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"Cutting Edge” Is Sometimes Code For BS - Hair Transplants 101

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.

Parsa Mohebi, MD: I got this idea a few years ago, when I went to one of his workshops, and it was faculty and IAHRS meeting in Alaska, I think. That was when one of these companies, before the time that we had robots ... the approval for the robots, so they were selling the device, and they were calling to get the turnkey procedure, or practice. I saw a bunch of ... in the people that I was training, there were a lot of doctors who had never done hair transplant. They just bought the device, and started doing the hair transplant, and then they realized, "Oh, there's more to that."

Spencer Kobren: That's right.

Parsa Mohebi, MD: It's just not harvesting the grafts. That's not hair transplant. So, then they started learning all this stuff, and it was a little painful to them. They were a little bit not happy from those companies that they didn't tell them the whole reality that hair transplant is really whole A to Z procedure, and you have to-

Spencer Kobren: Sadly, the companies themselves don't even know. They have these sales people who are out there just selling boxes, so to speak.

Parsa Mohebi, MD: True.

Spencer Kobren:They have no clue of the nuances, and just how difficult this procedure is. Their whole thing is its strip versus FUEs, scarless versus scar, which the fact of the matter is, we all know that FUE does cause scarring, even though it's a different type of scarring. It's ponte wound in a much smaller scar. There are thousands of them on the back of the scalp. These guys are sold a dream, and they're not told, "You know what? If you don't know how to do this well, you're going to have a lot of unhappy patients."

Parsa Mohebi, MD: Yes.

Spencer Kobren: I have known guys, well-known plastic surgeons, who are now being ripped apart online because they bought one of these machines, they screwed somebody up ... they didn't mean to, but they didn't take the time to really learn how to do this. After 20 years, their practice is really taking a big hit.

Parsa Mohebi, MD: That's true. That's one of the things that I'm seeing, and I'm seeing a lot of repair cases that we do is not coming from patients who had procedure 20 years ago. Unfortunately, a good number of them doing the procedure, just got a year ago or something.

Spencer Kobren: Yeah.

Parsa Mohebi, MD: The results are not there. The results are either not aesthetically pleasing, or it's just lacking ... the number of grafts don't match the result of the hair.

Spencer Kobren:  It's almost as if we're going backwards in time. It's like we're in 1996 again. We're seeing all this repair work. For a while, things were really consistently getting better. Now that all these device makers are putting out all these different devices, and selling them to anybody, the amount of complaints that we're receiving ... and the fact of the matter is, guys like yourself are coming to me and saying, "You know what? I'm seeing more repair cases than ever before from procedures that were performed six months ago." That's a big deal. It's really ... I think it's tragic, actually.

 

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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.