How to Find the Best Hair Transplant Surgeon
Not only do we get patients from the greater Los Angeles area and all of California, we also see patients from the rest of the United States and other countries. Although many people are willing to travel to find the best hair transplant center for treatment of their baldness, some may prefer to find a local doctor. Here are some qualifying points to help you find the right hair transplant surgeon for your hair restoration needs:
Ask the surgeon about their medical background. Proper training in dermatology and plastic surgery are not always sufficient. Hair restoration has its own training and mentorship programs. Find out about the prior training of the doctor to see if he/she has proper fellowship training in hair restoration. There are a few centers that are approved hair transplant fellowship centers by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS).
Your doctor should be licensed in the state in which they practice medicine. Most hair transplant doctors are board-certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS) or the Fellowship of the International Society of Hair Restoration (FISHRS):
- ABHRS – The American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery is the only qualifying board certification for hair transplant surgeons. Some of the qualifying factors for the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery are hair restoration training either through fellowship training or experience gained over many years performing hair restoration surgery. Candidates must provide documentation of a minimum number of hair restoration procedures performed by the physician themselves. In addition, candidates for board certification must pass a written and oral examination. You can check the board certification status of your doctor through the ABHRS Find a Physician section of their website.
- FISHRS – The Fellowship of the International Society of Hair Restoration is a recognizing certification established in 2012 by ISHRS in order to recognize members that possess an exceptional set of educational criteria, leadership positions, scientific achievements, publications and a quest for excellence in the field of hair restoration. An ISHRS fellow must meet established criteria over time to maintain their fellowship status. You can check the list of fellows of ISHRS here.
It’s important to make sure your hair transplant surgeon has enough relevant experience to give you the results you desire. Experience does not always translate to years performing surgery. In the last few years, the field of hair restoration has undergone a radical transformation and many doctors who have been performing hair restoration for years had to fine-tune and upgrade their skills. The best hair transplant surgeons are the ones who have years of experience but have kept current with the most advanced hair restoration techniques. Experience, education and innovation go hand in hand and are the main elements of a technologically advanced hair restoration practice.
4. Method of Performing a Hair Transplant
Choose a doctor who is familiar with different hair restoration techniques rather than one who is only comfortable with one technique. This allows him/her to be flexible and make the best choice for your hair restoration needs. You should also ask questions to make sure the doctor is knowledgeable about the technique he wants to perform. For example, if the doctor wants to perform follicular unit transplant through follicular unit extraction (FUE), you need to ask the following questions:
- Are the grafts extracted using microscopic or automated methods?
- Is the doctor the one who extracts the grafts?
- What is the role of the technicians in the procedure?
- Does the doctor employ different methods to extract hair?
If the doctor wants to perform a hair restoration through FUT, ask the following questions:
- Are the grafts microscopically dissected?
- Do all the technicians use stereo-microscopes?
- How long have the technicians been using microscopes to dissect follicular units?
- Do you use several methods of graft extraction or only one?
Ask to see plenty of before and after photos of previous patients who had the same technique you are considering. Make sure to ask the doctor which technique was used to achieve the results in the various photos.
Open houses are great places to meet the previous patients of a doctor. If your doctor offers one, attend it and be prepared to examine the transplanted areas of the previous patients. The goal of a successful hair transplant is that you should not be able to detect the transplanted area from a natural and full head of hair.
You can also ask the office if you can visit and talk with any previous patients in person. If the practice is open to it, this will give you the best chance to see the results in person and also ask a real patient any questions you might have about the procedure.
6. Word of Mouth
There is nothing better than hearing about a practice from a family member or a friend who had a great experience with that office. Although some people may not be open about their hair transplants, there might be someone in your close circle of friends/family who does not mind discussing his experience.
An alternative to word of mouth is online reviews. Use reputable online sources to find more information about hair transplants and the practice. You can check doctor reviews on some specialty sites such as Hair Transplant Network, The Bald Truth and Realself.
7. Consultation Appointment
You can do plenty of research before choosing a hair transplant doctor but your search is not complete until you make an appointment to meet the doctor in person. Discuss the procedure with the doctor after doing your homework and educating yourself about the hair transplant process.
8. Innovation and Research
The field of hair transplant is still relatively new in cosmetic medicine and is evolving daily. The doctors who want the best for their patients usually do not stick with the status quo. They have to use the most advanced techniques of hair restoration while constantly looking for new and better ways to perform a hair transplant. It’s easy to identify these hair transplant surgeons thanks to their volume of research, publication and presentations.
9. What to Ask During Your Consultation Appointment
There are a number of questions you should ask your doctor during your consultation appointment and they include:
- Am I a candidate for a hair transplant?
- Are you the actual physician that will perform the surgery and, if not, which part of the procedure will involve the use of assistants?
- What is involved in my examination before making a hair restoration recommendation?
- How will your hair restoration plan help me down the road and what else do I need to do to maintain a full head of hair?
- What method do you recommend for extraction of my donor hair and why?
- How many follow-up doctor appointments do I have after my hair transplant?
- Is there any limitation to the number of appointments I have, besides my scheduled follow-up appointments?
- Anything else I should expect after my hair transplant?
10. Warning Signs When Choosing a Hair Transplant Surgeon
When finding a surgeon to perform your hair restoration, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you don’t make a choice that doesn’t deliver the results you desire. Some of these steps include:
- Don’t ask your family doctor or dermatologist for a referral as they might not understand the scope of what is involved in a hair transplant
- Don’t just rely on searching “best hair transplant surgeon near me” on Google instead of doing proper research
- Don’t always trust a medical group you see advertised on TV as their ad might not demonstrate their true knowledge and surgical skills
- Don’t just find the closest doctor to your home for your hair restoration procedure
Hair restoration is a big investment in terms of time and money. Great results are within your reach and will remian with you throughout your life. It is therefore worth investing a little more of your time and energy to find the best hair transplant surgeon to meet your needs.