A man of Chinese descent came into the office this week. He had a Norwood Class 4A balding pattern (see art below). He told me that in surfing the Internet, he found and contacted a couple of doctors, sending pictures of his balding pattern to them via email. Conversations with both doctors suggested that he receive 4000-5000 grafts. First of all, he is an Asian, which means that his average density should be around 1.7 hairs per mm square (Caucasian average is 2.1) and he was probably born with 80,000 hairs on his head. But when I measured his density, it was low for a Chinese man, measuring 1.3 hairs per mm square (total hair count on his head before he lost hair was in the 60,000 range). His hair was black and straight with an average weight. His skin laxity was average.
To get 4000-5000 grafts, it might require more than a 3 cm width excision and that would put him at risk for problems in his donor area, possibly not being able to close the wound. These two medical groups made promises that were completely unrealistic. Of course I can not tell what they would have done had he come into their offices for the surgery. Would they have sold him 5,000 grafts and split the grafts into one hair units? Even that, with a 1.3 density, would doubtfully yield that number of grafts. Would they have charged him for 5,000 grafts and delivered only 2,000 (or less) single hair grafts?
What is irking me is that the promises over the phone were either misrepresenting what can be done, or it was part of a market scam. I stick to my pitch: Let the Buyer Beware!