Education & Insights Podcasts

While FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction/ Excision) is currently the most requested method of hair transplant surgery in the field, understanding the nuances and having the ability and the infrastructure to perform strip hair transplant surgery can be extremely beneficial to repair patients, or any patient who simply does not make a good candidate for FUE. IAHRS accepted member Pradeep Sethi, MD of Mumbai, India sits down with Spencer Kobren to discuss.

As the hair transplant field continues its massive expansion the overall quality of care has not only diminished, but has become more dangerous than it has ever been. Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS accepted member, Newport Beach hair transplant surgeon, Dr. Christopher Varona about the the current state of the field and warns patients about what really goes on behind the scenes even in the practices that attempt to present themselves as being ethically beyond reproach. Caveat Emptor, “let the buyer beware.”

The commoditization of the hair transplant industry began in its inception. As soon as the first TV ad was aired and the no-obligation free consultation was born, a tone was set that turned this incredibly nuanced and life altering discipline of cosmetic surgery into a one size fits all product that had less to do with medicine and more to do with sales. IAHRS Founding Member Alan J. Bauman. M.D. speaks with Spencer Kobren about the reality of free surgical consultations and the real price patients pay when lead generation takes precedence over medicine.

Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS accepted member Amir Yazdan, M.D. about the the growing reality of untrained and unethical physicians hiring unlicensed, per diem technicians with a few clicks on an app to perform unsupervised hair transplant surgery on unsuspecting patients. You can’t make this stuff up!

The IAHRS and The American Hair Loss Association advocate mentoring at all stages of a hair transplant surgeon's education and throughout their career, however, due to the the entrepreneurial and extremely competitive environment created by many of the old guard of this speciality, true mentoring has not been a priority in the field, IAHRS accepted member Patrick Mwamba, M.D. joins Spencer Kobren in studio to discuss.

According to the ABHRS website "The American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery is internationally recognized as the only 'board certification' focusing on hair restoration surgery for physicians worldwide.” While both the IAHRS and The American Hair Loss Association recognize the tremendous effort the ABHRS and its leadership has put into attempting to create a reasonable standard of care for this unregulated field, being a Diplomate of the ABHRS only signifies proficiency in being able to pass both a written and oral examination. Past President of the ABHRS and accepted member of the IAHRS, Scott Boden, M.D. joins Spencer Kobren in studio to discuss.

It is no secret that some of the biggest names in hair transplant surgery were not earned on the merit of their work, but by the effectiveness of their marketing and PR. Be smart, do your homework and if a clinic or surgeon is more interested in promoting his body of press than his body of work, move on.

IAHRS accepted member, Arika Bansal, M.D. discusses the importance of having realistic expectations when considering hair transplant surgery. Proper patient education is vital, and if you are not fully educated on the entire scope, possible pitfalls and limitations of hair transplant surgery, then surgery might not be right for you.

Hair transplant surgery can be an incredible, life changing option for those who make good candidates for the procedure, but in today’s cut-throat, turnkey, hair transplant mill environment, if prospective patients aren’t privy to the the information they need to make truly informed decisions, they are literally putting their lives in danger. Newport Beach, hair transplant surgeon and IAHRS accepted member Amir Yazdan, M.D. sits down with Spencer Kobren to discuss.

IAHRS accepted member, Manchester, UK hair transplant surgeon Dr. Asim Shahmalak stops by the studio to discuss the importance of honest, open patient education and the dangers that today’s hair transplant patients face when trying to navigate this treacherous field.

Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS founding member, Boca Raton hair transplant surgeon, Dr. Glenn Charles about the the importance of patient selection and the reality that not every hair loss sufferer makes a good candidate for surgical intervention.

Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS accepted member, Atlanta hair transplant surgeon, Ken Anderson M.D., about the complete lack of oversight in the field of hair transplant surgery and how this effects patients and the field as a whole.

Spencer Kobren speaks to IAHRS accepted member, Phoenix hair transplant surgeon Scott Alexander M.D. about the misinformation and confusion consumers face in today’s devolving hair transplant industry. No matter how “advanced” the technology, when it comes to hair transplant surgery, outcomes (good or bad) are dictated by people, not machines.

