Higher Standards of Seeing Hair Transplants: Sylvester Stallone and the movie Creed
Many patients are justly worried that they could look fake after a hair transplant given the long legacy of plugs, scars, toupees, and a host of other bad hair transplant results that have scared off the public. That is one of the reasons why I have filmed so many videos in close-up HD to show how difficult it is to see the donor incisions or how natural the transplanted hairs are even at 1 foot away from the camera. However, what is interesting is that people don’t understand that their level of scrutiny is actually quite low. Here’s an example: when I was watching the movie Creed, in about one second I noticed that Sylvester Stallone was wearing a hairpiece. My hair transplant coordinator, Emina Karamanovski Vance, also confirmed that was the case when I asked her if she had seen the movie. Interestingly, every patient that I asked who saw the movie never noticed it. Most people that see fake-looking hair systems, hairpieces, or toupees, are used to the old-style hairpiece that looks like a dead animal on the head. The new systems are woven and far more natural in appearance. However, there are subtle cues that only an experienced hair surgeon can see. Emina has been doing hair transplant for 25 years now, and I have been doing hair transplant for 15 years now. We have been together for almost the entire time I have been in practice. In my first 2 to 3 years, she would point out fake results, and I simply could not see them as such. The reason is that I had not built up enough hours of experience to see these subtly unnatural results. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000-hour rule, which has been perhaps over played in the media. However, I do believe that it can take some time to develop an eye for subtly unnatural results. I recently showed one of my hair transplant technicians a photo on Facebook of someone I deemed who had a very bad hair transplant. I asked if she could see anything wrong with the photo. She said that it looked fine to her. Now I want you to know that she is one of my best technicians who has been doing hair restoration with us for a decade. Why could she not see this obvious problem? The simple reason is that she is focused on performing the most precise graft dissection and graft placement and not on designing hairlines or creating natural results. She is one of my best technicians, so I am not speaking ill of her. But that just goes to show that even my best technician may not be able to spot what Emina and I would obviously deem fake.
The bottom line is that when you are worried about having a fake result, I always say your standards of naturalness are way too low. You can only spot 4 out of 10 results that look fake, whereas I will be able to spot all 10 results. Accordingly, don’t be afraid of having a fake result with me. Even if you had a transplant elsewhere and it is not of the highest caliber and even if you are very satisfied with it, I will probably show you where I could do better in the design and execution.