It goes without saying that perhaps the most important factor in a successful hair transplant surgery is the chief surgeon performing the surgery. While all good surgeons work with a team that assist in the harvesting, dissecting and implanting of hair grafts, the ultimate decisions are made by the chief surgeon.
Due to the fact Hair Transplants aren’t carried out under general anaesthetic and are financially lucrative many cosmetic surgeons with little training will claim to be an expert in the field of hair transplant or hair restoration. This is not so. A cosmetic surgeon is not trained and educated to the level of a plastic surgeon and furthermore not all plastic surgeon’s have the added training and experience to specialize in Hair Transplant Surgery.
Choosing a surgeon that is right for you should come down to no less than these 5 factors:
Credentials - What credentials on top of training as a plastic surgeon has the surgeon attained? Meaning, does the surgeon have added training and qualifications as a hair transplant surgeon? Are they licensed by the appropriate medical boards? Are they members of the relevant surgical bodies they practice under? If the answer is no to any of these then this is could be a red flag of caution.
Experience – How many years has the surgeon been in practice? As with all surgeries the more experience a surgeon has the better skilled they will be to perform the surgery. A rule of thumb is to be weary of anyone without at least a decade of experience. 10 years is not a lot of time in the medical profession and this is particularly so in the surgical field. Surgeons generally do not strike out on their own within the first 10 years after graduation unless they have experienced a problem they may be hiding. Most surgeons spend at least 8 years in residency at a major hospital (under the tutelage of a chief surgeon) before launching their own clinic. If this is not the case for your surgeon, it would be wise to question why.
Dedication – Is Hair Transplantation the surgeon’s primary field of work or do they work in other fields and then perform Hair Transplant surgeries when the opportunity arises? You will be surprised to find that many hair transplant surgeons spend more of their time performing other plastic and cosmetic surgeries and only do Hair Transplants occasionally.
Cost – Of course a feature all must consider is the total procedure cost. Is your surgeon’s clinic being upfront with the total costs? Is the cost considerably higher than their peers or even worse are they suspiciously cheap? A surgeon whose costs are considerably cheaper than their competition is often a sign that they are not well staffed enough to provide an optimal outcome or worse are taking shortcuts in other areas. Hair Transplants are a highly competitive field, but all clinics still have cost bases they must cover in order to provide a high level of service and a safe, satisfactory procedure.
Features – Does your surgeon provide any additional features. For instance, will they make sure to sterilize your scalp in the days following surgery? Many clinics simply perform the surgery and send you on your way with a list of care instructions. A reputable clinic however will require you to come back for at least the 3 days following surgery to have your scalp washed and disinfected in order to ensure there are no roadblocks to your hair growth. Another option that reputable surgeons will provide is PRP injections. PRP injections or Platelet Rich Plasma injections have been found to increase the likelihood of dense hair regrowth and at the same time decrease the hair growth time line. Some reputable surgeons will include either 1 or a series of PRP injections during your recovery timetable to encourage maximum hair growth.
There are of course other factors that you may use to decide whether a surgeon is appropriate for your hair transplant surgery. If you at the very least stick to the 5 major items listed above and investigate these avenues properly, you will likely find a qualified and skilled hair transplant surgeon to perform your procedure.