FUE hair transplant surgery is arguably the most nuanced and difficult discipline of cosmetic surgery to perform well on a consistent basis, however, many product manufacturers, untrained cosmetic surgeons and hair transplant marketers will have you think that surgical hair restoration is a simple “one size fits” all nothing procedure. Bottom line: no matter what piece of equipment a physician or clinic purchases, all devices are 100% user dependent and can be extremely dangerous if not used by a physician and staff who has proper training and "time on tissue.”

IAHRS accepted member and past president of the ABHRS, Scott Boden M.D. has a candid conversation with Spencer Kobren concerning the value of becoming a diplomate of the ABHRS as well the importance for the board to change its ideology and thinking to fit today’s times.

Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS accepted member, Connecticut hair transplant surgeon Scott Boden M.D. about the dangers associated with the pop-up, turnkey, chop shops that are literally littering this field. Remember, hair transplant surgery is real surgery and no matter how it’s marketed, it is one of the most technically difficult and demanding cosmetic procedures to perform well. Choose your surgeon wisely.

As in Turkey, hair transplant surgery is one of India’s fastest growing industries and in general, the standard of care provided by many of these pop-up clinics are not good. With that said there are a handful of exceptionally skilled and ethical surgeons in the region performing truly state of the art hair transplant surgery. IAHRS accepted member, Mumbai hair transplant surgeon Pradeep Sethi, M.D. flew half way across the world to sit down with Spencer Kobren in his Los Angeles studio to discuss the current state of the industry in India and how prospective patients can avoid making a bad decision that will effect the rest of their lives.

While state of the art hair transplant surgery can be an undeniably, positive life changing experience for those who make the the right choices, today’s hair transplant patients face more difficulty choosing a qualified practice than in any other time in history. IAHRS accepted member, Boca Raton hair transplant surgeon, Alan J. Bauman, M.D. drops by the studio to discuss the frightening state of today’s hair transplant field and provides his insights on how patients safely navigate this treacherous field.

Confusion marketing is actually a “thing.” It’s a tactic that has been used by many industries to create a state of mind that leads to consumers making imperfect purchasing decisions. Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS accepted member, Atlanta hair transplant surgeon, Ken Anderson, M.D. about the current devolving state of the hair transplant field and why it’s more difficult than it has ever been for consumers to navigate this minefield of misinformation.

In Turkey’s cutthroat hair transplant tourism industry, the financial costs of surgical hair restoration to patients may seem to be getting cheaper,  but the long term physical and emotional stakes are far higher than most naive consumers could have ever expected. Listen to this BBC Radio exclusive interview of a UK hair transplant repair patient discussing his experience in detail and hear what The Bald Truth’s UK contributor Spencer (Spex) Stevenson has to say about the importance of doing your due diligence before considering this life altering cosmetic procedure.

No matter what narrative the device makers are trying to sell to both vulnerable consumers and physicians just entering the field, not every patent is a candidate for FUE hair transplant surgery. In some cases patients can benefit much more from either having strip (FUT) surgery alone or a hybrid of FUE and FUT. Spencer Kobren speaks to IAHRS accepted member Paul Rose, M.D. about the reality and the limitations of FUE hair transplant surgery and that while it has its place and can provide incredible results for many, it simply is not for everyone and those who are ignorant to this fact, both patients and practitioners, are not making truly informed decisions.

Whatever the device, and however a company or customer tries to market it, the bottom line is that hair transplant surgery is an incredibly nuanced discipline of cosmetic surgery that takes an incredible amount of skill and experience to perform consistently well. No machine on the planet can reproduce that skill set or the judgment that comes along with human experience. Spencer Kobren speaks with Joey Brown, Executive Vice President of SmartGraft about solving the issue of these devices getting into inexperienced hands and the damage that can occur if consumers do not have their hair transplant surgery performed by truly qualified and experienced practitioners.

