I’ve had a total of 5 transplants. Two in the front (700 grafts each) and one on the crown (1000 grafts). These three surgeries together produced a beautiful result. I should have stopped there but I was under the illusion that another transplant (1.5 years later) would give me even thicker hair. The Doctor that did the transplants is a pioneer and very well known and respected. I’m not going to mention his name because you would automatically know who he is.

Nine months after the fourth transplant (600 grafts in the front) I did not see any additional density. Three years later I went in for a consult about the front again and he told me that I did not need the fourth transplant but he would be able to do a small one (500 grafts) at that time so I had it done. Six months later I did notice a difference and was pleased with the end result.

It has been six years since and I still have all of my hair. My question to you is: Why would he do a transplant when I didn’t need it? I look back and feel that the grafts were wasted and I was taken advantage of. Like I stated earlier this individual is a pioneer and respected. He certainly did not need the money. Even the nurses joked with me saying that I had “a lot of beautiful hair” hinting that I didn’t need to have the last transplant. What is your opinion on this?

I speak of the importance of ethics at medical meetings. Some doctors push for surgery even if the patient does not need it. This is commonly seen in young men who are too early in the balding process where drugs like Propecia (finasteride) suffice for the sole treatment, and 80% of women with thinning who are not candidates for surgery, yet the doctor recommends surgery on many of them who feel that they must do something about their thinning. For them, the surgical option is an easy sell, even if there is no value for surgery.

My job as a hair transplant surgeon is to always be a patient advocate, pushing those who do not need surgery away from the FUE punch or the surgical knife. It is always good business when I can create a trusted following of patients who believe in my ethics, especially when I steer them away from a surgical decision in examples as those discussed above (majority of women, young men). Many times it is harder to talk patients away from wanting surgery than it is to recommend surgery for an actual candidate. By that, I mean I have to spend more time with each such patient educating them on the ‘whys’ of my decision process.

Tags: hair transplant, surgery, ethics