by Dr. Alan Feller , Philadelphia, PA
The past seven years has seen an epidemic rise in the number of hair transplant clinics opening up. This is due entirely to the false notion that “new technology” has replaced good old fashioned experience, hands -on, hard work, dedication, and common sense.
The Golden Age of Hair Transplantation
From 1991 to 2011 the hair transplant industry exploded due to the introduction of megasession FUT (strip) method combined with a large staff and huge facilities dedicated solely to hair transplantation. It cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to enter the field and required full dedication of one’s career. Part timers and those who couldn’t afford to enter the specialty of hair transplantation were filtered out. The result were a relatively small number of super-dedicated and focused doctors who produced near miraculous results on a consistent basis.
The Farce Of So-Called “New Technology”
In order to facilitate and assist the doctor in the performance of hair transplantation several companies started producing machinery and technology for sale. Ideally this technology would do two things:
- Improve the results by minimizing damage to hair grafts during the procedure; and
- Make it easier for the doctor to perform his tasks but WITHOUT any excess trauma to the hair grafts when compared to tried and true manual methods.
Unfortunately, none of these new devices, machines, or technologies succeeded in doing this. Rather, it made it faster and easier for the doctor to harvest grafts, but at the unacceptable price of causing more damage to follicles and consistently producing poorer results.
As such, these machines were ignored, condemned, and even mocked by experienced HT doctors such as myself who would never let such “graft mangling” devices into our offices. We believed these machines were detrimental not only to our practices, but to the field in general and spoke out against them. At the very least we voted with our wallets and refused to buy them. To us, these machines were built by non-doctors who had no real understanding of how to perform a modern hair transplant nor cared about final results.
Receiving a cold reception from the authorities in hair transplantation, the company turned its marketing to those doctors who otherwise could not get into the field of hair transplantation on the difficult terms that made modern hair transplantation so great. Now these part timers could get into the business without the needed experience, expense, and sacrifice. They saw the short cut and many wasted no time pursuing it.
Today there are many clinics using this short cut method of offering hair transplantation. In fact they boast with great bravado that they are using the “newest method” or “new technology” to attract patients. They intimate that their method is superior to FUT when it is simply not true. The sad fact is, these new clinics are so inexperienced, they don’t even know what they don’t know. Such is what happens when you deal with newbies and part timers. Do not subject yourself to these clinics. If they use a machine, go the other way. No machine is as good to your grafts as an instrument in the hand of a trained and experienced surgeon.
Don’t Make a Mistake You Can’t Fix
You only have one scalp and are born with about as many hair follicles as you ever are going to have. Do not waste them on an inexperienced clinic that has to boast of some “new machine” that makes them great. Honestly, if the machine were that great, wouldn’t experienced clinics like mine simply buy several of them and make greater profits? Of course we would. But I consider these new technologies to be nothing but “graft mangling” devices and would not allow it to be used on my head at any price. Neither should you.
If you are looking for a hair transplant you owe to yourself to look passed the hype and find a clinic that has been around at least ten or fifteen years with hundreds of before/after photos to view along with an online reputation that is at least 10 years old. Avoid clinics that bark that they have the latest and greatest new technology, it is not a substitute for skill and experience.