Category Archives: Coen Gho

Christophe Guillemat and Stem Cell Transfer (SCT) Hair Transplants

Over the past two years, perhaps the single most popular subject that I have been asked to provide my opinion on and have not is with regards to Dr. Christophe Guillemat (of the CFS Barcelona clinic in Spain) and his Stem Cell Transfer (SCT) hair transplantation technique.  Till now, I have avoided discussing this man because there was similar excitement about Dr. Coen Gho and his donor hair regeneration technique some 5-10 years ago, and to this day I am not sure if Dr. Gho is really getting any significant level of hair regeneration consistently (assuming the partial hairs that he transplants to the frontal and crown regions of patient scalps all grow in the first place).

The biggest problem with such claims of donor hair regeneration is that patients can not really precisely tell what portion of their donor hair (if any at all) regenerated, so we are reliant on a surgeon’s word. Donor region pictures of the back of the scalp also never tell you for sure what portion of hair has regenerated.  Even with zero hair regeneration in regular hair transplants, donor regions typically never look like they are balding in spite of having much less density than prior to transplantation.

Dr. Gho has attracted a lot of skepticism over the years from other hair transplant surgeons. Moreover, I would have thought that by now he could have made a fortune if he were to have taught his potentially revolutionary technique to other surgeons for a very high fee, instead of still continuing to perform hair transplants himself. Nevertheless, I do not doubt his technique entirely, since there does seem some sound logic behind the idea that leaving some stem cells behind could lead to donor follicle regeneration.

Dr. Christophe Guillemat

Going back to the subject matter, I finally decided to cover Dr. Guillemat because five days ago he published a groundbreaking (or fluff piece, depending on your perspective) blog post that is a must read. You will need to translate it into English via right clicking in your browser and selecting “Translate to English” or via using the Google Translate webpage.  Dr. Guillemat wrote the post after seeing extremely positive results in three patients’ donor hair regeneration one year post stem cell transplantation.

The title of Dr. Guillemat’s blog post when translated reads “Resounding success in hair generation with stem cells“!  Some of the other overly extravagant sentences in the translation that I have pasted below made me laugh with disbelief, but I do hope that they are all true and I prove to be very wrong in my skepticism:

“We’ve got an average of 82% of hair regeneration with stem cells in the donor area !!!”

“It is the first time in the history of hair transplants that such an important hair regeneration is achieved” — Note: I wonder if Dr. Gho agrees?

“In short, the process works and can say that we are at the beginning of a new era for the correction of baldness”

“To this day, there was no technique that allows hair implants recover such amount of follicles in the donor area!”

“The stem cell transfer is a reality”

“Revolutionary technique that allows patients to repopulate a bald area without losing their hair capital in the donor area.”

To be fair to Dr. Guillemat, despite the overly emotional language, he does mention some limitations and areas that need improvement:

  • Only 50-60 percent growth in recipient areas and 82 percent hair regeneration in donor area (both numbers will need improving).
  • Cell transfer is a much more delicate procedure in comparison to entire hair follicle transfer.

Dr. Guillemat is going to publish more patient information, photos and videos on his blog in the coming days.  If you are really interested in this technique, you should also read his past blog posts, see some of his youtube videos and follow him on Twitter.

Dr. Coen Gho: The Original Hair Regenerator

Ever since I first became interested in hair loss research and hair biology 10-15 years ago and started following online hair loss forum discussions, around a dozen or so events and/or persons have stood out from the rest in terms of the intense frenetic online coverage that they received.  I have probably mentioned all of these on this blog by now except for one — Dr. Coen Gho.

Around 5 years ago, Dr. Gho became the most talked about hair transplant surgeon on hair loss forums (replacing FUE pioneer Dr. Ray Woods in popularity).  Dr. Gho claimed that he could extract donor hair from the back of the scalp, implant it in the frontal or crown region recipient site, and yet the donor region would still regrow all its original hair while the recipient site would also grow the new (transplanted donor) hair as is expected in all hair transplants.   i.e., his method would never lead to donor hair depletion at the back of the scalp (the biggest drawback of hair transplants) and, in essence, this was a cure for hair loss as you could keep getting hair transplants and not deplete donor hair.  Perhaps this strategy only works 2 or 3 times and I missed that in case Dr. Gho ever said so.  However, even if it worked only twice, such donor hair multiplication or regeneration would essentially be a cure for hair loss for those at Norwood Scale 2 to 5 or so.

Dr. Gho was already reasonably well known online even 10-15 years ago, but two things helped him become truly renowned starting around 2010:

  1. His Netherlands based company’s focus on documenting procedures via well made videos, including on local or internet celebrities (e.g., see here and here).
  2. His appearance on The Bald Truth radio show.

Dr. Gho can be cocky at times, with the best example being his insult (“If he had opted for our technique, Wayne would have avoided looking like Quasimodo”) of Wayne Rooney’s pretty decent hair transplant.

Dr. Gho’s Hair Stem Cell TransplantationTM (HST) Technique

Dr. Gho’s partial longitudinal follicular unit transplantation (PL-FUT)” Hair Stem Cell TransplantationTM (HST) technique details are presented here.  It does make logical sense to me that some leftover stem cells regenerate donor hair while the transplanted/ moved stem cells also grow hair in the previously barren recipient area.  Dr. Gho has also had his work published in some prestigious journals (e.g., see here and here and here).

My Thoughts

I initially used the word “maybe” in the title of this post, when describing Dr. Gho as being the original hair regenerator. This was because ever since Dr. Gho came on the scene, a number of other hair transplant surgeons have claimed to be able to do the same.   However, most of these surgeons have little evidence to support their claims or are just in the initial research and experimentation phase of their work. Some studies do describe successful hair regeneration from transected follicles.

This is not to say that Dr. Gho’s results are as revolutionary as one would have expected after all the great publicity he has received and after the initial excitement generated from his journal publications. I have serious doubts about how successful his regeneration/hair multiplication is (hence my use of the word “maybe” in the title of this post).

Online hair loss forum posts have largely been skeptical about Dr. Gho’s ability to regenerate hair via his “partial longitudinal follicular unit transplantation (PL-FUT)” Hair Stem Cell TransplantationTM technique.  Some people think that even if the technique works, in all likelihood the donor hair and the recipient hair will both be thinner than normal (one of the studies from Dr. Gho that I linked to earlier concludes that the hair in both sites is of the same original thickness and caliber).

A number of hair transplant surgeons such as Dr. Ray Woods and Dr. William Rassman (via the no longer operating hasci-exposed website) have also expressed serious doubt about Dr. Gho’s technique.  Dr. Woods does suggest that he and others have seen a 5 percent regeneration of transected hair follicles, and this is a fascinating phenomenon.  Why can’t scientists/surgeons do better than 5 percent?

Irrespective of the probability of HST regenerating donor hair or not, most of Dr. Gho’s patients who have posted online seem to like their hair transplant results, so thankfully he at the very least seems to be a good hair transplant surgeon.