- What are the risks associated with having a non-doctor perform a hair transplant surgery?
- Permanent disfigurement, poor or no hair growth, surgical complications, and even death from anesthesia overdose etc. can result if unqualified and unskilled non doctors perform a hair transplant. Non doctors are also unlikely to have the training and experience to adequately manage any medical complications that may occur during or after the procedure, especially if a patient has existing medical problems like heart disease, diabetes, etc.
Most Doctors in the U.S. complete at least 4 years of undergraduate college and 4 years of medical school after high school. Then they go through years of specialty training after medical school. Surgery is among the longest of training programs because it takes years to develop good surgical skills and judgment. Then there are the rigorous tests given to get state medical licenses, board certification, etc. This is to make sure doctors meet a level of safety and competence for the patient. Non doctors have an unknown and likely substandard level of safety and competence because they have not undergone the rigorous years of training and testing that most doctors go through.
- What are the factors behind a successful operation?
- Proper patient selection, proper planning, qualified and well skilled experienced doctors and staff, and the use of high quality surgical supplies and equipment all factor into producing the best results.
Hair transplantation is also a mix of art and science, so a great hair transplant surgeon must not only have the necessary surgical skills and training but also an artistic eye.
- How permanent are the results? Could the patient need a second procedure after a while?
- Results are generally considered permanent so proper planning and technique are essential to producing natural looking results.
Depending on density desired, the patient may want to come back at some point for a second procedure.
Also, while the transplanted hairs are generally permanent, the other hairs remaining around the transplanted area may continue to thin out without maintenance therapy such as finasteride or minoxidil as male pattern baldness (aka Androgenic Alopecia) is a progressive disease. This may also cause the patient to desire a second procedure at some point if they are not on any maintenance therapy after the initial procedure.
- Which patient profile is the right fit for the operation?
- Patients need to have adequate donor hairs as well as realistic expectations on what to expect given the availability of donor and the current stage of baldness. The patient should also be free from underlying diseases that may also cause hair loss other than androgenic alopecia. These untreated diseases may cause the transplant to fail if not properly diagnosed and treated beforehand.
- How should a patient choose the right doctor and the clinic?
- Patients should seek out doctors with experience, background and training in hair transplantation. The International Society of Hair Restoration (ISHRS) is “dedicated to achieving excellence in patient outcomes by promoting the highest standards of medical practice, medical ethics, and research in the medical hair restoration industry.” Being a member of the ISHRS and completing a hair transplant fellowship that is approved by the ISHRS indicates that the doctor has the training and experience to meet those standards.
Of course, results are most important to the patients so seeing good before and after pics, seeing live patients who have had hair transplants, talking with former patients, meeting or talking with the doctor, etc. can help one choose the best doctor for them.
- Can you talk a bit about your experience in the field?
- As of this writing, I have over 17+ years experience in hair transplantation with 10+ years of practice being strictly focused in hair transplantation only. I also have over 26 years experience as a surgeon and have completed an ISHRS approved hair transplant fellowship.
- Is there anything you would like to add?
Because of the health risks as well as the risk of poor results and permanent disfigurement from poorly performed hair transplants, patients should be urged to research and seek out the best and most qualified doctor that they feel comfortable with rather than trying to save a little money finding the cheapest place with non doctors performing the surgery.