The power of celebrity culture and social media in relation to the rise of cosmetic surgery is a phenomenon that has all but taken the medicine out of very real, life altering surgery. Unless a person is truly versed in the entire scope and possible pitfalls of hair transplant surgery, no amount of money or fame will save them from a bad outcome. Sadly, once a celebrity signs on “the dotted line” to go public with their cosmetic surgery, many find it difficult to come out after they realize they have been botched. UK reality star Maria Fowler might not be the first celebrity to discuss undergoing cosmetic surgery, but she is absolutely the first to come out after undergoing a botched hair transplant, leaving her with no option but to undergo a second surgery to have it repaired by IAHRS accepted surgeon Dr. Edward Ball.

Maria Fowler of the UK's "The Only Way is Essex" fame opens up about her first hair transplant disaster and how vital it is for prospective patients to do their homework before undergoing hair transplant surgery.

Spencer Kobren invites Joey Brown, Executive Vice President of SmartGraft, in studio to discuss the vision and mission of the company, as well as the issues that surround selling devices like this to poorly trained and unskilled physicians.  While SmartGraft is certainly one of the most sophisticated small footprint, FUE extraction devices being manufactured today, remember it's just a tool and is only as good a the hand that wields it.  

It is becoming clear that hair transplant consumers are more confused about their options today than ever, but what’s even more troublesome is that many of the new breed of hair transplant  “surgeons" and technicians who have actually been entrusted with the lives of patients, are lost themselves. If everyone is trying to figure it out together, the outcome can be dismal to say the least.  Due to the amount of conflicting and false information being presented about hair transplant surgery online, even when the best efforts are made by the consumer, they can often fall short in making a truly educated decision that in the end can devastate their lives. If the machine potentially being used still has the wrapper, the consultant is a brand new hire, and the physician has yet to understand and learn the craft of hair transplantation, people will likely and inevitably receive sub-optimal results. Remember, no matter the tool, hair transplant surgery is a team effort, and your result will be only as good as the team’s weakest link.

If you don’t choose the right hair transplant surgeon the first time, you are in for a long, expensive and emotionally draining journey. Today’s turnkey, chop shop, device brand driven industry is literally destroying lives. IAHRS accepted member, Los Angeles hair transplant surgeon Marc Dauer, M.D. discusses just how critical it is for prospective hair transplant patients to choose their surgeons wisely, and to avoid the marketing hype that is not only destroying the field, but the hopes and dreams of so many vulnerable hair loss sufferers.

When it comes to researching hair transplant surgery, today’s hair transplant patients are in more danger than ever. With the creation of product manufacturer “credentials,” and cosmetic surgery website “Top Doc” logos, the deck is stacked against consumers to make truly informed decisions. . Even our Undercover Tech has no clue what many of the “designations” actually mean.

If you ever wanted to know what's really going on in one of today’s countless, tunkey, pop-up hair transplant practices this TBT undercover tech segment should be enlightening. Before you consider having surgery make sure your surgeon has the proper experience, credentials and is actually taking part in your surgery.

While The Turkish Society of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons and The International Alliance of Hair Restorations Surgeons (IAHRS) have both issued warnings to hair transplant consumers about the countless illegal hair transplant mills popping up in Turkey, many young hair loss patients are still willing to risk their health and their looks on the promise of an inexpensive hair loss fix. IAHRS accepted member Marc Dauer, M.D. discusses his impressions after meeting three young men who have just undergone surgery at one these Turkish hair transplant mills.

Hair loss is a subject that society as a whole does not seem to recognize as the emotional devastating disease of the spirt that it is for so many. Spencer Kobren and Spencer (Spex) Stevenson discuss on this segment of TBT UK.  

IAHRS accepted member, Baubac Hayatdavoudi, M.D., discusses the the reality of being a young hair transplant patient and the importance of these young hair loss sufferers understanding the very real limitations of the procedure in those experiencing early onset male pattern baldness.

Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS accepted member Paul Rose, M.D. about finally having the ability to share real data on the efficacy of PRP systems so consumers can avoid wasting their time and their money on ineffective procedures.

