If you’re losing your hair, you no longer have to sit there and just watch it fall out. Hair restoration can give you back your hair. A surgical procedure, the goal of hair restoration or hair transplantation is to reduce areas of baldness, usually on the top of the head. People dealing with male pattern baldness and certain other types of hair loss might be great candidates for the surgery.
Learning about the hair restoration procedure is just part of the process of deciding if it’s the right call for you. You also want to find the best surgeon to perform your transplant. When looking for a hair restoration surgeon, keep the following things in mind.
While where your surgeon went to school might not be of that much importance, what he went to school for is. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a doctor who has training as a facial plastic surgeon. A surgeon who’s been board certified and who has completed years of residency training in facial plastic surgery is ideal. Medical school teaches doctors the basics they need to know to become doctors. Residency training allows them to zero in and focus on one particular area. A doctor who’s trained to be a facial plastic surgeon will be well versed in and experienced with the anatomy of the face, head, and neck.
Training is important, but it’s not the only qualification to look for in a hair restoration surgeon. You also want to get a sense of how experienced the surgeon is. You probably don’t want to be the first patient a surgeon has ever worked on unsupervised, for example.
When you meet with a potential surgeon, ask him how long he has been in practice. To get a better sense of his experience with hair restoration specifically, ask how many hair transplantation surgeries he’s performed over the course of his career, how frequently he performs them, and when the last time was that he performed a hair transplant. The more frequently the surgeon performs the procedure, the likelier it is that he’ll have the skills you want.
Hair Restoration Technique
Over time, hair transplantation techniques have evolved. Back in the day, it was common for doctors to use larger grafts, creating a pluggy “doll’s head” look. These days, the techniques used by surgeons produce a much more natural result. Results are usually so natural that people can’t tell you’ve had a transplant.
That said, there are still different ways of performing hair transplantation. Different techniques are better suited for different types of patients. The two main types of hair transplant are Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transfer (FUT). The big difference between the two options is the way the hair is taken from the donor sites and the size of the scar that is created.
FUT is sometimes called the strip method of hair transplantation. To perform it, the surgeon removes a long strip of hair from the back of the scalp. The incision is then closed, and a long, thin scar usually remains. The hair removed in the strip is then dissected under a microscope into grafts containing one to four hairs each, which are then transplanted to the desired area.
FUE doesn’t require the removal of a strip of scalp and hair. Instead, follicles are harvested one by one using tiny punches. Instead of a long horizontal scar, a person is left with tiny dots on the back or sides of the head. No stitches or bandages are needed to help the donor sites heal and the tiny scars are usually not noticeable afterwards.
Some surgeons perform one method over the other while many surgeons perform both. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. For example, if you need to have a lot of hair transplanted and plan on wearing your hair long afterwards, FUT can make the most sense, as it allows the surgeon to harvest a considerable amount of hair at once. If you have plenty of time to allow for harvesting and usually keep you hair short, FUE can be the better option.
What Past Patients Have to Say
If past patients are raving about a hair restoration surgeon, you can take that as a good sign. But, if there seems to be nothing but negative reviews online and the surgeon isn’t able to give you any references or testimonials, you can take that as a warning sign.
When getting opinions from past patients, it’s often a good idea to speak with people who have similar hair to yours or similar balding issues. Speaking to patients with a similar concern can help you see more clearly if the surgery really helped them, or not.
Photos of Past Patients
Don’t just look at what past patients have to save about surgeon. Take a look at their results. Your surgeon should show you a number of before and after photos of previous patients. The photos not only help you see the surgeon’s handiwork, they also give you a fair idea of whether surgery will help you reach your goals or not.
Your Comfort Level with the Surgeon
Don’t underestimate the value of a personal connection with the hair restoration surgeon. You don’t have to be best friends, but you should feel comfortable asking the surgeon questions about the procedure and about what you can expect to get out of it. If a surgeon seems less than forthcoming or evades your questions, you should consider that a red flag. There might not be that many hair restoration surgeons out there, but that just makes finding the one that’s right for you all the more important.
Dr. Alexander Donath comes from a long-line of doctors. A facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration surgeon practicing in Cincinnati, Dr. Donath is available to discuss your hair restoration needs with you. To schedule a consultation with him, call 877-416-3223 today.