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So You Think Your Hair Transplant Surgeon Is An FUE Expert? What You Need You Know

As the hair transplant industry continues to evolve the number of FUE experts and pioneers seem to be growing exponentially. If your surgeon claims to be an expert at this extremely difficult and labor intensive form of hair transplant surgery, make sure he/she really is.

Joe Tillman: It's funny, over the past week I've actually had several inquiries of people saying, I've had an explosion of people contacting me lately because of my You Tube videos, and the most common question I'm getting right now is about one specific clinic that is fairly well-known in the industry. This segues into what I want to talk about is, they're are really good with strip.

Spencer Kobren:  And they're becoming irrelevant.

Joe Tillman: Yes. But the question was, "What about this clinic?" I had a consultation with them and I'm really interested in what they're proposing and my question has been, "Well, is it a strip FUE?" And they come back and tell me it's FUE. and that's when I'm like, "I can't endorse--" Not that I endorse them, "but I can't say that that's a good idea to consider this clinic." And they're like, "Well, why?" I said, "Well, you tell me why you're interested in going?" "Well, because they got some great results". I said, "But, are they FUE results?" Every one of them, they paused and they're like, "I don't think so". I said, "Well, it's incumbent upon you to find out".

Because if they got a hundred results and two of them are FUE, you need to step back and think about it for a moment because it's not the same procedure. If you want a procedure, you want to see consistency with these results and not rely on this body of evidence, that's completely irrelevant to what you're looking for. That's a theme that I've been seeing for quite a while actually, for the past few years, with these clinics as they are transitioning from Strip into FUE. It's not directly related to what you're talking about but there's a connection with how some of these clinics are, like this guy said, have fallen asleep at the switch.

They're relying on their body of work from the past, and they're not presenting anything new. Part of this has to do with, or it reminds me about a subject that's also related is these doctors that are not getting out going to these conferences, going to these workshops and learning about these variations on the newer techniques and just sitting back on the hill in their palace looking down from a distance and not really understanding what these changes are, what these improvements are. That bothers me, because for one, it's sad to see some of these clinics they have such great reputations crumbling because they have become complacent.

Spencer Kobren:  Exactly, that's why they're crumbling. They don't realize that it doesn't matter if you've been in the industry for 20 years or 30 years, doesn't matter what reputation you have built, the game has changed completely. You guys are still the real leaders, you can be the leaders, but everyone else is going to be taking the opportunity to get what's theirs.

They see what the opportunity is, and the opportunity is like you said, their complacency.

The fact that, I hate to say it, and there's nothing wrong with these devices but a lot of these guys are spending money on these devices just in hopes that they are automatically going to be able to compete based on the fact they can say they are doing this type of procedure or they're incorporating this device into their practice. They find out pretty quickly that that is not the case, because what's happening is they begin to lose their autonomy because they're allowing themselves fall under the  product manufacturer umbrella.

Again, there's nothing wrong with these devices but you still have to maintain your autonomy. Like you said, you still have to be able to differentiate yourselves from everyone else. Is the ARTAS robot as good in a novice's hand who doesn't know anything, the nuances of surgical hair restoration as it is and like a guy like Ken Anderson's clinic? The answer is obvious, the machine itself is exactly the same. If the software upgrades are the same. But if you don't understand the discipline of hair transplantation, if you're a non expert in this field, if you do not have the right staff, if you don't understand the nuances of the procedure, then it is not going to be the same.

Joe Tillman: It's the same difference as saying two punches, two 0.85 millimeter punches, same manufacturer, same everything. Will that punch allow the doctor produce the same result with two different levels of experience? It's a same with the robot.

Spencer Kobren:  Exactly. But they are hoping -- Listen, it's smart of the product manufacturer to do things the way that they're doing them so you can't blame the product manufacturer, but I think it's important that these doctors understand this.

Joe Tillman: Well, that's what a lot of these doctors have resorted to doing and like you said it's like, "I'll buy into this product, product X, whatever it may be and in exchange my name's going to be on this website where a million dollars is being poured into PPC. campaigns and SEO, and people will find me and I'll just be able to keep doing what I'm doing". That's not the way it works, that's not the way these better recognized clinics, that's not how they're supposed to be carrying on and it's not working. I know some clinics have done it and they've been dropping.

It's unfortunate, because I just say it before, sorry to cut you off but it really it's sad to me on a different level that some of these clinics are like, "I hate seeing that". And other ones like, "Jesus, how can such a stupid decision be made?" These are smart people making really dumb decisions about their business, and that's sad on a different level.

Spencer Kobren:  Well, I know this one guy down in-- He's here in Southern California who is now, his entire website is basically a promotion for the device that he's using. This guy's been in the field for 20, 30 years, and it's a desperate move and it's move that in my view is really harming his practice.

Joe Tillman: It can harm anyone's practice

Spencer Kobren:  You don't know how long these companies are going to be around, whatever company it is. This is what I like about, no matter what is out there, I'm not even going to give the guy's name, but there's a guy out there that has worked with different device companies but always maintains his autonomy, always bases his marketing on his expertise not on the device that he's using.

He says he incorporates these devices whether it's a robot, whether it's a neograft, whether it was the Omni graft originally but all the marketing is based on his experience, his social proof, his credentialing. This guy, everything is American hair loss association, everything is IAHRS, everything is that he's board certified by the ABHRS.

Joe Tillman: ABHRS, yes.

Spencer Kobren:  Everything talks about his experience as a general surgeon, he's willing to talk about the experience of his technicians, because he knows that at any given moment these companies can fail and he's still going to have a thriving practice. People don't get that shit, they really don't get that. The bottom line is if you depend on this type of marketing as opposed to just creating happy patients, getting that information out there, using the right social proof.

Then you are in a position where you're probably hiring marketing people, you're probably hiring office administrators who are juggling the books every year trying to figure out, "Okay, this is our marketing budget, we're going to take a little bit from here and take a little bit from there because we only have a certain amount". Make believe,  somehow show their bosses that this is working so they can maintain their relevance. The truth is it's your business and  every year you're making less money, "You know what? We took money away from this end we put it towards this end, this end seems to be bringing us a little bit more ROI".

In the end, adding tattoo removal or cool sculpting or whatever it is, is harming your reputation in my view. And in the end, you're going to lose.

Find A Surgeon

The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.