Truth In Hair Transplant Marketing, Good Luck Figuring It Out

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.

Undercover Tech: There's very little say in what happens, unless the physician is physically inserting themselves and involving themselves in the procedure. A lot of times the physician doesn't know how many grafts it was, the patient doesn't know how many and I mean no one knows.

Spencer Kobren: I don't mean to laugh, but I mean this information is so important. It doesn't matter how much I have been banging my head against the wall, and banging my drum and getting this information out there. Having someone who's in the trenches, day in and day out, who's actually performing the surgery, especially in this new world of hair transplant, the hair transplant industry, which is sadly ... A lot of the millennials who are just getting involved, who are just starting to lose their hair are really under the impression that they can get this really simple out patient scarless procedure.

Anyone who has, they're asking for a hair transplant procedure based on the name of a machine. Instead of saying, "I'm interested in having an FUE or an FUT procedure," they are either asking about SmartGraft, NeoGraft, ARTAS. Let me tell you, there's a lot less people asking for the robot now than say just a year and a half or two years ago. What we usually hear now is, mostly neo graft and now smart graft. They're asking, at least what consumers are asking about.                  

Whatever the device is, they're lost. They truly believe that this is now, this is what to say to the art. The hair transplants that your grandfather had, that's a thing of the past, and that everyone like you said, it's a one size fits all procedure. There are no nuances to every individual case. Like I think you said so eloquently in the slide that I used for my presentation, I mean both in my view, both consumers and physicians are being sold a lie. That was a very powerful statement.

Undercover Tech:  Honestly it hurts my heart. I don't, I know that probably sounds silly, but when I talk with patients, as the surgery is unfolding, I know that they have tried their best to educate themselves. There is so much false information online and they come in for consultation.

Then half of the time the consultation is with someone who is also brand new to hair and only knows about this one device that they have, that no one is getting accurate information. Everybody is moving forward off of these lies. Honestly the patients doing the best they can. They're thinking they made an informed decision. 

The consultant has been, not brainwashed, but has been convinced that this device that they have in their office, this is the best device. There's no understanding of all of the options. The patient doesn't know the options. The physician and the practice doesn't know that there's other options, that this is not the best thing for this patient.

Spencer Kobren: You're breaking up. Say that last sentence again.

Undercover Tech: There's just a whole mess of things that are happening, and so when I see online, "All reward, no risk," or whatever the phrasing was, who is getting out of this risk free? That's what is the most terrible part, is that, patients and physicians are thinking this is just a risk free surgery that, their medical license isn't on the line. Patients saying nothing bad can happen, it's scarless. When that couldn't be further from the truth.


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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.