As you know, our soggy island has encountered one of the most resplendent summers in recent memory. And while many us ‘mane purveyors’ have been out and about proudly displaying our hirsute chests and man-scaped bonces, the transplant industry has been warming up at an unbelievable rate as well.

The worry for us follicle chasers is that the industry is increasingly awash with unscrupulous operators, peddling below-par products and services. Sadly, the number of repair patients is growing every day.

The reality is, us hair growth journeymen (and women) are now faced with a very serious danger, with so-called practitioners impersonating industry professionals and stopping at nothing to make a quick buck.

As we enter an increasingly perilous landscape, there’s no question that certain individuals are actually regressing the space that numerous qualified and master craftspeople have committed their lives to; with many offering pioneering products and a level of service that has made huge strides in the search for a cure to male pattern baldness.

The issue has been further opened up by the maelstrom that is the Interwebs, which can be a heaving, breathing mess of fake news and false claims. This has made it even harder for the reputable ‘players’ to get the truth out there; and in doing as such ensure the blameless, know-no-better patients avoid being on the end of what amounts to a modern-day scalping.

Over the years, I’ve got to know patients looking for my guidance in the area of hair repair. Shockingly, many of these human guinea pigs have been utilised and manhandled by the business’ greatest criminals – as was I!

 

TOGETHER WE’RE STRONGER

For me, it’s clear that patients – boys, girl, women and men – need greater transparency around which clinics they can trust and the ones they should avoid. For patients that are new to this whole experience it can be a real minefield out there. This is exactly why they have a right to know the facts!

I had a patient who was devastated in the wake of being informed that his last session of agonising transplant surgery couldn’t be repaired, due to the sub-standard workmanship of his previous clinic.

Between you, me, and my laptop, there’s nothing worse than hearing anecdotes like this. Having said that, it’s this kind of story that inspires me to keep educating those people who don’t know the lay of the land, and have low expectations when it comes to quality.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my heart goes out to this poor fella whose level of confidence has been pulverised, but there’s a wider issue at play here – specifically an excessive number of back-street clinics who are beginning to invade and damage the hair transplant industry.

 

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

There are currently a handful of groups who are sticking their hands up in a bid to protect our combined reputations. Two such groups are FUE Europe, as well as the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS), which are headed up by leading hair growth specialist Dr. John Cole and the originator of the IAHRS, Spencer Kobren.

Together they are collaborating for an upcoming meeting, the like of which the industry has never seen. Set to place in Manchester in June 2019 patients with some well-publicised stories, are due to attend as they attempt to make a stand against poor medical procedures – and ultimately try to drive out those players who are damaging the industry. Indeed, both FUE Europeand the IAHRS have both confirmed that this kind of malpractice will no longer be tolerated. The gloves are officially off!

 

DON’T FORGET: BAD IS THE ARCH-ENEMY OF GREAT

As the world turns out to be much more fixated on appearances – especially with the rise of social media, there continues to be a significant number of us who are so hell-bent on seizing the moment, grabbing the most alluring offer, and in doing so paying little heed to a clinic’s expertise and reputation. The reality is, if it’s too good to be true, it pretty much always is!

Odds are, you’ve seen somebody out on the town who’s had the mishap of encountering a less than impressive hair transplant. Also, if it’s bad enough for you to take a gander at, think about how that poor guy or girl feels each day when they see themselves in the mirror. I’ve been there and bought the hair piece, and along with my wingman Joe Tillman, we are both on a mission to teach people how to spot the no-go’s. For some light homework, try to check out his mainstream YouTube channel as it’s a standout in this space as he really does shoot from the hip.

“Unfortunately, everyone can see a bad hair transplant, whereas a good one is undetectable!”

Joe Tillman 

Having been through countless hair transplant procedures myself, I know first-hand the pain and emotion involved and I feel that it’s time that the cowboys were named and shamed, and the list is a long one.

 

FAMOUS FOR THE WRONG REASONS

One hair transplant group that has operated under multiple variations of the “KSL” hair brand as it applies to transplant surgery, are one of the latest businesses to make headlines in various newspapers for all the shamefully wrong reasons.

The brand, which had previously been promoted by a number of reality TV stars including members Jake Quickenden and Gareth Gates, was recently forced to close down in Scotland after claims of malpractice and complaints from various unhappy patients who were given unsatisfactory hair transplant procedures. In KSL’s Glasgow clinic, client Jerry Smith agreed to have a transplant procedure at a cost of £7,000, which the clinic botched and then quickly shut after a barrage of complaints.

Speaking to the The Scottish Sun, Jerry, of Inverness, vented:

“I’m furious with what they did to me. Doctors say it’s wrecked my head. I’m not surprised that so many people are taking legal action. It shows just how angry people are. I just hope I can get my money back. Someone needs to be held accountable for what happened to us. I can honestly say KSL was the worst mistake I have ever made, and I hope all of us affected finally get our justice.”

Another unhappy patient by the name of Michael Gemmell, who had two transplants at KSL Hair’s Glasgow clinic, commented:

“My results are embarrassing, and I’ve been left with horrendous scarring as a result of malpractice and very poor standard of work… please do not be fooled into handing over any money.”

It’s been reported that Gemmell is currently seeking permission to bring legal proceedings against KSL. And the bad news doesn’t stop there. Indeed, a spokesman for the Scottish healthcare regulator that registers clinics noted that it had received “a number of complaints” about KSL Hair

Unfortunately, KSL’s story (of which The Guardian has done a pretty good exposé, if you want all the facts) is just one in an ever increasing number of clinics who are not up to scratch – wreaking havoc on an industry already struggling for credibility.

According to The Times, the KSL Glasgow clinic recently filed for bankruptcy, yet the brand continues on. Two of the three former directors of the Glasgow clinic, Mr. Lloyd Hume and Mr. Simon Lindsay, started the brand back up in Kent and Manchester.

Mr. Lindsay has since resigned leaving Lloyd Hume as the remaining KSL director. According to Lloyd Hume, his current business partner is the “director of surgical procedures”, as discussed in a recent BBC radio interview. Records, however, show that the director of surgical procedures was the third listed director of the KSL brand in Glasgow, so buyer beware.

 

IT PAYS TO SHOP AROUND

At a time when the authentic businesses out there are desperately attempting to maintain their reputations, I believe It’s crucial that you do your research before making any life-changing decisions. Make sure you seek out the truth-sayers and seek advice from the people who genuinely have your best interests at heart.

On a practical level, that could mean speaking to professionals and people you know. Collate as much intel as you can before you proceed.

Above all, don’t buy into those slick sales pitches which include free travel, low-cost surgery and a beach towel thrown in for your trip to Turkey too. Read the warning signs – because in most instances, it’s simply unsafe. The BBC recently opened the door to a fly on the wall documentary which included blood-stained sheets at the very start of one patient’s surgery! You can (and should) check out the documentary!

The popular hair loss call-in radio show The Bald Truth are regularly discussing these tragic realities weekly in order to try help protect the patient but there are only so many who can be saved.

Fortunately, I’ve gone through numerous procedures, guided by an exceptional team of doctors – all of whom are dedicated surgeons determined to do the right thing. If you are thinking of taking the plunge, just remember to have your wits about you and consider all options available to you in terms of choosing treatments that have been proven to work.

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