Hair Transplant Doctors | What to Look for in a Surgeon

- Reviewed by: Dr. Jae Pak, M.D.

A hair transplant is a serious commitment of time, money, and effort.

It takes a lot of trust in a surgeon and a team of technicians to perform this type of major surgery and stick with you for the recovery process which can last anywhere from several months to a year.

Besides, your hair is one of the first things that others notice about you, and for many people, it’s a major factor of self-image and confidence. A good hair transplant can dramatically improve your looks and your life, while a bad one can have the opposite effect.

For these reasons and others, it’s so important to choose the right hair transplant doctor from the very start and maximize your chances for a successful, satisfactory outcome.

The stakes are high when choosing a doctor – this isn’t your typical barbershop or nail salon experience!

Let’s take a look at the factors that matter most when picking a surgeon for your hair transplant and some red flags to avoid on your hair restoration journey.

Basic Checklist

If you think a hair transplant is your best bet for restoration, you’ll want to find a surgeon that meets the following standards.

Hair Restoration Specialist

In your initial research for hair transplant doctors, you’ll come across many ads and recommendations for cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists, and other physicians who practice general reconstructive or plastic surgery.

While you can certainly find a decent doctor in any of these categories, we urge anyone seeking a hair transplant to avoid generalists and stick to specialists in the field of hair restoration.

Why does this matter?

Hair restoration is a specific area of expertise within the medical community, and the best surgeons in the world have mastered certain procedures including the latest technology and methods.

Furthermore, a hair restoration specialist will give you a far more comprehensive vision of your treatment options and other factors that go into slowing hair loss and protecting the hair you have.

They have years of experience in this field and can help you map out the best plan for surgery and beyond. By going to a general cosmetic or plastic surgeon for a hair transplant, you risk missing out on the expert insights from a specialist.

If you’re serious about making the most of your hair for the rest of your life, go with someone who knows best!

Proven Reputation and Credentials

So you’ve disqualified all the jack-of-all-trades and you’ve narrowed the field down to a handful of hair restoration specialists. You’re well on your way to finding a great surgeon and getting the results you want.

Your next goal is to go down a list of basic criteria to determine if the surgeons on your list are up to par.

A good starting point is to make sure you select an M.D. who is board certified in another specialty, as there is no Board Certification in hair restoration. Doctors can send away for a certificate, but an M.D. will be more credible and generally have attained a higher level of skills than other practitioners. Beware of doctors who boast of being board certified in Hair Restoration if that is the only medical credential they can produce.

You should try to get an idea of the surgeon’s specialties, how much they work, how they set up their practice or clinic, and what you can expect in terms of cost and commitment.

Your list of surgeons will be looking shorter at this point, especially if you’re sticking to your region or city. Remember, many people take long drives or flights to get the best hair transplants, so don’t count that possibility out. This is a permanent procedure so you want the right doctor, not the closest or cheapest.

Testimonials, Reviews, and Photos

Credentials and certifications can go a long way in narrowing down your search for a great hair transplant surgeon. This is where reviews come into play to reveal more about the personal experiences that other clients have had with these surgeons and clinics before.

Don’t just read one or two reviews from the clinic’s website – these are curated purposefully to make the surgeon look as good as possible. Read other forums and accounts from social media to get a more objective viewpoint. Take everything with a grain of salt on the internet, of course, and go with your instincts. Yelp and RealSelf are great resources.

Also, be sure to closely examine every photo included in a before & after gallery for the surgeon and procedure you’re considering.

Since there are so many variables that come into play for a hair transplant, you’ll want to make sure your surgeon can work with every type of hairstyle and color, including people of different ethnic backgrounds, ages, and requirements.

A promising photo gallery will show a wide variety of different people and hair loss cases, and even provide some extra information such as the type of procedure and how many grafts were involved. Look for a surgeon who shows actual patients, not stock photos or photos of celebrities to make you think they are their surgeons.

Even better are video testimonials that have interviews and more detail about the experience with the surgeon and clinic.

If a before & after gallery only contains a few grainy shots and doesn’t reveal much about the procedures themselves, you might want to keep looking!

Advanced Criteria

By this point, anyone on your shortlist of surgeons will likely be suitable choices for a hair transplant. You’ve weeded out the generalists, the unqualified doctors, and anyone without the proper support from online reviews and photos.

However, to take your search to the next level, there are some advanced points to look for that will bring you to the upper echelon for hair transplant specialists. Let’s take a look.

Contributions to the Field

Your ideal surgeon might have a steady hand and some solid reviews, but have they made innovations in hair restoration that put them among the elite names in the field?

There are only a handful of top-tier surgeons who can say they’ve made real advancements in science or technology, and these are the names that deserve close attention.

Perhaps a surgeon has created a mechanism for more efficient extraction of donor’s hair in Follicular Unit Excision procedures, or they’ve found ways to reduce transection rate and make grafts more permanent and healthy.

This shows a strong aptitude for engineering and technology that will ensure you’re in good hands for a hair transplant.

Artistic Ability

It may be difficult to assess the artistic capacity of a surgeon based on pictures and descriptions, but you can usually tell whether a surgeon has this ability by looking at their portfolio and other services they may provide.

For instance, many hair restoration experts also perform procedures like eyebrow transplants, hairline lowering, or beard transplants that will demonstrate their understanding of aesthetics and their ability to create natural-looking patterns of hair on the scalp and face.

To avoid the “pluggy” look and ensure your transplant appears 100% natural, keep this in mind when making your choice.

Consultation Tips

Once you have a few surgeons picked out, it’s time to set up meetings and decide on a final pick.

Meet Face to Face

While some surgeons will offer online consultations, it’s always better to meet them in person if you can manage.

If you meet with the surgeon by phone, make sure to send front, side, and arial view photos as they will need a 360-degree look at your scalp to determine how many grafts are required for complete coverage and to assess the hair from the donor area.

It won’t be possible to meet with every surgeon on your list, but remember the information you learn from these consultations to stay on top of things.

Two-Way Conversation

A consultation should be a friendly and productive conversation that goes both ways so that you and the surgeon will reach the best conclusion based on the information you’ve gathered.

Shop Around

Maybe you are convinced by the first consultation you have, but don’t hesitate to have several meetings before you make a final choice.

This is when you should compare things like price, service, and convenience that will factor into your decision.

By now, you’ll have some knowledge on what to expect in terms of cost and other requirements, so weigh your options and don’t jump to any conclusions.

Ready To Take the Next Step?

You’ve put in the research and the groundwork, and you deserve the best hair transplant service available. Use our criteria and recommendations to find a surgeon and get the results you want.


Choose the Right Hair Transplant Doctor | For Hair

Finding a Surgeon | American Hair Loss Association

Reconstructive Hair Transplantation of the Face and Scalp | NIH

Find out if Hair Restoration is right for you.

Speak with Jae Pak, M.D. today!

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