Physician Answered Q & As

Unhappy With Hair Transplant Result – What Actions Can I Take?

Hello, I was wondering if you could help me. I am withholding my name for the time being. On August 8, 2007 I went for a consultation for a hair transplant at MHR. At this consultation the consultant drew a new hairline on my head with magic marker ( I have the picture from consultation ) and told me how many grafts I would need for my transplant. He planned out a surgery for my entire head. I agreed to the surgery. This was changed by the doctor on the day of surgery (August 31, 2007) to just the front of my head. I have since learned from various sources that having the consultant make a surgical plan or even draw on my head with magic marker is Illegal and unethical, that the surgeon doing the hair transplant has to do the planning with the patient pre surgery. I am very unhappy about my surgery. I have a rim of hair that circles my head which is my new hairline and very little to no density behind it. I have been told by doctors that at best, I have maybe 500 grafts in head. I paid over 8 thousand dollars fro 2,226 grafts. I feel like I have been disfigured. I was told that if I contact the New York state department of education and reported about the consultation incident there that there is a possibility I can get my money back. I was told by someone else that I could send an email directly to MHR and tell them I am unhappy and tell them about what went on at the consultation first, that they might refund my money although I will have to sign a waiver. I opted not to have my pre and post op pictures and my name kept confidential If I do get my money back and I sign a waiver. Will this negate this?( IE will they try to embarrass me?) Can you tell me what exactly are the regulations that govern a hair transplant consultation and who is the author (organization) that oversees it? Can you give me advice on this? I have all the documents related to the consultation. I really need help.

Thank you for your inquiry. You bring up many issues that deserve comment, however you do ask some legal questions that I am probably not completely qualified to answer.

It is very unfortunate that you had an experience and an outcome that did not meet your expectations or goals. My first recommendation is that you seek out the physician and discuss your expectations from the surgery and how the results did not deliver what the surgeon and consultant promised. Ask about the apparent discrepancy between the number of grafts you thought you received and the actual number on your head. The last thing that a group practice or physician wants is an unhappy patient. The discussion may lead to some explanations and the possibility of an offer to correct the situation.

It is not uncommon for group practices and some individual practices to employ consultants to educate patients and to explain some of the medical and surgical treatments, including drawing a potential hairline or identifying possible area of hair restoration. This action is not providing treatment nor is it determining the “surgical plan” and therefore likely not illegal. In your case the consultant did not determine the plan because the surgeon, the only person that can determine the plan, did something different than the consultant had suggested. It was at this stage in the process that you had every right to question the surgeon and the plan that differed from what the consultant had told you. You could have in fact decided at that point to cancel the surgery.

I don’t know of any regulations or agencies that enforce a specific code of actions for consultants; you would have to contact an attorney in your state. My impression is that what happened to you is not illegal, but it does not negate the fact that you are very unhappy with your result. Contact the physician directly, discuss the situation, and seek a remedy. You might also consider seeing another physician to obtain their impression of the surgical result so that you have some additional information when speaking to the physician that operated on you.

Your experience may give other potential patients valuable insight into the hair restoration consultation. It underscores the importance of talking to the physician directly in order to understand the surgical plan and to gain a realistic idea of the potential result. If at any point the patient becomes unsure of any aspect of the process he or she can ask additional questions, seek other consultations, or decide to halt the surgery until they feel comfortable.

Good luck in the resolution of your problem.

  • Ittiaz Ahmad

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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.