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:
- 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).
- 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).
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.