Throughout my long and winding follicular journey, I’ve learned quite a few things about the hair transplant industry that I think are worth sharing.

Unfortunately a bad result is more common than a good one, so here is some practical advice for anyone looking to have the procedure.

1.) Talk to the person who will operate on you.

If you can, speak with the actual surgeon who will perform on you and not just a sales consultant. Sometimes a sales consultant won’t have the patient’s best interest at heart and is just trying to make a sale and get a commission.

A consultant/patient adviser should act as a gatekeeper to the surgeon and educate a patient about the surgery and how that particular doctor operates. Patient advisers almost always have had one or more procedure themselves and if you speak with one, pay attention to how they sell the practice — is it informative and informal, or is it a high-pressure marketing barrage?

2.) Walk away.

Walk away if you ever feel pressured to have surgery right away or if the practice does not look clean or smell clean. Also take note of how many patients are operated on at the clinic each day and if the clinic tries to have you pay more money out of pocket for a healing kit. Not all but some practices will offer a quote on x many grafts for your surgery and then try to offer a reduced price for y many more grafts the day of, so be weary.

 3.) Shop around and take your time.

As I progressed in my research, I wanted a more square hairline that would also build out my temporal peaks so I kept researching until I found a reputable physician who would do the job I wanted. If you have a particular goal, don’t settle for the first practice you go to where the surgeon won’t get you what you want. In the end you’re buying a product/service so compare prices and quotes from practice to practice and bargain for a competitive rate.

4.) Show me the results. 

Pick a surgeon who specializes only in hair transplantation and have them show you at least 50 of their patients’ results.

This can get murky as some practices are in reality large marketing companies that share few examples and are not clear whose work it is.  A marketing firm cannot do a hair transplant but can own the rights to photos of work done by someone else.

Some companies subcontract out technicians who are every bit as important to a successful procedure as the doctor, so also inquire if the staff a doctor works with is the same for every surgery or if it’s a hodge-podge thrown together that day.

5.) Follow the doctor’s orders.

Make sure a licensed physician performs the procedure and not just a hair transplant technician. A doctor must be present at all times in case of an emergency.

6.) Read the fine print.

If you can pay for the surgery upfront in cash, by all means do so, but you’ll most likely finance it. If the practice that does your surgery offers financing through a third party like Medstar, Citi, or Care Credit, read and understand what the APR percentage is. I could have used financing but I paid for it on my credit card and then transferred the balance to another card with 0 percent APR for 15 months.

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