Heredity is one of the most common causes of hair loss, but poor diet, hormonal imbalances, medications, skin disorders, stress and illness can also be to blame. If you’re suffering from hair loss and are considering hair restoration surgery, these guidelines will help you find the best surgeon for the procedure. It is especially important these days to find an experienced surgeon who performs the procedure him/herself, rather than outsourcing it to technicians who are hired by the day, using devices that are marketed as the main attraction.
Look for a Hair Restoration Surgeon with Strong Qualifications
You can check with several reputable organizations to find qualified hair restoration surgeons:
- American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS)
- International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS)
- International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS)
Of these three, the ABHRS is the only board that has diplomates that are required to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as present a larger number of actual cases performed.
Consider Going Small
Small practices have less turnover, allowing a surgeon to develop strong bonds with their teams. Highly skilled surgeons tend to build just sort of these practices, rather than working in a large practice as an employee. Choosing a practice where hair restoration is the primary surgery performed ensures the doctor and other staff members are wholly focused on and experienced in cases like yours. Furthermore, make sure that the technicians who work with your surgeon are LICENSED. The ISHRS, the world’s largest specialty society devoted to hair restoration, is successfully working at the states’ and federal levels to mandate that all surgical steps of the procedure be performed by a licensed clinician- doctor or Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant.
Make the Most of Your Consultation
Meet directly with the surgeon at the practice you choose for your hair restoration surgery, whether in person or, if the practice has a large international clientele, by webcam. Only the person performing the surgery can give adequate answers to your questions about which conditions they specialize in addressing, the types of procedures available, and how the surgery is performed, and to hear your goals and make recommendations.
Examine the Before and Afters
If the surgeon can’t show you 10 to 12 sets of before and after pictures from previous procedures just like yours- whether male or female, scalp or eyebrows, primary or revision, Caucasian or other ethnicity- each giving a clear look at the patients from all sides, you may want to move on. Pictures should show the whole head and use the same lighting and angles for before and afters.
Gauge Patient Satisfaction
Read testimonials, maybe meet a patient or two through the practice, and whatever else you can do to get feedback about the doctor, the team and the procedure, and find out how satisfied they were with the results of their surgeries. Online reviews can provide additional input to inform your final decision- and please do not be swayed by one or two negative reviews when there are hundreds to even thousands of positive reviews- every doctor has a few cases where, for a variety of reasons, patient satisfaction is not achieved.
You should expect your hair doctor to also be experienced in all aspects of treating hair loss, including capable of determining if a specific medical problem is to blame for your hair loss. Treating the underlying cause can help prevent further hair loss and pave the way for successful hair restoration. As a patient, you deserve to be treated not just as another hair transplant, but as an individual deserving of attentive and experienced care from you doctor.