There are only really three big errors to avoid in picking a hair transplant surgeon and careful research before you commit, all but assures you won’t experience at least two of these. One of these, scarring, can be a little unpredictable but you ought to be able to minimize your risk of terrible scars too.
Mistake 1 is a big scar. Careful surgical technique and strip width management usually limits significant scarring. Doctors have so many cases, that the prospective patient ought to be able to see a few examples of the doctor’s own scar results at the initial consultation, if not before, by viewing the doctor’s work on his website, videos, or forums. Simply stated, if you can’t find any examples, ask to see some. I am very vocal and have posted numerous times that each and every year I get about 8 perfect scars that you can’t see with a #1 cut, about 110 really nice scars that are easily covered with a #3 or #4, and 4 poor scars that need a #4 or 5. And I honestly tell people I just am not sure of who will get those 4 poor ones or I wouldn’t do them. So in general, the prospective hair transplant patient ought to have an idea of what scar ranges he might get after the initial visit.
Mistake 2 is too little hair over too much bald head. This takes the form of either spreading out donor hair so as to try to give a little hair all over or “preventative” hair transplants which some doctors say will let the patient avoid a big case and it can be repeated with future thinning, or the budget conscious patient/clinic trying to fit a hair restoration surgery to a payment plan. Hair is like sex and money for many people. You have to have enough to make you satisfied and that means, pack the area you are trying to address. If one doesn’t have enough donor hair to do everything, it’s far better to do the frontal third well than to sprinkle a little hair all over. About half of the patients we see at an initial visit have figured this out, of the half that haven’t, I can convince half of them of this reasoning. The hair loss forums are pretty good at educating people on this one too.
Mistake 3 is putting the hairline too low, particularly in a young guy who wants to look like all of his other 25 year old buddies, but who has the genetic probability of losing a lot of hair. I see this one all the time. You buy a hair transplant to last you decades. The hairline has to factor in your supply of donor hair and the best “guestimate” of future needs and eventual Norwood Scale pattern. The goal is to avoid leaving you with a hairline that looks cool at age 25 but looks goofy at 40 or 50.
Dr. William Lindsey
Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.
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