Community by and for patients to share experiences and recommendations

What To Ask A Hair Transplant Surgeon During A Consultation

Category : Hair Transplant News 9/20/2018 5:39:50 PM

Finding a qualified hair transplant surgeon can seem like a daunting and stressful task. So many questions running through a patient's mind, but what are the most important questions to ask a surgeon? In this article, we will go over a few questions that every prospective patient should ask a surgeon prior to committing to surgery.

What are the hair transplant surgeons and technicians roles during surgery

Today, hair restoration is a team effort that involves both surgeons and technicians working in tandem to provide patients with the best results possible. However, it is imperative that a patient ask the surgeon what their role will be during the procedure. 

*Will the surgeon be responsible for harvesting the donor hair whether it's the removal of a donor strip for Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) or the extraction of follicular unit grafts through Follicular Unit Excision (formerly known as Follicular Unit Extraction FUE)?

*How many technicians will be involved in the procedure and what are their credentials and experience?

*Will the surgeon be creating the micro-incision recipient sites that will determine the angle, depth and overall density of the procedure? 

What are the surgical options available

It is important that a physician educates prospective patients on what options are available prior to having a procedure. Today, there are two methods to harvest a patients donor hair, the first method which has been refined since the early 90's is FUSS or strip surgery. FUSS is a surgical technique that involves a surgeon removing donor tissue from the sides and back of the patients scalp, where hair is genetically resistant to dihyrdotestosterone (DHT), DHT is the hormone responsible for androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss. The second method is Follicular Unit Excision or FUE; FUE is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves a hair transplant surgeon using a small punch between the sizes of .7mm to 1mm in circumefrence to score and extract follicular units one by one. 

Which donor harvesting method is best for the specific patient

Both harvesting methods rely on a finite donor supply thus careful planning must be employed prior to having surgery. Generally, more grafts can be excised using FUSS or strip surgery, because a large donor strip can be removed in one surgical session without any obvious signs to the donor site. However, choosing this method will result in a linear scar that will inhibit the patient from cropping their hair ultra short or shaving their head. Conversely, due to the nature of FUE less grafts can be harvested in one sitting for a variety of reasons such as donor density, graft transection, surgical fatigue etc. It is important to ask and understand the pros and cons to each harvesting technique and build a long-term plan with a surgeon prior to committing to surgery.

What happens if the procedure is not successful

Unfortunately, hair restoration is not an exact science and even the best surgeons have results that are lackluster. Therefore, any surgeons giving a 100% satisfaction guarantee are not being honest or truthful. The truth is, even if a procedure is successful patients may not always have realistic expectations. Therefore, it is up to the surgeon to properly educate the patient on what can be achieved realistically for their particular situation. In addition, patients should ask the surgeon what he or she will do in the event that the procedure does not yield the expected results. Moreover, patients should ask to see other patients with similar hair loss and hair characteristics (color, shape and texture), so that they may get a better understanding of what may be acheived for their particular case.  However, patients should always remember that no two people are the same thus, the final result and appearance may change from patient to patient.

Written By,

Melvin - Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator For the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog. To share ideas with other hair loss sufferers visit our new Hair Loss Forum and Social Community.