In private practice in South Miami for the past 25 years- boy how time has flown – I have largely devoted my practice to treating hair loss in men and women, the majority coming to me for a hair transplant procedure. As a facial plastic surgeon, my decision to specialize in hair has been a wonderful choice, for I have performed over 13,500 hair transplant procedures, as well as met in consultation and prescribed medical therapies for many thousands more. It has been my greatest pleasure to restore the confidence of patients ranging from young men just starting a career and dating, to more mature women with receding hairlines, to children who lost eyebrows or scalp hair from burns.
Currently, as a Voluntary Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, as well as lecturing at national and international hair meetings, I am having the opportunity to teach the next generation of surgeons, who more than ever are interested now in performing hair procedures due to the developments of newer, less invasive techniques. Most notably, this includes FUE (for “follicular unit excision”) hair transplants that avoid altogether any linear donor site scar, Growth Factors, LLT (laser light therapy), and finally SMP (scalp micropigmentation). I wonder if I should play the number “3” in the lottery, given all the 3-letter acronyms?
What is concerning with the growth by primarily plastic surgeons and some dermatologists in the interest in performing hair restoration is the embracing of the “turn key” model of hair transplants. This is a model created not by top hair surgeons who do the key steps of the hair transplant procedure themselves, but rather by the device manufacturers, who advocate that a doctor buy a device to surgical remove hair from the patient, then hire technicians to then perform most if not all of the procedure. Most patients have no idea not only that their doctor will not be performing their hair transplant, but also that the people who are performing the surgery- including the excising of hair from the back of the head, the making of thousands of incisions in the scalp, even the designing of the hairline- are unlicensed technicians, hired by the day.
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, a worldwide organization composed of thousands of true hair experts, have made it clear that this turn key model is unacceptable, as it can compromise not only aesthetic results but also patient safety. This model may even be illegal, and in California there is currently a lawsuit by a patient against his plastic surgeon who used his nurse and a technician for hire to do just about the entire hair transplant.
So considered yourself educated, and do your homework when considering a hair transplant. You would never have your liposuction or facelift done by a nurse or technician, so why should you have your hair transplant surgery done that way?