Avoiding a Bad Hair Transplant: Hair Transplant Guide to Avoiding Problems and Mistakes
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of horror stories about hair transplantation. Many men and women have had procedures done that have produced less than optimal results and poor growth. Dr. Brian Goertz has repaired many individuals who have suffered with bad or “botched” hair transplants performed at other clinics. Dr. Goertz put together some basic information to help men and women make the best choice for hair transplantation the first time and to help them avoid possible hair restoration problems and mistakes.
Using this information will help you wade through the advertising and misinformation and help you find one of the few qualified hair restoration surgeons who will be able to help you.
Choose an experienced Hair Transplant surgeon
There are approximately 100 hair restoration surgeons in the United States who have dedicated their practice solely to hair restoration and practice hair transplantation full-time. Of those, approximately 70 of them, are Board Certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons (http://www.abhrs.com/abhrs-membership-directory). The ABHRS is the only medical board organization recognized by The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (http://www.ishrs.org/). An experienced hair restoration surgeon who practices hair transplantation full-time should be able to show you the results they have personally produced.
Avoid clinics who dabble in or practice Hair Restoration Part-Time
Hair transplantation is not an easy specialty in which to achieve exceptional results. It involves not only artistic and surgical ability of an experienced surgeon but also a well-trained and experienced surgical team. Everything from the design and planning of the transplant area, how the grafts are harvested and delicately handled, to the meticulous creation of the recipient sites and placement of the grafts, affects the survival and ultimate results which you will wear for the rest of your life. All of these skills are developed, refined and then finally perfected through daily experience over the course of years. A clinic not dedicated solely to hair restoration will not have the skill to perform a procedure properly or achieve results which are natural and will stand the test of time.
Identifying part-time Hair Transplant Clinics
- They offer other procedures other than hair transplantation.
- No or few before and after hair transplant pictures on their website.
- Watch out for physicians who have become internet savvy and have a variety of websites promoting different procedures.
- When you find a clinic or doctor, do an internet search of his/her name to find out more about them and the type of practice they have.
- Search the internet to find out about their reputation.
- Look at the results of their patients in the before and after hair transplant galleries. If they don’t have photos or only a few, ask why?
- Are the websites about education and learning or just sales?
Avoid Unethical Hair Transplant Practices
As you do your research, investigate solutions for your hair loss and consider hair transplantation, you need to be aware of clinics that are unethically performing surgery on many individuals. The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (http://www.ishrs.org/) currently has a warning (http://www.ishrs.org/article/consumer-alert) about these clinics which are often owned and operated by non-physicians and in which the majority of the hair transplant procedure is performed by individuals with little or no medical background. Currently many of these organizations advertise a “non-scarring” procedure, trying to pit the different methods of harvesting the hair against each other (FUE vs FUT). Many good surgeons are beginning to see more patients who are dissatisfied or have been harmed by non-reputable practices. This is concerning and disheartening not only for the patient but also for those of us who have dedicated our practice to hair transplantation and have worked diligently to have this very specialized area of medical practice and cosmetic surgery enter mainstream medicine. Please read the alert at the http://ISHRS.org to become educated in how to avoid these unethical hair transplant practices.
Spotting an Unethical Hair Transplant Practice
So how do you spot an unethical hair transplant practice?
- They promise no scarring.
- They say FUE is an upgrade to FUT. (See FUE-FUT comparison)
- They promise a full head of hair.
- They promise that you can go back to work the next day.
- You meet with a sales person or consultant, not directly with the doctor. (Ask yourself: What other surgical procedure would you meet with anyone but the doctor who will perform your surgery?)
- They are selling you on a machine or robot (Neograft or Artas) for your procedure, not a doctor’s skill, experience ability.
- The clinic is owned and operated by a non-physician which employs physicians who are onsite but have little to do with the actual surgery.
Beware of Clinics who are promoting or have ever promoted a “NO SCAR” hair transplant procedure
There is no such thing as a hair transplant procedure without a scar. No matter how the hair is harvested for hair transplantation, if you shave the hair on your head, you will be able to see some form of scar. It is the shape of the scar/scars that differs between different procedures. An experienced and skilled hair transplant surgeon will educate you on all types of procedures and let you know which procedure would be best for you and why. An experienced and skilled hair transplant surgeon will also be able to perform either procedure leaving you with both the front and the back of your head looking great. And remember, the reason you are looking into hair transplantation in the first place is because you are concerned about the hair loss on the top of your head.
Do not Shop by Price alone
Shopping by price alone is not recommended. Remember, you are about to have a cosmetic surgical procedure, you should be picking for the surgeon’s skill and natural results that they show you they can achieve. In all likelihood you will pay a little more for a skilled surgeon but it does not mean that the most expensive is the best. It is important that you do your research. Narrow your choices down to the hair transplant doctors you feel most comfortable with then exclude the rest and know that not only are you comfortable with the person you choose but also that they have the experience and skill to produce the results that will look natural for you now and as you age. Hair Transplantation is worth it but only if it’s done correctly. Do not let the cost of a hair transplant cloud your vision as you do your research. Hair transplant cost is important but not as important as the hair transplant results you will wear for the rest of your life.
Hair Transplant Decision Time
Pick a hair transplant surgeon who practices full time. Beware of clinics that are not physician owned and operated. Avoid any clinic which promotes or has ever promoted a “No Scar” procedure. Don’t shop by price alone. Find a surgeon who takes his/her responsibility to you seriously and has a track record of producing great results for their patients. All surgeons have different artistic and surgical skills, even the full-time practicing board certified hair transplant surgeon. Look closely at results they personally have produced.
Both FUE and FUT procedures both have their place. The doctor will educate you on which one is best for you and why. Best wishes as you research hair transplantation and the results you can achieve.
Dr. Brian Goertz