What should I look for in a hair transplant surgeon?
Dec, 18 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
There have been numerous advancements in hair transplant surgery techniques in the last two decades. Hair transplant surgeries are now minimally invasive, and deliver the most natural-looking and aesthetically-pleasing results. However, hair transplant is also big business, and consumers have multiple choices when it comes to surgeons and clinics. These clinics are vying for consumer attention and spending a lot of marketing dollars on catchy advertising across television, radio, newspapers, as well as the Internet. This means that patients need to be vigilant and make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the right surgeon.
All hair transplant patients must know that nothing can replace the skill, education, in-depth knowledge, and the experience of a surgeon and the team they work with. Hair transplant surgeries have to be performed by qualified experts, and patients should be careful of flashy advertisements and do their due diligence before zeroing in on a doctor and a clinic. Here's some key points to remember while finding the right doctor for you:
The first and foremost thing is to do your own research. What we mean by that is that don’t just ask everyone around; hair transplant is a specialised topic, just because someone has hair fall or knows about hair fall doesn’t mean they will also know about transplants. Instead, read up about hair fall from trusted sources, understand why it happens, read hair transplant blogs, go to discussion forums, and talk to former patients there. If you know somebody, who's had a procedure earlier speak to them about their experience.
It is ideal to avoid seeking a recommendation on a surgeon from your hair salon or your hair stylist, or from someone who's not undergone the procedure themselves. An overload of information on the Internet means that many people you know will have an opinion on your procedure and who you should get it from. Hair salons may also have tie-ups with certain clinics or surgeons.
It is also not advisable to seek information from your family physician or your dermatologist since they may not be informed about hair transplant surgery either. Hair transplant is a very specialised procedure, and your family physician or your dermatologist may not necessarily have the right information, and they will not understand the complexities of it, and they don’t have any technical expertise.
As we mentioned earlier, there are also clinics, with massive spending budgets for advertisements. and patients, who are vulnerable, often fall for these. A flashy advertisement doesn't necessarily mean that the clinic can deliver the best results.
So, you may ask if you cannot trust your physician, your dermatologist, your hairstylist, or even your friends or family then whose advice should you seek. If you know somebody who's had the procedure before, you may seek their advice but you don’t have to necessarily follow exactly what they say, supplement their information with your own research.
Once your primary research is done, the next and crucial step is to call doctors and clinics that you have shortlisted. Seek pictures and information on previous hair transplants. If it is possible, ask them for ‘before and after’ photographs of their patients, ask about the surgeon's experience, their education, as well as about the team that they work with. It is important that the team that assists the surgeon is also well-experienced because they're a crucial part of the surgery. When choosing a surgeon, pick somebody who has an expertise in hair transplants and is not just a dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon. Certain cosmetic surgeons offer hair transplant services as well. But it is not advisable to go with them because hair transplants are not their primary speciality.
Another important step before choosing the right surgeon is the consultation appointment. Even if the surgeon has a degree from a very good institute, and has plenty of experience, always set up a consultation interview. During the consultation you get an opportunity to get to know your doctor, to discuss the history of your hair fall. The doctor can also discuss your lifestyle, your food habits, your medical history, and determine the cause of hair loss. During the consultation, the doctor also gets a chance to determine whether your hair loss is genetic or not. Oftentimes, hair loss is caused by a certain medical condition, by an illness, a sudden shock to the body, or nutritional deficiencies. These types of hair fall are reversible and may not need a transplant. These can be treated using medication or through lifestyle changes. However, if the doctor says that your hair loss type is genetic and that you're a good candidate for a transplant, only then should you go ahead with it.
The consultation is also an opportunity for your surgeon to set the right expectations. Not every hair transplant procedure is the same; the results of your hair transplant depend on the quality of your hair, the availability of donor follicles, your age, the shape of your face, the size of your head, the extent of hair fall or baldness etc. If you feel that the doctor is not setting realistic expectations, and is promising that you will suddenly have a superstar mane, then perhaps you should get a second opinion.
Another important thing while choosing the hair transplant surgeon, and the clinic is the quality and availability of aftercare. Some clinics offer transplant surgeries at throwaway prices, which may be because they don't offer any aftercare. This is especially important for patients who may be traveling to another city or another country for their procedure.
Even though hair transplants are a minimally invasive procedure, which don't require you to stay in a hospital for long, you may still need to spend a few hours, or perhaps a day at the hospital or the clinic.
Lastly, check the price of the hair transplant with the surgeon. Sometimes a hair transplant may sound really cheap but that may be because the surgeon or the clinic is charging per follicle. However, one follicle can contain two to three hairs, which implies that the actual price will be higher than what is being quoted. It is important that you have these discussions with your doctor right at the beginning during the consultation. You should always seek clarity on how many grafts or follicles will you need, how many sessions, and how much the procedure will finally cost.
If you're looking for a corrective procedure, or a second or a third hair transplant surgery, you may want to check the doctors experience with performing those specific procedures.
If a hair transplant surgeon has never performed a corrective procedure or has not done touch-up surgeries, they might not be adept at doing so. In that case, you will need to find someone with the requisite experience.
Only when you are completely satisfied that the surgeon meets all the criteria and is the right doctor for you, should you go ahead with it. After all, hair transplants can dramatically change your appearance, and only a good surgeon can ensure that you get the best results.