Are Big Device Makers Enhancing Or Destroying Hair Transplant Surgery?

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.

Spencer Kobren:  If SmartGraft or whoever the company is says, "Well, maybe if we actually provide a stronger educational base, in the end we're going to have less problems. We're going to sell more devices and we're going to help a hell of a lot more people."

Joey Brown:  Exactly.

Spencer Kobren: That's my hope. 

Joey Brown: Exactly. That is exactly what's happening at SmartGraft. Every time we talk to a physician who's interested in getting into hair restoration, who's looking at SmartGraft as a device to offer hair restoration within their practice, I try to guide them to one of the top hair docs who's already in the industry. 

Joey Brown: I constantly have physicians reaching out to Dr. Alan Bauman, to Dr. Glenn Charles, to Dr. Craig Ziering. I'm trying to educate them on the nuances of the procedure. I can't tell you how many people walk up to me and say to me when they find out that I'm in this industry. They say, "Wow. You have a great head of hair. It's a good thing you've never had to have hair restoration." 

Spencer Kobren: Sure.

Joey Brown: It almost makes me laugh. I have a great head of hair because I've had hair restoration, because I took the right path, because I ultimately found the right physician, who did the right procedure for me. Actually, that's what we're trying to promote. 

Joey Brown: Yes, I want the best possible graft, and I want to put that in the hands of the best doc. If I'm not putting in the hands of the best doc tomorrow, I want to give that doc the opportunity to seek out proper training and education so that he can also be ... Have the hands of one of the best docs. Does that make sense?

Spencer Kobren: It does make sense. Here's the issue. A lot of guys, initially when they get into the field, even if they're buying the Rolls Royce of hair transplant machines, they are under the misconception that all they have to do is use some of the market materials that are being provided for them, be listed on the device maker's website and work with traveling techs or maybe even hire some techs. They're going to start churning out the cash.

Spencer Kobren: Now, yeah, that can happen. There are only at least from what I'm seeing the way I'm seeing things evolve and that could change. It could shift in a couple of months. 

Spencer Kobren: There are only a handful of guys who've purchased these devices, in my view. I'm not talking about the SmartGraft. I'm talking in general who have really taken the time to say, "You know what? I'm going to take this seriously. This isn't just going to be another stream of income for me. This isn't just going to be something else I'm putting on my menu. I want to be a hair transplant surgeon. I understand the value of it. I understand how we can actually help people who are really in need. I also understand it's the most expensive cosmetic surgery there is so if I do enough of them, I'm going to make a hell of a lot of money, so I want to do it really well."

Spencer Kobren: There's too few guys out there, at least right now, in my view who have that thought process. 

Joey Brown: I agree. Spencer, I agree. It's absolutely troubling, especially for somebody who's losing their hair, who had those emotions, who went through that process, who walked to that path. That's why I'm in this business. 


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.