Lowering The Bar - The Current State Of The Hair Transplant Industry 

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. 

Michael Vories, MD: There's so many things in the FUE world that are concerning. Not just this particular part of it, but also the competition that we're seeing from physicians who really don't perform hair surgery at all. And, the people performing the hair surgeries are unlicensed technicians that fly in and do the procedure and fly out. And, usually this is in conjunction with some type of automated machine like the NeoGraft machine, where we have to pick up the pieces sometimes. Because as you may know, we use to use a NeoGraft machine-

Spencer Kobren:  Right, right.

Michael Vories, MD: But, we saw the suction that was associated with the NeoGraft machine was really damaging tissue. And, this doesn't really matter who's operating the machine, it's the suction. So, we got away from that several years ago and once we did that, we saw much more consistent results.

I guess some of this, the way I see it is that FUE is still in its infancy. When a new technology comes out like this, the standards really haven't been set, so there are no standards. So, you do have this kind of Wild West mentality where you have these fly-in techs and these docs who really don't know what they're doing promoting themselves as FUE masters

Spencer Kobren: Yeah.

Michael Vories, MD: And, things like this. As time goes on, I'd like to believe that, that's going to change. As time goes on I think more and more people are going to do their research online and find out who's doing what and let the results speak for themselves.

I know that when I had ... I had a hair transplant back in 1998 by Bob True. And, before I selected Dr. True, who I think is a wonderful doctor. Before I selected him, I can remember myself going online and this was 1998.

Spencer Kobren: Right.

Michael Vories, MD: And, just looking at hairlines over and over again. Trying to think this is the guy I want to have because his results were online and those pictures speak a thousand words, if not more. And so, I think that as more and more people do their research, they're going to find out who's doing the good work and who isn't. The reality is, that for hair restoration surgeons like myself there's more business out there than we know what to do with.

Spencer Kobren: Absolutely!

Michael Vories, MD: Especially if you're doing good work. I mean, that's another thing about FUE. Physician directed FUE where I'm doing all the extractions and I'm placing all the grafts myself. I can't do more than one procedure a day.

Spencer Kobren: Right.

Michael Vories, MD: So, that's 250 surgeries a year and that's it for me. 

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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.