The truth is, if you are not having your hair transplant surgery performed in a dedicated hair transplant facility, with a well credentialed physician and an accountable in-house staff, it is likely that you not only will end up with less than optimal results, it’s very possible that you are not receiving what you are paying for. Welcome to the “new normal” of the turnkey, product manufacturers driven hair transplant industry.

You can’t have a hair transplant without local anesthetic, and of course the numbing agent of choice is lidocaine. While generally believed to be an innocuous, safe agent that works by blocking nerve signals to your body, unless it is administered correctly and precisely, tailored to an individual's medical history and physiology, severe side effects can occur, including death. The hair transplant industry is seeing more lidocaine toxicity than ever before and many believe it’s because of the use of unlicensed personel to administer, and monitor patients (besides performing the procedure) during the hair transplant surgery. Listen to IAHRS accepted member Daniel Danyo, M.D. discuss the real danger of lidocaine toxicity from the perspective of a former pain management specialist with an intimate understanding on how these medications interact with the body as well as other medications patients are taking during the time of surgery.

We’ve been preaching for years that not all PRP is created equal, and in fact most of what is being promoted both in the hair loss world and more recently in the mainstream cosmetic surgery space is completely worthless. IAHRS founding member, Miami hair transplant surgeon and hair loss expert, Paul T. Rose M.D., J.D. discusses his latest findings and exposes the unfortunate reality that many being treated for various conditions in the aesthetic space are simply throwing their hard earned money and hope down the drain.

Hair transplant surgery is one of the most nuanced, elegant and difficult forms of cosmetic surgery performed today, but for some reason many new physicians entering the field and device makers never seemed to have received “the memo.” Listen to TBT’s “Undercover Tech” as she clues in prospective hair transplant patients as to what is really going on in these turn-key hair transplant practices. Remember, no two cases are alike and if you think one device or one way of doing things will benefit all patients, you are being sold a bill of goods.

As more device makers and novice physicians enter the field, the average hair transplant result has declined tremendously. Consumers need to do their research in ways that will take much more time and effort than most fully understand. While the art of hair transplant surgery has come a long way, the industry is imploding and sadly taken many unsuspecting patients with it.

The hair transplant industry has hit an all time low and as more inexperienced “surgeons” purchase what is being sold to them as a simple turnkey device to offer hair transplant surgery to their patents, they may unwittingly be doing more harm than good, to both their patients and their practices. Take a listen to this compelling “Undercover Tech” segment discussing the truth of this disturbing and dangerous trend. 

IAHRS accepted member Paul Rose. MD, JD has the quiet reputation for being one of the most talented and ethical hair transplant surgeons and a true patient advocate in the field. In this segment he discusses his take away from Spencer Kobren’s lecture on "The Patient’s Perspective.”

When it comes to researching a hair transplant surgeon, prospective patients should not be lulled into the false sense of security that a "Harvard trained," board certified plastic surgeon is in any way more skilled or more ethical, than an internist with no surgical residency. Hair transplant surgery is an extremely specialized, difficult and elegant form of cosmetic surgery that takes incredible commitment to learn how to perform to state of the art standards. In this game, where you were “educated” is less important than how you were educated, and understanding the nuances of proper patient selection as well as how to “first do no harm.”

While device manufactures are trying to convince physicians as well as customers that they are producing the most state of the art devices to to perform modern day hair transplant surgery, the truth is that not all tools work well on all patients and in all practices. A true state of the art hair transplant has less to do with the tools being used and more to do with those who are using the tools.

Spencer Kobren and Spencer (Spex) Stevenson speak with a UK caller about how devastating it was for him to first realize he was losing his hair. While society does not “allow” men to discuss how hair loss effects their lives and even seems tolerant of public “bald shaming,” many dealing with hair loss are emotionally struggling in ways those not affected by it can fully understand.

Is it really in the prospective hair transplant patient’s best interest for website owners to allow anonymous forum posters the freedom to criticize and even defame clinics that they never had surgery with? With some forum moderators contributing to this type of misguided and unprofessional online character assassination, others maintain a firm stance against directing the narrative in order ensure that a fair and level discussion about clinical complaints takes place. If you are currently researching hair transplant surgery this is a segment you should watch.

