May 20 2011, 3:01 pm PT | Posted in: Other Surgical Procedures
This is the article about the face transplant patient: Face transplant patient ready to go home
From the pictures in the article, the picture on the left shows his mid-scalp area has no hair at all due to his injury, and the after picture shows him with ample amount of hair in the mid-scalp area. The article points out, ‘even the hair on Wiens’ head, from the mid-scalp area, is part of the donor skin (the hair on the back of Wiens’ head is his own).’
Is there a possibility scalp transplants will be available in the near future?
I’ve received more than a few emails about this case where people have excitedly pointed out that this patient also received hair. Yes, full face transplants are possible thanks in part to some amazing surgeons, and yes, it’s possible to have part of the donor scalp and hair survive during this type of procedure. But surgery like this not practical or safe for someone that just has genetic hair loss and wants a head of full head of hair from a donor.
The key issue preventing person-to-person hair (and scalp) transplants is with the anti-rejection medication he must take. For the face transplant patient the risk is worth the reward, but for someone that wants to have hair harvested from someone else, the side effect risks from these immunosuppressive drugs are quite serious. The risks include massive infections and even cancer.
However, let’s look at this from a realistic point of view. Who would even volunteer for a scalp transplant just to treat genetic balding? Keep in mind that the scalp has to come from someone… and that someone is likely a cadaver.