When you first start losing your hair, you are bound to be worried, because losing your crowning glory is never an easy thing to accept. If your hair loss is truly severe, you would want to meet a specialist, who will tell you whether you are an ideal candidate for a transplant or not. However, before you head to such a clinic, you need to make sure that you make your very first choice with immense care – you need to make sure that you choose the best and the most suited clinic for your transplant, because in the hands of an inexperienced surgeon or an ill-equipped clinic, you could be inviting absolute disaster.
When you are looking to get a hair transplant surgeon, there are several things that you need to know beforehand. Just because you have seen an advertisement or someone said that they had heard through someone about a certain hair transplant surgeon is not enough for you to make a choice. In order to get the best results, you need to make sure that you make an informed decision, for which you need to ask some important questions:
- Your very first questions should be why this surgeon and why this clinic – like they say, well begun is half done, by choosing a really good surgeon and a well equipped clinic, you can be sure that your hair transplant procedure will go well. Look for a clinic that has created for itself a solid reputation and that has one or more talented and experienced surgeons. Ideally, you should choose a surgeon and clinic that is close to home or work, because you will need to have that ease of travel. In case you are choosing a surgeon or clinic in another part of the country or world, look for one that has sufficient hotels nearby.
- When you first fix an appointment at the clinic, you need to make sure that you meet the surgeon and not any consultants. In case you are meeting the consultant, you should make sure that they are providing only the basic information to you. Given that they are not medically trained or qualified, they should definitely not be the ones doing your examination and should they suggest the same, you should deny most vehemently, asking for a surgeon to give you your exam. As a matter of fact, after getting the basic information, your next question should be when you get to meet the actual surgeon who will perform your procedure. In addition to that, you could also ask for details about what percentage of the surgeon’s practice is hair transplant and whether he or she is involved in other medical procedures too.
- At your very first meeting, your first questions to the surgeon should about what type of transplant would be best for you. This is something that the surgeon should be able to answer after a thorough exam. In most cases, it is between three options – FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction), FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) or ATP (Advanced Tricho Pigmentation). The decision of which hair transplant procedure is best for you will be dependent on how much hair you have lost, how large your donor and recipient areas are and how many viable grafts will be available. No matter what the procedure being suggested for you, if it is done properly, the results should last you an entire lifetime.
- You will most certainly need to ask about the costs involved, because you need to remember that a procedure like this will not come easy on the pocket. It is best that you ask about how much your procedure will cost, well in advance – good surgeons and clinics should be able to give you an estimate that will be quite precise and this should also have an influence on your final decision. Some clinics will charge blindly, rather than charging for the number of grafts – make sure that you are being charged for the number of grafts being extracted and implanted.
- While you are trying to zero in on the surgeon, also make sure that you ask for several before and after pictures. Ideally, you should ask for a minimum of 10 sets of such photos, because that should give you a fair idea of how good this surgeon is. In the most perfect scenario, all of these photos should have been taken at similar angles and with the same background and lighting.
- It would also be a good idea to ask for references – patients who will be willing to talk to you about their experience with the surgeon. If the surgeon or the clinic seems reluctant to give out such references, you need to get out of there as soon as possible.
- For the best scenario, you should do a certain amount of research beforehand because only then will you know what questions to ask to get a truly clear idea. Ask whether the grafts will be dissected microscopically or not. You will also have to ask about the support staff, because a surgeon will only be as good as the staff – if the staff is not experienced, they will not be able to assist the surgeon properly, leading to possible trouble.
- While it is sensible to spend ample amount of time with your surgeon to be, there is nothing wrong in doing a little digging around ‘behind their back’, by finding out whether there are any red flags in their work experience. This could range from bad reviews online to complaints registered in the medical boards.
You need to understand that each doctor will have a different point of view and each person is different. Just because your best friend had a certain experience with one surgeon, does not mean that it will be exactly the same for you. Make sure that you do your fair share of research before you even go to meet the prospective surgeon and also so that you have all the questions in hand that you need to ask. And make sure that you ask even those questions, which might seem silly to you!
Dr. Kapil Dua, Co-Founder & Chairman at AK Clinics has over fourteen years of clinical and teaching experience in the fields of Otolaryngology & Hair Transplant. He holds the recognition for having transplanted over 3 million grafts, among the highest in the world, with a record of less than 3% wastage, among the best in the world.