Hello Dr Rassman,
Firstly I would like to congratulate you on this website. Its very helpful. I am due to have a FUE transplant (1000 follicles) next month at DHI in Athens. I have read your comments relating to DHI and the importance of a good surgeon.
I know that you normally refrain from doing this but I would really appreciate it if you could please recommend a paticular doctor (whose work you know of) at DHI. I am really freaking out now about getting an incompetent surgeon working on me. I realy dont want to make a wrong decision. I will not dislose your recommendation in any way at all to anybody. Thank you.
I do not know any of the doctors at DHI, so unfortunately I can not help you with that. I am told that they have switched completely to FUE and away from strip harvesting. Frankly, that makes me nervous, because of the complete absence of biopsies to qualify patients. DHI was taught by Dr. Cole, who calls his procedure Follicular Isolation Technique (FIT), which is a sub-set of what I call FUE. Dr. Cole, along with DHI, tell me that 100% of patients qualify. The FUE techniques are a series of processes that are fine tuned in each patient, as each process works uniquely in different patients. Dr. Robert Bernstein and I just wrote a chapter in a new text book on this very subject (due to be published shortly). FUE is an intricate process that requires a series of approaches, each matched to the patient’s tissue characteristics. Last week, for example, I performed an FUE procedure and prior to that procedure on an earlier visit, I used four different methods to optimize the process. One tool worked consistently at 100%, while others methods had failure rates in the same patient ranging from 90-20%. At the time of the surgery, the actual success rate was 88% based upon hair counts. For this very reason, I am absolutely convinced that biopsies are needed to qualify patients and match the techniques that work on that patient prior to the actual FUE surgery. On a few patients, FUE surgery is either not possible or so inefficient (taking a few hours per hundred grafts harvested) to make the process not a reasonable alternative to strip harvesting. Depending upon the technique used, patient eligibility ranges from as high as 95% of all patients in some doctor’s hands (very few doctors fit into this category and this group includes those patients who may not be efficiently harvested) to less than 30% in others.
What bothers me is that some doctors have a loose definition of FUE success. Some doctors may classify 100% success as his/her ability to extract at least one hair in an FUE graft. That does not cut it for me, because I classify success by hair count. That means that if a 3 hair graft was excised with FUE, some doctors would call a single hair extracted and two hairs killed off as 100% success while I would call it 33% success (actually this does not quantify the loss of hair, the negative value of hair that is lost forever). Probe the doctor’s definitions here and get an accurate count of what he did when he does the procedure, as you are entitled to that as part of your medical record. If the doctor does not give it to you or tells you that it does not matter, run for the hills. It may sound like technical talk, but the realities of what you get and what you pay for and what is destroyed by the process all come into the value equation. Again, as I always say, let the buyer beware!