Long gone are the days of the Better Business Bureau and the repercussions of being “reported” to the triple B. Today, consumers can bypass everything and make specific and direct complaints that can be seen by tens of thousands of people in a matter of hours. The problem is that we don’t know who is making a legitimate complaint and who is just trying to stir up trouble for their competitor. Jeff calls the show to share his perspective as a legitimate repair patient.

The extremely competitive, sadly commoditized, entrepreneurial environment of cosmetic surgery has not only made it more difficult for skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons to practice their craft, but has made the field a much more dangerous place for hair transplant consumers. Sadly things are only getting worse. Spencer Kobren and IAHRS accepted member Sanusi Umar, MD, FAAD, FASDS discuss the competitive nature of this field and what can be done to improve the current environment in order to make it a safer place for consumers.

As the hair transplant industry continues to grow out of control, it's apparent that many novice surgeons, patient consultants or sales reps, haven’t a clue of the importance of patient selection when it comes to this extremely difficult discipline of cosmetic surgery. Anyone can sell a hair transplant to a vulnerable hair loss sufferer, but that doesn’t mean its in the best interest of the patient. Spencer Kobren and TBT UK contributor Spencer (Spex) Stevenson discuss the reality of appropriate patient selection and how some people should never even consider undergoing hair transplant surgery.

For those who make good candidates, and find the right surgeon and surgical team, hair transplant surgery can be an extremely positive, life changing experience. For the countless consumers who fall prey to hair transplant device maker marketing and inexperienced novice practitioners, the outcomes can be disastrous, and the field is becoming more confusing and dangerous every year. Martin calls the the guys on the UK show to discuss his success story and why he believes he has such a positive hair transplant experience.

As they say, there is a sucker born every minute and in the new world of device driven hair transplant surgery, many of those suckers are the naïve cosmetic surgeons who invest in what they believe are turkey solutions to enter the extremely lucrative world of hair restoration surgery. Whether you are a potential hair transplant patient doing their research or a plastic or cosmetic surgeon interested in learning the discipline, this is a segment you'll want watch.

Hair transplant marketing has hit an all time low and many clinics will promise potential patients the moon without even having a minimal body of evidence that illustrates their ability to meet the patient’s expectations.  Bottom line: it is up to prospective patients  to do their due diligence and ask doctors and consultants for verifiable evidence that they can actually provide you with the outcomes they are promising. You’ll be surprised how many can’t.

IAHRS accepted member Dr. Baubac, explains the importance of patients having a full understanding of the hair transplant process as well as their particular needs before even considering undergoing hair transplant surgery. If you don’t know at least as much as the consultant, you have not conducted enough research. Do your homework

Spencer Kobren speaks with TBT’s undercover doc about the dark underbelly of the hair transplant industry.  Is your hair transplant “surgeon” breaking the law and putting patients at risk? Apparently that is a matter up for interpretation according to many cosmetic surgeons now offering hair transplant surgery in their practices.  

Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS accepted member Michael Vories, MD, about the dumbing down of the hair transplant field and the extreme risks that patients are taking if they don’t do their due diligence by thoroughly researching their hair transplant surgeon.  Bottom line: In today’s environment, it seems that many of the technicians in the field know more about hair transplant surgery than the “surgeons” patients are entrusting your care to. 

Spencer Kobren and Joe Tillman speak with a caller who is concerned about having to take time off from training post surgery. Bottom line: Hair transplant surgery is a financial and emotional investment that takes some sacrifice in order to ensure the best possible outcome.

Spencer Kobren Speaks with ABHRS Diplomate Dr. Ken Williams about the current dangers facing today’s  hair transplant patient and the total lack of effectiveness in  establishing a straight forward message that articulates the minimal standard of care and education patients should expect and demand from their hair transplant providers. Caveat Emptor, “Let the buyer beware.”

We all want the perfect head of hair, but when it comes to hair transplant surgery, it’s important to remember that each and every procedure comes with real risks. If you’re a hair transplant patient who is currently comfortable with his appearance, attempting to add just a little more might not be worth the risk.

