It is true that hair transplant surgery has a respectable number of successful cases that it earned a reputation as a reliable solution for hair loss. However, its complexity and demand for high surgical competency makes it an expensive endeavor. This is one of the reasons why some people try to work their way around it to get it at a cheaper price.
But did you know that this can be a recipe for disaster? Before you jump into any decision, read and understand how you could be ruining your chances at a successful hair transplant result.
Here are seven common mistakes that you must avoid.
1. You don’t take the time to find a good surgeon
Finding a surgeon is a like looking for a champion. There are several hair transplant surgeons in Sydney alone, but not everyone may see the same vision you have in mind. Therefore, it pays to have someone understand your aesthetics, someone who is open to answer your questions, and one who listens carefully to your goals and expectations. For that, you need to make the effort to find a professional whose approach can address your concerns. He should be able to champion your cause, the kind of approach you prefer to use, and the care you want to be given throughout the process.
However, don’t easily invest on slick talk right off the bat. Look at hard evidence to prove all that is being said. Proof may come as the following:
Remember that you are not only looking for a surgeon, but a hair transplant surgeon. Cosmetic surgery may be considered the “wild west” of medicine with less than qualified doctors coming in, but you can always outsmart the system. Turn on your inner sleuth and look at all the sources available to you – be it through word-of-mouth, print, or online. You may check the ISHRS (International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery) website to check the doctor’s background, his years of experience, and affiliations.
- Board Certification
To earn these certifications, one must pass written and oral examinations to be considered. This is only open to surgeons who have performed a certain number of hair transplants, have proof of their training, and can provide proof of their caseloads. It is also important that a doctor regularly attends conferences to be updated about the advances in his field. This is also a reflection of their commitment to education, ongoing training, and constant improvement in their specialty.
Experience would tell you for how long the doctor has been in practice and if he consistently delivers reliable results. Specifically ask about his experience in performing hair transplants and not just the mere practice in medicine. His experience in the types of hair transplant approach (FUT or FUE) he uses is also vital information to clarify, especially if you are particular about the level of invasiveness.
Checking a hair transplant surgeon’s previous work is an important part of your research process. Don’t hesitate to ask for before and after photos from the doctor you are considering. If possible, try to ask if you can meet some of his previous patients in person. Being able to personally assess the result of a past patient allows you a better picture of the surgeon’s quality of work.
2. Going for the “Yes Man”
It feels good to have someone understand our concerns especially during one’s desperation to find a solution. However, in hair transplant surgery, it is a reality that not all things often go the way you want it to. In some cases, a hair transplant may not always be the best choice at the moment. A good surgeon, or an ethical one rather, is someone who will tell it to you frankly and not someone who will just readily give in to what you ask without considering whether if it is appropriate or not.
For example, some patients want to fill in bald areas, but a trained and experienced physician would know that by just filling in bald areas creates an unnatural appearance as natural hair loss progresses. As mentioned earlier, our hair transplant surgeon is our champion, and he should be able to hold that position even if it meant saying no.
Qualified surgeons are those who are not only trained in surgical hair restoration, but also understands natural hair loss patterns. They are those who are keen to educate patients on what constitutes a natural hairline. He is a true advocate if he knows when to call you out on a premature decision.
3. Settling for shadow surgeries
With the increase in hair transplant surgeries today, so has the number of shadow surgeries. These are the types of sessions where the surgery, which is to be done by a doctor, is being performed by the technicians. What ends up happening in these situations is the surgeon just consults and doesn’t do the extraction or the site preparation (slit-making process) which is recommended by hair transplant associations like the ISHRS. Therefore, during your consultation, make it clear with your surgeon as to who is going to do these two steps.
4. Falling for the bait
Ethical practice is something that some shady practitioners simply choose to ignore. Be wary of clinics who have hard driving salesman to push you into signing up for a surgery which most surgeons would otherwise think is dangerous or inappropriate. Ethical judgement on when to operate and when not to is very important.
5. Failure to search for reputable clinics
When looking for a reputable clinic, be sure to keep a good eye out for red flags – from your internet search right down to your consultation. Here are the things you should look out for:
- False claims and advertising, like pain-free procedures.
- Failure to assess your for medical conditions that may have caused your baldness.
- The clinic doesn’t specialize solely on hair restoration and dabble on other procedures.
- You are not consulted by the surgeon himself.
- A clinic with a “factory” type of environment where each case is given a cookie-cutter approach.
6. Refusing to take the extra measure to see if you are a suitable candidate
In our own experience, we are often sent photos by clients to ask us for opinion or advice. However, photos alone are not enough to assess if you would be a “good” candidate for surgery. It is important that you see a doctor in person. A personal consultation allows the surgeon to closely inspect your hair and even advise on which appropriate blood tests should be taken to check the root cause of one’s hair loss.
The fact that you are losing hair doesn’t automatically earn you a spot on the operating table. Prudence dictates that a patient should not be allowed to undergo the surgery if several factors show that he is not a suitable candidate.
7. Constantly looking for a bargain
Looking for the best value for your money is always wise, however, being constantly on the hunt for a bargain might place you in a precarious situation.
To be a wise consumer, it is always important to see what the standard rates are in your area. This gives you the baseline from which you assess the price every clinic advertises. If you want the biggest bang for your buck with hair transplant surgery, don’t easily settle for what’s cheap. Learn to look at the fine print and other finer details in the background.
Also remember that price doesn’t necessarily reflect quality, so even if a clinic comes with a higher rate, still be keen to dig deeper.
We hope that you take these reminders into account during your consultation. Your hair restoration journey, should you choose surgery, is one that should be taken with the proper precautions. Aside from the cost, you are also dealing with finite resources.
So, allow me to leave you with these questions:
What other concerns do you have about this procedure?
Do you think you are on the right track for success in your surgical hair restoration journey?