Written by Roy Turse
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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

image for Louis Walsh's new hair makes him look 40 years younger claims orang-utan hair transplant pioneer
Orang-utan follicular xenotransplantation is a relatively new procedure, and is usually limited to close colour matches

Following Louis Walsh's surprising new hairstyle as seen on The X-Factor, details are now emerging of the controversial procedure he has undertaken to achieve the effect. And the scientist behind the process, Doctor Ronan Westboys, has spoken out about it.

Orang-utan hair transplantation was developed at the Lifezone clinic in the Swiss Alps, but is currently banned in many parts of the world. Xenotransplantation - the transfer of living cells from one species to another - is carefully controlled but has allowed the use of animal organs in human transplants to save lives when no human organs are available.

Doctor Westboys claims that Mr Walsh's TV personality 'life' was saved by the procedure. "He was unlikely to get another series of X-Factor without something drastic being done," the Doctor has contested, "This was a necessary medical intervention."

It is thought that Louis Walsh travelled to Switzerland in April to have the series of operations. But there was apparently some doubt as to whether he would be eligible for the procedure.

"The donor material is very specific in colour and texture, so is not suitable for everyone," Doctor Westboys explained, "We had achieved good results with Mick Hucknall and we have several potential recipients in mind for the future - Damian Lewis, Rupert Grint, even a certain royal. But this was more of a borderline match."

Doctor Westboys continued: "If the donor and recipient are not a good match there is the danger of rejection. Naturally we are monitoring the situation and we will have to reverse the procedure if it becomes apparent that the orang-utan hair is rejecting Mr Walsh."

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