…starts with realistic goals

Realistic goals are a result of candid conversations between patient and surgeon. Only by discussing expectations and the experiences of other clients, and agreeing upon, an individualized treatment plan, can the best hair transplant outcomes be achieved.

You should be aware that every hair follicle lost due to genetic balding (androgenic alopecia) is lost forever. A surgeon’s experience, skill, and artistry cannot overcome limitations in the quality or quantity of your donor hair. Generally, the more hair you have already lost, the less full the appearance of the restored hair. All hair restoration procedures, including FUT hair transplants and FUE hair transplants, move hair from one place on the head to another. New hair is not created, but redistributed from the back and sides of the head, where there is an abundant supply, to areas where there is little or no hair. No surgical procedure creates new hair. Scalp reductions do not preserve hair for use in transplants, as some physicians claim. Traditional large (4 mm) hair transplant grafts simply transfer plugs of hair to bald areas, creating patches of hairy skin that result in creating the “doll’s head” look that has been commonly associated with hair transplants.

In modern hair transplantation for the best results, your surgeon transplants very small, naturally-growing groups of hair follicles. These follicular grafts are less noticeable than larger grafts and are indistinguishable from the natural groups of hair growing in adjacent areas of the scalp. The grafts are placed into minute incisions that usually leave no discernible scar.

You should remember that the density of the transplanted hair cannot equal the density of the hair that was originally grown in that location. In thinning areas, transplanted hair can significantly increase the apparent density by adding hair follicles or groups of hairs and mixing these with existing hair. The key is to add density inconspicuously so the hair in the new location appears as full and natural as possible.

Unless a very bald man has a high hair density and a loose scalp, there will not be enough donor hair to cover his entire head. A very thin head of hair; a very conservative, high hairline; and/or deliberately leaving the crown area un-grafted or very thin may be the only viable options for hair restoration. It is important for the patient to understand this reality before making a decision to schedule surgery.

In patients with extensive hair loss and low-density donor hair, there is no way that transplantation can achieve a full head of hair. Artistic techniques, however, can maximize the use of what donor hair is available to create the best hair transplant outcome. A high hairline that does not have a distinct edge produces a natural but well-framed thin look. Keep in mind that high contrast hair-to-skin color combinations make more advanced hair loss harder to restore.

While a doctor is responsible for sharing historical experiences and preparing the client for the surgical procedure, clients too, have a responsibility to educate themselves and do their own research. Clients should review material presented during the surgical consultation and ask questions for clarification. An educated client is a satisfied client because a full understanding of the procedure eliminates the possibility of surprise or a patient feeling the surgeon didn’t explain all aspects of the surgery.

Educated clients can more easily distinguish between gimmick and truth in advertising, and separate wishful thinking from realistic expectations. When a client is pro-active about seeking information, the client can be satisfied with results, and the surgeon can be satisfied that the procedure has delivered a welcome outcome.