Medicine: The Scalpers

Painful "cure"for baldpates

Pat, in his 20s with thinning dark hair, sits in the doctor's chair, his scalp red, scarred, infected. Dermatologist Marvin Lepaw and an aide hover over him. Slowly, methodically, using magnifying glass and tweezers, they pluck out one hair after another. The agonizing scene in Lepaw's Hicksville, N.Y., office is not an isolated incident. Doctors round the country are now trying to undo the dangerous fallout from yet another quack treatment for baldness: the implanting of synthetic fibers into the scalp.

Lured by ads promising a lush head of hair, perhaps 20,000 desperate men and women have spent up to...

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