In a hairy job market, can transplants aid the balding?

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The recession has caused patient volume at cosmetic-surgery facilities to fall by a third, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. With money so tight, it’s hard for many people to contemplate spending thousands of dollars on face-lifts or boob jobs.

But when I attended an open house at the New Hair Institute in Century City last weekend, I found a waiting room full of guys who were willing to spend as much as $20,000 apiece to restore what nature was taking away.

In many cases, the motivation is vanity or self-esteem. But increasingly these days, another incentive for men to undergo hair-transplant surgery is a desire to be more competitive in a challenging job market.

“Society discriminates against bald people,” said Dr. William Rassman, who runs the New Hair Institute. “If you have two people coming in for a job, and one of them is partly bald, you’ll think that the one with hair has more youth and vitality.”

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