While it might seem insane that an NYC sanitation worker was performing late night hair transplants back in the 90’s in New York, what's happening in the field today is just as shocking. FUE hair transplant surgery is a far more demanding procedure than the type of strips being performed in the late 90s, and now there are even less qualified labor technicians performing the entirety of these procedures, all under the “watchful” eyes of the physicians who own these cosmetic surgery mills.

There are countless “walking wounded” looking to have botched hair transplant procedures repaired so that they can move on with their lives feeling comfortable in their own skin. However, for many men in search of repair, the commitment of living another 6 months of their lives looking worse before they look better can be daunting. If you’re considering repair hair transplant surgery this is a segment you’ll want to watch.

Spencer Kobren and Joe Tillman speak with a caller who voices his disappointment in the current state of the hair transplant field and explain why the hair transplant industry is more dangerous for consumers than it has been in more than two decades.

SMP (Scalp Micro Pigmentation) is one of the latest and most heavily marketed hair loss “solutions” being offered in the hair loss industry today, Essentially a permanent or semi-permanat cosmetic scalp tattoo, SMP is offered as both an alternative to hair transplant surgery as well as an adjunct to surgery. The key to researching this procedure is to remember that all SMP is not created equal and not every hair loss sufferer makes a good candidate for this cosmetic tattooing processes.

While there is usually a set criteria for a prospective academic presenter to be accepted to lecture at a medical conference, the requirements are not necessarily indicative of any verifiable expertise in the field. In general, physicians submit a short abstract of their proposed presentation which then undergoes a peer review process. Depending on the size of the conference, even novices in the field might be allowed to present if the review committee believes the presentation will fill seats. If your hair transplant surgeon markets themselves a being “published,” or as a lecturer in the field, take the time to do your homework to ensure your hair transplant surgeon is a true expert at their craft and not just an accomplished cosmetic surgery marketer.

As always, Spencer Kobren speaks candidly from The Advanced FUE Los Angeles workshop about how important it is for physicians interested in offering hair transplant surgery in their practice, to really learn the craft before investing in any “turnkey” device. Bottom line: The fastest way to destroy your hard earned reputation is to jump into hair transparent surgery without being properly trained.

Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS founding member Paul Rose, M.D. live from The Advance FUE Los Angeles workshop in Redondo Beach, CA. about some of the devastating outcomes being produced by untrained physicians and clinics who are simply purchasing heavily marketed hair transplant devices and who are not even comming close to providing the minimal standard of care to unsuspecting patients.

Have the medical device manufacturers, novice hair transplant practitioners and ill-informed patients accepted less natural and even sparse results as the new normal? Sadly, it appears that a new narrative is being created and expectations are lower than they’ve been in years. Remember, it is possible to get a great hair transplant but sadly, most of what is being offered today by these turn key practices is mediocre at best and that seems ok with today’s hash-tag, cosmetic surgery consumer and mainstream cosmetic surgery marketing websites.

IAHRS accepted member, Atlanta hair transplant surgeon Daniel Danyo, MD, speaks with spencer Kobren about conventional strip surgery and its relevance in today’s standard of care, even though he chooses to perform FUE exclusively in his practice.

The internet is a cesspool of misleading sales and marketing tactics targeting vulnerable hair transplant consumers, making research even more difficult. No matter how much good research you have done, understanding that all cometic surgery comes with risk of disappointment, or worse, is vital before undergoing treatment.

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.

If the risk of having a hair transplant can possibly be greater than the reward, hair transplantation might not be for you. Jeff from Connecticut calls in to talk about his successes and his mistakes as a young man desperately trying to remedy his hair loss.

There seems to be a new breed of hair transplant “surgeon” marketing their wares to unsuspecting consumers. Some experts claim they believe that the legal practice of medicine might be up to interpretation when it comes to hair transplant surgery. So if you think that medicine is a tightly regulated industry, think again.

Los Angeles hair transplant surgeon, Dr. Sansui Umar, calls the show to discuss the possible advantages of the use of ultrasonic energy to help score the skin and extract grafts in FUE hair transplant surgery.

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.