The Cleveland Clinic’s become world-renowned for making all kinds of medical advances, not the least of which is milking huge donations from rich, dead guys like Al Lerner. Now it looks as though they might have a use for dead guys with shallow pockets too – as long as they had rich head covering while alive.
During last month’s convention of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery in Las Vegas, Clinic researcher Maria Siemionow, a pioneer in the science of organ and facial transplants, presented research which suggests it may be possible to transplant the entire scalp from a cadaver onto a living person.
Ideally the procedure would help to restore the appearance of a severe burn or trauma victim. But for a group of “hairline restoration specialists,” there’s nothing more traumatic than somebody cracking jokes about your hair plugs.
“It’s a little wonky,” says ISHRS spokesperson Paul Cotterill, himself a hair-transplant surgeon in Toronto. “But if you can do a liver transplant, why can’t you do a hair transplant?”
Still, it could be years before he’s able to offer it to his patients. Siemionow has successfully performed a partial-scalp transplant on a pair of lab rats (the subjects nicknamed “Don King” and “Divot”), but has yet to start testing on humans. “This is really futuristic,” he says. – Jason Nedley