I just saw a 23 year old man come back to see me after he had a hair transplant with another medical group known for ‘overselling’ hair transplants using pressure tactics with an aggressive sales force. He had seen me just a few months earlier and I told him that I felt that he was not a good candidate for a hair transplant at this time, because he was too early in the hair loss process. I further told him that if he had a surgery without a course of Propecia, he might accelerate the hair loss. I thought we had agreed that he would go on Propecia in an attempt to slow down the hair loss he was experiencing and then return in 8 months for further evaluation.
He went to another doctor for another opinion and then, under pressure by their salesman, he had a hair transplant. On his visit with me yesterday, it is now 5 months after his surgery and he looked fairly bald now, with a reactive hair loss. Prior to his surgery he was a Class 3 pattern balding and now he showed a full Norwood Class 6 pattern. The 1000 grafts he received at the surgery were insignificant in view of the hair loss he had. The patient never took the Propecia (which might have protected him from the loss he experienced).
Some clinics still exist today who ‘sell’ hair transplants like a used car. This young man is now hooked on the hair transplant process, like it or not. Will he ever be normal? Will his supply of donor hair meet the demands of his progressive balding? Will he have enough money to follow the course he is now on? Did he ever really have Informed Consent offered to him? What are his options?
I am not going to answer these questions, because by posing them I have in a way brought the purpose of this blog entry to your attention. For those shopping for a hair transplant today, it is still appropriate to warn: Let the buyer beware!