Surgical Hair Restoration: What to Look for in a Surgeon
Realize that hair transplantation is a team effort. During your procedure
the surgeon will remove the donor tissue from the back of your scalp, suture
the area closed, and then hand the tissue to his or her technicians to dissect
it into grafts. The grafts are then placed by a team of technicians with the
guidance of the surgeon. This practice of using medical technicians to perform
hair transplantation as a team effort is what makes it possible to perform
large sessions that place thousands of grafts in a single procedure.
To begin your search, you might contact the International Alliance of Hair
Restoration Surgeons (http://www.iahrs.org),
a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair
transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to
doctors practicing hair transplantation, and is the only group that recognizes
that all surgeons and surgical teams are not equal in their skill and
Next, ask prospective surgeons how long they have been working with their
team. The larger clinics have a much higher staff turnover rate, so it's
usually best to go with the smaller individual practitioner or group. Also, the
better medical technicians usually gravitate to the smaller practices.
You should also keep the following in mind:
1. Can your hair transplant doctor provide you with a minimum of 10
sets of before and after photos taken at the same angle, the same background,
and the same lighting? These picture specifications are important to ensure
that there are no possible discrepancies when looking at individual cases.
Be sure that the photos provide a clear view of the hairline, as well as the
mid anterior scalp (the top between the hair line and crown). Also, ask if the
doctor can provide you with photographs of donor scars, which are left behind
on the back of the scalp after the strip of hair-bearing tissue is removed for
2. Ask for the names and phone numbers of at least six patients you
can contact to discuss their experiences with the hair transplant physician and
staff that you are considering. If possible, ask to speak with two physicians
who have had the procedure performed by the hair transplant doctor you are
Last but not least, ask to meet patients who have similar hair and skin
characteristics as you. It is very important to view patients with these
similar characteristics to assess the hair transplant physician's ability to
provide you with a realistic and beneficial outcome.
3. If the hair transplant doctor or hair transplant group you are
considering claims to be performing follicular unit hair transplantation, ask
the following questions:
a. Are the grafts microscopically dissected? b. Do all the technicians use stereo-microscopes? c. How long have the technicians been using microscopes to dissect
follicular units? d. How many stereo-microscopes are being used during a procedure? e. Does your hair transplant doctor use a single-bladed knife to excise
the donor strip? You want the answer to be "yes."