The Dark Underbelly Of The Hair Transplant Industry - Undercover Doc

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.

Spencer Kobren:  For guys like yourself and for members who are already members of my organization and members of the ISHRS who really care about their patients, it’s really making it a very difficult environment for both the physician in the field and sadly and more importantly the patient, because there’s so much misinformation out there. No one knows what the fuck to do.

Anonymous: This has gotten this way recently in the last six, five years I believe since all these plastic surgeons and dermatologists as well have piled into the hair business now just to add it onto their services. More or less, it’s just to collect an extra $6,000 or $10,000 a day doing a procedure that they’re not involved in at all. Now, I want to go back to the first doctor we were talking about, the one with the 3,000 graph magic number.

Spencer Kobren:  Sure.

Anonymous: As I walked out of the consultation I said to the lady, “Could I just stick my head into the room where you might be doing the procedure?” She said, “Sure, go ahead”. She leaves me there and I go stick my head in. As I’m standing in this room, I’m looking at basically what would normally be a plastic surgeon’s office or operating room where you’ve got the equipment to put somebody to sleep and monitors etc.

It’s not set up at all to do a hair transplant. There’s no place that they were going to do a strip, for example. They couldn’t dissect a strip. There’s no table set up specifically for that purpose. Where are they  going to cut the grafts I said, “Why are you cutting the grafts in here?” By the way, the head of tech came in at that point. I’m asking him questions.

I look around, I said, “Why are you cutting grafts? They told me they can do 5,000 graft strip”. I said, “Where are you going to cut 3,000 graphs, or 2,000 graphs in this room?” He points at this push cart. This metal push cart that are generally--

Spencer Kobren: I know what you’re talking about. Basically, they generally hold instruments.

Anonymous: They've got a shelf at the top and a shelf at the bottom. You can’t get your legs are under it, you can’t really sit there comfortably and cut anything.

Spencer Kobren: You can’t put a microscope on it.

Anonymous: No, you can’t put a light and no room for a microscope. It’s really -- It's not even possible to do it on those tables, because as I recall now

Spencer Kobren: Basically, these guys were freeballing. There’s no lighting. There’s no backlight, there’s no microscopes. There’s nothing. It’s just on these metal tables. 

Anonymous: Right. I’m talking to this guy and I’m telling him that I’ve been told I should get 3,000 graphs. He’s looking at my scalp and everything. He says to me basically, “I really recommend probably you should do a strip”. I said, “Why?” He says, “Why, because with FUE you only going to probably have about 70% survival”.

Spencer Kobren:  [laughs]

Speaker 2: I said, “70% of what? Why don’t I just pay for 70%?"

Spencer Kobren:  [laughs]

Anonymous: “Why are you charging 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.