What do you make of this new technique called donor doubling? They are able to bisect the fair follicle basically doubling the yield from one follicle. This sounds too good to be true.
We have seen this in the past, but worded with different terms. In general, if things sound “too good to be true” then it probably is! We have researched and tested the Acell (two years ago with Dr. Bernstein in N.Y.) for it’s acclaimed “cloning” potential touted by certain doctors. In short, it did not work in our hands. If it really did, these doctors would be on the front pages of Time Magazine and would be billionaires.
One of the issues in the world of hair transplant restoration is that there is very little University based or academic based research. Hair transplant surgeons earn a living based on CASH for service. There is no insurance or academics involved. There are few government sponsored or private research grants for physicians or researchers in hair restoration.
I realize there are societies such as ISHRS and AHRS that give the consumer / patient the perception of organization and research, but these organizations cannot and do not enforce or discipline to its members. It has no power to standardize medical procedures or grant classic American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) “board certification” type of endorsements to the hair transplant doctors. There is nothing wrong with these organizations, but consumers and patients must understand hair transplant doctors do NOT receive ABMS-equivalent board certification. Anyone who graduated medical school with one year residency can attend a seminar and set up shop as a hair transplant doctor. There is no formalized training like a typical medical residency program that the public thinks of. There are good intentioned surgeons who try to conduct research to advance the field of hair restoration, but there are also dishonest doctors who take advantage of their patients and get away with it.
At the end of the day we all earn a living on performing cash for service surgery on patients. One can argue that the best perceived doctors (from a patient point of view) may be the best at marketing. I remember when FUE was introduced in 2002, a handful of “expert” FUE doctors (who didn’t have prior hair transplant experience) and clinics popped up all over the world in a matter of months! One doctor in particular (which I would not name) quickly became famous for his advertised FUE megasessions. He had a very classy website which promised remarkable results, with a very fancy looking high end office. He gained great popularity in the online forums and quickly expanded his practice all over the world. He was a marketing genius. Unfortunately, the “too good to be true” promise caught up to that doctor as I saw many of his patients who had miserable failures. The doctor went on to lose his license to practice in certain U.S. states and other countries, and he gradually faded away from the notoriety. But I am sure he made a fortune well worth his time and he still has open offices in countries where the practice of medicine is not well regulated.
My point is that there are outrageous claims and not-so-scientific procedures that doctors do offer. Some examples are PRP and ACell. None of it has been shown clearly to do what the claims of value state. The patients will buy into the technology, because of the semi-science behind it. How it is marketed wins the consumer / patient over. Patients gladly pay a few hundred or few thousand dollars to have these unproven procedures to gain “that extra edge”.
I do admire the clinics and doctors for their great PR and marketing, but often I do not admire their ethics. I do admire the forums and “doctor-sponsored” websites that are never clear that they’re really doctor-supported (where each doctor has to pay thousands of dollars to be listed on it). These sites advocate and publicize these “too good to be true” procedures, but I hope you can also understand even these “pro-patient” forums can be biased from the very nature of how the forums are funded (by the doctors and their paid publicists that sometimes disguise themselves as non-affiliated patients.).
Perhaps one of these days there may be a valid finding and an innovate technique and it is sad to think it may be buried into the panacea of “too good to be true” techniques.