Comment on Andrew Sullivan’s website:
… Another has a “warning to those men who are reading the posts exclaiming the positive impact of hair transplants”:
Like your reader who had a follicular transplant, one of my good friends also had this procedure when he was in his mid-20s; receiving rows and rows of transplanted hairs placed in neatly symmetrical patterns over the entire top of his head. In the short run, this procedure, I’m sure, did much to help the self-esteem of a young man prematurely balding and panicked about his looks and the impact on his attractiveness to prospective mates. The problem is that someone experiencing balding that severely in his early/mid-20s, is likely going to continue to bald. Now, in his early 40s, my friend has the top of his obviously implanted head cut extremely short – making the unnatural pattern even more noticeable – because the balding has extended down creating a bare ring of head before the fringe of hair at his ear level. The worst part of all of this: because of the horrible scarring created by the removal of the strip of hair from the back of his head to create the transplants, fully shaving his head is no longer a reasonable option. It’s an unfortunate example of having to live with a constant reminder of the vanity of youth. He would have been better to just have left his hairline to nature.
Dr. Mohebi’s Response:
I read the negative comment about hair transplants of one of the readers of Andrew Sullivan’s “THE DISH” blog. As medical director of US Hair Restoration I could not stay silent because of the erroneous information disclosed in this reader’s response on your site.
The comparison of follicular unit transplantation which is the current gold standard of hair restoration surgery with old techniques that involved transplanting plugs of hair in rows is inaccurate. Hair transplant surgery has come a long way in only the last 20 years, from plug surgery and mini-micro grafting to natural looking hair transplant surgery through follicular unit transplants. Modern hair transplant surgical procedures are technology advanced; a skilled surgeons procedure results are natural. Most hair stylist cannot detect that their client has had a hair transplant. This has been proven true and our practice and colleagues.
In today’s Follicular Unit Transplantation, hair follicles are divided into the natural groupings harvested from the patient’s donor area of scalp. These grafts are transplanted in natural direction and distribution in the balding areas of the scalp.
Undergoing hair transplant at an early age as cited by your reader is no longer a problem. Microscopic diagnostic methods assist a hair transplant surgeon in predicting the pattern of future hair loss in a young man. Current state of the art diagnostic technique allows the surgeon to be able to design placement of hair grafts in a way that it looks normal at any age. For example when I design someone’s hair line I pay less attention to where it was before and more to where it is going to be as a mature hairline in the future. The result of a hair transplant that is done correctly should look good now and it should look good twenty years from now.
The newest methods of donor wound closure resolves the issues concerning scarring at the back of head. One such method trichophytic closure allows hair to grow inside the scar and makes the hair transplant scar less visible. Today, we also perform Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) for the ones who cannot have any linear scar on the back of their head. The FUE method is more labor intense and time consuming but it allows surgeon to remove follicular unit grafts one at a time. After a FUE transplant the patient can keep his hair very short without being concerned about the visibility of scar of the donor area.
Finally I would like to clarify that with the knowledge we have today about balding and its adverse effects on men’s psycho-social lives, I don’t call hair transplant a vanity but a requisite that is available to us to make our lives better, just like many other advancements that are available to us in today’s world.
Parsa Mohebi, MD
Mohebi Medical and US Hair Restoration.com
Los Angeles, California