While the internet is a wealth of information for patients considering a hair restoration procedure, there is no guidance online to help you make this most important decision when seeking help with hair loss. Large hair clinics that have multiple offices throughout the country have huge marketing budgets to attract prospective patients for hair transplant procedures. You’ve undoubtedly seen their ads on television offering specials and discounted prices like used car dealerships. Many people are drawn to foreign clinics in third world countries based solely on the price; that is, until something goes wrong after the procedure and you’ve already returned home. Some physicians advertise, often illegally, board certification by “bogus boards” which are not recognized by the ABMS, the national organization which oversees board certification for all medical and surgical specialties in the USA since 1931.
Here are the most important steps which will help guide you in the selection of a reputable hair transplant clinic.
There is no ABMS recognized board certification in “hair surgery” of its own. The American Board of Dermatology and The American Board of Plastic Surgery are the two ABMS boards who examine and certify doctors in these two specialties which include hair surgery. The American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery is an additional board deemed equivalent to an ABMS board which also includes hair surgery. Make sure the physician whom you see for hair restoration is certified by one of these 3 boards. All other boards which doctors advertise for hair restoration are not recognized by the ABMS or equivalent to the ABMS. They are so called “bogus boards”, and it is illegal for physicians to advertise certification by boards which are not recognized or equivalent ABMS boards.
Hair Restoration Team
Hair restoration is a “team approach” in most busy practices that perform hair transplants. This is because hair replacement procedures are tedious, time consuming, and very detailed work. It requires a team as one single person cannot perform all of these steps in a timely manner without jeopardizing the final outcome. Make sure that your hair restoration team is employed full time by the doctor and has many years of experience and training in hair transplant procedures. There are some clinics which perform occasional hair restoration cases which employ part time staff who often fly in for a case. These staff are not really invested in each patient’s outcome, unlike an in house team who sees you before, during, and after the case is completed.
The professional reputation of the physician in the community is most important. Your doctor should be on staff at one of the local accredited hospitals in your community and have credentials in one of the core specialties which includes hair restoration such as Dermatology, Facial Plastic Surgery, or Plastic Surgery. These hair restoration practices often see physicians as patients and are the clinics to whom they refer patients. These practices often see high profile professionals from the media and business community.
“We do well what we do most” is a common saying in surgery. The same is true for hair restoration. Clinics that are often the busiest have the most experience in both the medical and surgical management of hair loss in men and women. Such practices are often busy because many of their patients are referred by other happy patients. This is often reflected when reviewing a practice’s website; busy practices often display dozens of before and after cases but make sure they represent the practice and are not “stock” photos found on google images for example. Hair clinics that are nationwide chains often show patient images which are not the work of a specific doctor or clinic in your community.