Please be warned, although the following is fact and truthful, it is confronting and only appropriate viewing for people over 18 and who are open to the reality of this industry.
Please note that the “other methods “ to be discussed below have NEVER been performed by Dr Ray Woods, and will give a clearer understanding as to what drove Dr Woods to change the paradigm, challenge the entire Hair Transplant Industry worldwide, and devote his life to proving that what was thought to be impossible, is in fact possible.
There is a video presentation here called “Shark Fighter , Hair Transplant Survivor” , which goes into explicit detail of one man’s journey in the hair transplant and hair implants industry, and there is footage representing the procedures performed on him. Please be warned, the images are graphic, confronting and not to be viewed by children. It is 18 + only, and not suitable viewing for many people, due to explicit surgical images.
For those who can watch it, you will understand that this was the Industry “status quo” when Dr Woods entered in 1989, as a young doctor. Since that time till today, he has been the only doctor in the industry, “exposing” the industry, as well as hair implants.
A great deal has been achieved and at significant personal cost, but the old traumatic surgeries are now mainly obsolete, primarily due to Dr Woods’ relentless international internet, TV , publications , and public awareness campaigns for over 25 years. By posting the truth, with video images of procedures and results, he was targeted by Hair Transplant Industry groups and “leaders” , since the 1990s , in order to discredit and suppress . These efforts have been unsuccessful and Dr Woods continues educating and exposing the facts regarding “stem cell” and magic regrowth fraudulent claims and destructive “new” fast production line “ FUE chains”, which are now causing a new scale of damage, under the pretense of safety.
When hair transplantation was first conceived and practiced, a large approx. 10 mm punch was used to extract the follicles from the back of the head. The same punch “ punched out” a similar hole in the balding area, and a cylindrical graft containing up to 50 hair, was inserted, usually at a vertical angle. See fig. C.
Yes it worked , but looked hideous and unnatural. The donor was rapidly destroyed and permanently scarred, and the patient would still need to wear a wig or hat to hide the damage. This went on, unabated for almost 25 years. The most “scientific “ advance was to cut the the “plug”into quarters, and insert them. So, only approx. 10 to 15 hair were inserted into each hairline incision. Still awful and life destroying to the poor patients STRIP EXCISION or Follicular Unit Transplant ( FUT)
As the punch method was becoming untenable, and universally rejected, doctors came up with a new idea, AND IT IS STILL WIDELY USED TODAY. This involves cutting out a strip of flesh from the back of the head “donor” area. This strip would contain follicles. Refer fig A. The strip of flesh would then be cut into “blocks” , approx. 10mm to 20 mm, and each block handed to technicians, who then , with a STRAIGHT blade, commence to dissect out the follicular units. Refer Fig B. Under optimal conditions, stereoscopes would be provided to each technician to improve visibility and accuracy. But as we know, this is not often done, as it is much slower, and more difficult to do it this way, and in production line industries , time is money.
Hence cutting into smaller fragments, disregarding “transections”or cut through bulbs, was , and is done commonly with naked eye or plastic face guards with token magnification. Again, refer figures A and B.
Although doctors, or their consultants, would most often promise a “pencil line “scar, in reality, this was not the case. The scar to the back of the head was most often long, broad, visible, wide, and disfiguring. This is because cutting a long strip of flesh from the back of the head , across the head, up to 15cm , or 20cm long, with a width of 10 to 30 mm wide, caused horrific scarring . As this part of the head is prone to FLEXING and extreme tension, it most often causes a broad scar. Not unlike cutting a lesion from the front of the knee and stitching it up. After the stitches are removed, the scar WILL stretch significantly.
And cutting through a block of flesh containing “banana” bending 3D follicles with a straight blade will INEVITABLY lead to a high destruction rate, it is done anyway. So, how do doctors and big name clinics still get away with it today? They use air tight legal disclaimers, often signed on the day of surgery, where the promises of safety previously given, are negated by dire warnings that terrible scarring and poor results may occur, and by signing the document, you are fully aware , and accept the risk. And if negative results occur, you cannot sue, complain, or disclose or reveal the name of the clinic on any media, or internet forum. If you do, it is YOU who will be sued for damages to the clinic, as a result of negative publicity and lost business and income which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfair, but that’s the reality.
And by “production lining” , the income is massive, and a large percentage is spent every week on advertising, constantly feeding this terrible machine with new, naïve victims. Strip Excision or FUT and hair implants, is still widely used today, and not all results are bad. Some are lucky, and the results and yield are good. But it is “hit and miss” . No one knows how you will heal, how the scar will stretch out, how bendy the follicles are and whether your “dissecting tech” is skilled enough or has a gift for it.
However, if you are fortunate and have a good FUT, or good hair implants, it is better than the new wave of production line FUE clinics, which can do more “donor GLOBAL destruction” to the donor in a few hours, than any limited strip excision could possibly do. More on that later.
The idea here, is that a man with a large balding scalp, can have the balding area simply “cut out” . The big cut out area is then “stitched “ back, pulling up the hair bearing sides up to the center.
Presto, instantly, no more bald central scalp region.
Sounds simple enough, except that the stretching , pulling, and undermining of the side areas is incredibly destructive to the follicles, and they mostly demise, leaving an odd looking thin patchiness. But it gets worse. The scar in the center of the head, running front to back, stretches back, so the original area of baldness usually returns, with the added humiliating and visible massive scar.
Thankfully , this surgery now is incredibly rare, mainly because insurance companies refuse to cover any doctor performing such an insane procedure. Why didn’t medical boards intervene sooner, you may ask. Good question
This equally destructive surgery means that hair bearing skin from the sides of the head can be cut out . An equal area of bald frontal hairline is also cut out, and the “flap” placed into it.
