Last week, I met with two patients who came to me with thinning hair. One was 19 and the other was 22. The 19 year old had very early miniaturization, evident by the measurements that were taken of his scalp, and I built a Master Plan for him and advised him to go on Propecia. The 22 year old had clear thinning in the frontal 2 inches of his hairline with 40-50% miniaturization and a thin type hair shaft. The thin hair shaft made his miniaturization look worse than if his hair had been more coarse.
Both of these young men went to these doctors before they came to see me (and no, I won’t name names). In my opinion, both patients should not have hair transplants at this time; certainly the 19 year old is not a candidate at all and probably will not be for years, and the 22 year old may become a candidate if the Propecia does not stop or reverse his hair loss to meet his goals. However, the 22 year old might be able to avoid a hair transplant if the Propecia works well for him. The lack of ethics of the two doctors who viewed both men and gave them both recommendations of 3000 grafts each reflect the ‘scum’ of the hair transplant industry. I know I’ve written on this topic a few times before, but it truly outrages me and demands this repetition. Performing surgery when it could be avoided with a simple daily medication shows that the doctors were chasing their patient’s pocketbooks, not pursuing their patients best interests. Fortunately, both patients liked my advice and will see me for a follow-up in a year or so. I am sure that they will get calls from these two doctors and/or their sales staffs and I strongly advised them to resist sales pressures to sell them what they do not need.
To make matters worse, in my normal examination I measured the hair density of the donor hair on these patients and found them both to be lower than average. That means that they might be limited as to what they can expect from a hair transplant when and if they balded. Both of the doctors that they met with just ran their hands over the patients’ scalp in the back of their heads and magically reported that they were unusually blessed with “lots of donor hair”. Neither of these doctors made a measurement of the donor density on either of these patients and as if by magic — *poof* — they had enough hair to meet the doctor’s income requirement. These scams are unfortunately common in this industry and I always warn patients that if the doctor does not precisely measure the donor density, they should run for the hills when told that their donor supply is good. Worst of all is the fact that if these men had undergone hair transplantation, their donor hair (which was limited in the first place) would be depleted, wasted, and worse yet, put in the wrong place. Over and over again I warn patients to do their diligence on the doctors they see and choose. This again, is a Buyer Beware market.