they were with the well-being of their patients.

By using promotional materials to make the surgery seem less serious than it is, and to portray the average outcome as more successful than is realistically possible, more first-time patients will essentially be "conned" into signing up for a permanent cosmetic surgery, than if the clinic were actually truthful.

Lowballing: An illegal "bait & switch" sales tactic of deliberately underestimating the amount of surgery required, in order to lure patients into "taking the first step". Once patients get their first hair transplant, they are committed to getting additional surgeries, in order to try to complete the process. By deliberately underestimating the total number of surgeries required, a clinic can sell more patients on the process.

Misleading patients about the results they can expect: The false claim that hair transplants will stop hair loss, and that hair transplants can actually restore a full head of hair. False claims that a hair transplant will "end hair loss" even though hair loss will still continue after hair transplant surgery. Deceptive claims that "no one will ever know you have had any hair loss," even though transplants won't prevent future hair loss. None of the booklets ever state "your results may vary", and only show "after" pictures of men with what look like full heads of hair. Some patient testimonials boast of having a "full head of hair". False claims that hair transplants give a "complete and permanent correction" to hair loss. False claims that a hair transplant done with large plug grafts will be "natural" looking, that the crude plug grafts will "duplicate" your original hairline, and that the hair transplant will be "undetectible". False claims that "most men have an overabundance" of donor hair, which misleads patients about the limited amount of donor supply and how much hair they can realistically restore.

Glossing over the serious nature of the surgery: These booklets claim that their purpose is "educational", but they contain no practical information about the surgery itself. Serious invasive procedures like scalp reductions that create significant scars are falsely described as "a minor procedure" that gives "immediate gratification" and will result in a "natural look". "Open donor" wounds from punch-grafting are falsely claimed to result with a "complete undetectible healing", even though open donor wounds actually create massive scarring. In fact the word "scar" is never mentioned once, anywhere in the clinic's material. Misleading claims that patients can return to work the next day, even though most patients suffer from days of post-operative swelling, crusting of grafts and other cosmetic setbacks. Patients are not told that they will permanently lose some sensation in their scalp. Patients are not warned that a hair transplant will accelerate the fallout of the patient's remaining hair.

Other Offenses: False claims that cosmetic surgery is "the natural solution" to hair loss. Offering patients financial incentives to sign up for surgery. Playing on the patients' insecurity over their hair loss and using their insecurity as a sales tool. False claims that the purpose of "consultations" and promotional booklets is to "aid" patients or "educate" them. Claiming in written material that the clinic's staff will NOT "oversell" the procedure to the patient, and then making false claims about the surgery in person. Not telling patients that the tranplanted hair can often differ in texture or color from their natural hair. False claims that after a hair transplant, patients will be able to style their hair almost any way that they want, instead of disclosing the specific styling requirements to conceal pluggy grafts. Presenting a legal release form to the patient while he sits in the surgical chair, only minutes before surgery. Surgeons operating on a patient only a few minutes after meeting him for the first time, despite claims that the surgeon will transplant "an agreed-upon pattern of grafts". Claiming pre-surgery that the clinic will always be available to address patient concerns, then dismissing legitimate complaints post-surgery.

Patients who have been subjected to these and other deceptive or illegal sales tactics have been prevented from making an INFORMED DECISION about an elective surgery. The doctors and clinics who conduct themselves in this way do not deserve the PRIVELEGE of practicing medicine: they are a DISGRACE to the field of medicine!

When I complained to the clinic about getting poor results, I was told that my problem was that I had "unrealistic expectations". The irony here is that it was my clinic who had deliberately created all of those false premises in the first place!

My biggest "expectation" was that I would look natural after the surgery, as my consultant promised me I would. It is a promise that is repeated in Puig's promotional booklets. Sadly, this was far from true for me.

" is particularly important during the initial interview to emphasize the fact that even with ideal candidates, transplanted hair is usually not as dense or thick as original hair. If the patient realizes this prior to beginning the procedure and does not expect miracles, he is much more apt to be satisfied with the final results. If he is expecting too much from the procedure, he is going to be disappointed even with a good result."
taken from the textbook Hair Transplant Surgery, O'Tar T. Norwood, MD. 1973, Charles C Thomas, Publisher
Chapter 3: Patient Selection, p.26-27, "Interview"

"Since there is no substitute for your own natural-growing hair, the Hair Transplant offers you a tremendous opportunity to once again have the confidence and self-assurance of a full head of hair."

"Puig Medical Group offer you...the ability to do the transplant so it is virtually non-detectable."
excerpt from a 1994 letter to a prospective patient, from the Puig Medical Group

The Cleveland Hair Clinic claims that it's crude Doll's Hair transplants will look completely "natural", that the hair transplant will be "undetectible" and it will "duplicate your original hairline". But over time, each new booklet claims that the clinic now uses the latest techniques, with natural and undetectible results. Surgical procedures can evolve over time; However, the definition of "undetectible" and "natural looking" does NOT change from year to year. The clinic cannot honestly claim that they deliver natural looking and undetectible results in 1978, and then YEARS LATER claim that they now have a 'new & improved' procedure that also gives "natural" and "undetectible" results. THESE CLAIMS MADE AT DIFFERENT TIMES CANNOT BOTH BE TRUE.

In other words, a hair transplant that they claim will "duplicate your natural hairline" in 1978 cannot be made "even more natural" later, if it actually lived up to it's original claims.

I pull several quotes from Dr. O'Tar Norwood's 1973 textbook Hair Transplant Surgery, in order to contrast his writings against the false claims and misconduct by the Cleveland Hair Clinic. Click this link to read some notes on why I chose to quote this textbook that was written in 1973, when I could have easily quoted from a more modern textbook.

In order to prevent any protest that I am doing "selective editing", I included every single page of each booklet. Any highlighting, underlining or arrows are done by this author, and do not appear on the originals. This highlighting was done to draw your attention to specific points I want to discuss.

Any statements I make on this website are my opinion.

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