This is a popular question on the Internet and in our offices. Prospective patients want to know if hair transplantation really works. The short answer is yes; of course it works. So then why are there people all over the Internet saying it doesn’t? I think there are a few reasons for this.
Understanding the Genetics Behind Hair Loss
The first reason is that most people don’t understand the genetics behind hair loss. There are a number of old wives’ tales, such as wearing a hat causing hair loss or you can gauge your own hair loss by looking to your mother’s father. Hair is genetically encoded to either keep growing (back and sides) or stop growing (top). In some men, the top portion is encoded to always grow as well. Hair transplants work by moving the hair that is encoded to always grow into areas where it has stopped growing.
Setting Expectations with Hair Transplantation
The second reason people say hair transplantation doesn’t work is because of a failure on the doctor’s part to provide appropriate expectations. The overall result of the hair transplant procedure depends on how much hair loss there is, how many grafts are transferred, how much donor hair is available and maintenance therapy. One of the most important aspects of your consultation is to set a reasonable goal that is attainable. The more hair that is missing, the more hair is needed to achieve your goal. It may take more than one procedure to achieve this goal and that is important for the patient to know.
Find a Qualified Doctor
The last major reason I think people say hair transplantation doesn’t work is because there are many places that perform hair transplants, and thus there are varied results. Unfortunately, many of these clinics and doctors are unqualified to do the procedure. They have not had the proper training. You have seen the commercials on TV and if you have been to their “consults” with a sales person, not a doctor, it becomes clear. Often these clinics offer the cheapest prices and the results often match the costs.
To summarize: to have a successful outcome, it is very important to set a reasonable goal before you undergo the procedure. It’s important to maintain the hair you have with Propecia and Rogaine. And perhaps the most important aspect is to make sure your doctor has the proper training in hair transplantation. So, in my opinion, hair transplants work, especially since I have undergone the procedure myself and have been thrilled with the results.
About the Author – Dr. Adam Saad, MD, FACS
Dr. Adam Saad is double board certified in general surgery and plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
A New Jersey native, Dr. Saad received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University. He graduated from Rutgers with honors and was a member of the Golden Key national honor society. He attended medical school at Drexel University where he became involved in multiple research projects and in improving surgical education.