Again, instant hair. But more often than not, the scarring, malalignment , and scalp shock made this surgery as dangerous as scalp reduction , if not worse. Thankfully, rarely if ever practiced today.
The above surgeries can be seen in the “shark fighter”video, but a strong viewer warning is given.
PRODUCTION LINE FUE
After 15 years of fighting the system and continuous publicity, the public demanded their local doctors offer FUE, the reason they didn’t offer it before is that they understood that Dr Woods was working around the follicles microsurgically , with micro proprioceptive skills and perception which took years to perfect. They were not about to drop a highly lucrative production FUT strip excision business and go back to school for no income for at least 5 years, with no guarantee that they would be capable of performing the procedure to the standards set by Dr Woods.
But public pressure forced them to make a clever compromise. Use technicians, drills , robots, hair implants, mechanised implanting devices, and apply the same destructive production line techniques as in FUT, but under the false impression that it is safe FUE. The same despicable and unfair legal disclaimers and gag orders would be used, and poor results silenced. Extremely cheap unskilled labour would often be employed, cheap prices offered, and NO ACCOUNTABILITY, or public disclosure ever incurred revealing what is really happening.
They make you think that follicles exist as in Fig H, matches in a box.
You are led to believe that straight drills, or robots, remove these perfectly straight and even depth follicles as in Fig.F.
The reality is , Fig D represents what happens most of the time, and it has been known since the beginning, which is why it was not attempted for 15 years after Dr Woods announced it. Fig E represents what is required, repeatedly, at least 500 times in a row, with very few transections, and this must be verified. To date, only Dr Woods offers this unique skill and verification of the procedure with real time video monitoring.
Although Dr Woods uses the most sophisticated and finest possible Carl Zeiss microscopes for monitoring, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT ANY CLINIC CAN OFFER MONITORING. It only requires a tripod with a well positioned camera with decent zoom, a cable, and a monitor. Any patient, in any clinic anywhere in the world should be allowed to watch and observe each and every follicle placement and confirm that each is intact, and being inserted at the correct angle, without damage. Finally, the way follicles are implanted is also crucial. There are a few ways of doing this.
PRE PUNCHING HOLES
This is the original method where holes are rapidly punched into the skin, leaving a “hole in the skin” , and the follicles are inserted into the hole. The problem with this is that the direction of the hole cannot be regulated. A follicular unit placed into this hole will grow out at unpredictable and erratic angles. The hole is usually bigger than the follicle, to allow easy and rapid insertion by the technicians. So as the “hole” closes in and around the follicle, you commonly see a “dent” or “PIT”.
That is why , from certain angles, the follicles look as though they were planted by a sewing machine..or the “Levi effect” , as in Levi Jeans
PRE PUNCHING FLAT SLITS
Essentially the same as above, except that a rectangular oblong , like a flat piece of steel with the end sharpened, is used. The advantage is that the skin incisions are smaller, and do not leave as much as the “LEVI EFFECT”.
The disadvantage is that the follicle is a CYLINDER, and placement into a narrow rectangular slit means you need to “JAM” it in. This can be extremely traumatic to the follicle. Secondly, in medicine, a commonly know problem is “pressure necrosis”..this is where if a follicle is jammed into a smaller tight area and literally compressed, circulation cannot reach it , and the follicle dies. A similar phenomenon is seen when a wound is stitched too tight. The wound line becomes white, due to lack of circulation , and the wound breaks down, opens up, and needs further treatment. Another simple example is a pressure sore. Too much pressure in a certain spot reduces circulation getting to the skin, and death of the skin ensues, with a resultant ulcer.
SLIPPERY DIP IMPLANTERS, WITH SPRING LOADED PLUNGERS
These are commonly used today. The principle is similar to the flat slit described above, but actually much , much worse. What is happening here is that a Hypodermic needle is hollowed out..so it resembles a playground slippery dip, but maintaining the sharp needle tip.
The techs place the follicle into the hollowed out section, and hand the device to the operator, who then makes the incision with the pointy end into the skin. Then a spring loaded plunger, at rapid speed thrusts the cylindrical and fragile follicle into the extremely fine slit created by the needle. Trauma to the follicle is greater than the above mentioned techniques due to the extremely rapid jamming of the soft, fragile and flexible follicle into such a tight space. And the “pressure necrosis” issue is far greater as well.
Dr Woods in the early 1990s experimented with a “slippery dip device, without the spring loaded plunger, and very soon realised that such methods are detrimental. But because they are fast, and appear effective, they are in high use today. And the trauma caused to the follicle is another reason why incredibly high numbers of follicles need to be implanted to achieve modest results, and in stark contrast to the low trauma, greater yields and excellent, unsurpassed results of “THE WOODS TECHNIQUE OF FUE”.
The video titled “Death of a Follicle” has a light hearted introduction to a very serious issue, as Dr Woods was well aware this internet presentation was a world first expose , and would infuriate many doctors around the world as he revealed the “inside secrets” . A backlash occurred only from a small sector, who had absolutely NO counter argument. Because it was the truth, the rest of the International Hair Transplant Industry remained silent, in order to avoid a confrontation with this truth.
Please watch “Death of a Follicle” , and don’t be distracted by the theatrical intro. The message is loud , clear and obvious. On the other hand, “shark fighter , hair transplant survivor” is not for the faint hearted. But if you are considering FUT ( STRIP SURGERY), then maybe you should see what you are in for. After watching the videos presented here, prospective clients should understand the importance of being a part of, interacting , and closely observing what “someone” is doing to their head.
Trusting your instincts alone is not enough. Trust your own eyes, be aware, don’t be fooled, and take care.