I had hair transplant done by Dr. Quatela of Rochester, NY and he was very disappointing. How can I find a better surgeon?

I met with Dr. Quetela and had a hair transplant procedure done by him. Is it common for the doctor not to be in the room? He had his nurses/PA? do the procedure and I am terribly disappointed with my $9,000 investment. First off, avoid him at all costs. Secondly, is there a recommendation on who I can see to have the procedure done again? I want the FUE procedure, to avoid the scar in the back. Please provide promising referrals. I am tired of nonsense that comes with a sale.

Doctor Answers 8

Patient asks: "How can I find a good hair restoration surgeon?"

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Dear patient,

Thank you for writing in with your question. There are several ways to choose a hair restoration surgeon, all of which are complementary to each other. Unfortunately, a physician offering hair restoration services in the USA requires literally zero hours of surgery training. No kidding. As such, the results are all over the map. Some are very good, and some are not so much. There are gynecologists who are closing up shop, purchasing an FUE device, and calling themselves hair restoration “experts” in this country. Makes about as much sense as a facial plastic surgeon closing up shop, getting a gynecology table, and calling himself a gynecology expert. Doesn’t work that way in real-life, but with hair restoration, that’s the reality if the situation.

The NeoGraft device was introduced about 5 years ago, and is simply a machine that a physician (or, more likely, a technician) uses to perform the follicular unit extraction (FUE) procedure. It is more or less a motorized, hand-held circular punch, attached to suction. NeoGraft has done a tremendous amount of marketing, and I see physicians who have never done a hair transplant around the country acquire this machine, piggyback on the marketing done by NeoGraft, and start to offer this complicated, and permanent procedure to the public. In much of the country, the doctor will simply hire a technician (the going rate for a NeoGraft tech in Atlanta is $70/hour) to perform the procedure. It should be noted at this point that hair restoration technicians have the same exact medical training requirements as grass cutters: absolutely none. The physician only need sign the papers and be on the premises. No joke. So, whether using the NeoGraft, or the much more advanced ARTAS robotic hair restoration system, or any other device, including a 50 cent 1mm biopsy punch, it is the experience and dedication of the surgeon and his team that will determine the outcome.

Hair Restoration is it's own specialty now. There's a global society (the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery) and a Board. Choosing a surgeon 100% dedicated to hair restoration is paramount. If "NeoGraft" suddenly appears on a long list of other procedures a physician offers, I would be wary, as it is unlikely that the physician has a full-time, highly-trained team of hair restoration technicians, and is just hiring one of many "hired gun" technicians that will arrive at the office, and do the procedure for $70 an hour. There are hundreds of subtleties and nuances in hair restoration, and assuming that because a physician now offers NeoGraft, in addition to all the other procedures offered, will be competent and excel at hair restoration surgery is simply foolish. Look at the experience and dedication of the surgeon who will be performing the surgery, and make sure technicians are not actually the ones who will be performing the surgery. Also make sure the physician you choose is actually a trained surgeon. The majority of hair restoration "surgeons" are, in fact, not trained in surgery at all, and hold no board certificates in any surgical specialty whatsoever, so examine your physician's credentials carefully. You should feel perfectly comfortable asking for a copy of the surgeon's resume to review. Look for many years of dedication exclusively to hair restoration, not just cosmetic surgery in general.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Finding the right doctor

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In my practice for an FUE procedure I perform about 90% of it.  I do not have nurses or PA's making incisions, etc on patients.  My cases take 8-12 hours on average and I am present in the room almost the entire time.  To find a good recommendation, please visit the ISHRS website and look there for a qualified surgeon that has been an ACTIVE member of the ISHRS for some time and only specializes in hair restoration surgery.

Amir Yazdan, MD
Irvine Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Please Contact Our Office

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We are very sorry to hear about your disappointment. Patient satisfaction is our number one priority, and we will do whatever it takes to make this right. Please contact our office directly to speak to Brooke, Dr. Quatela’s Patient Consultant. We look forward to hearing from you so that we can remedy this situation. Thank you.

Vito C. Quatela, MD
Rochester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

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How to Choose the Right Hair Transplant Surgeon

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1.  Choose a doctor that solely performs hair transplant surgery.  Hair Transplantation is a specialty and requires a seasoned specialist, not a part time doctor who let's their technicians do all the work.  Not only is this disrespectful to a patient's investment and result, but also unethical.

2.  Search the ISHRS.org and find a doctor who has a surgeon background.  This will bring something extra to the surgery table.  If he's board certified, all the better.

3.  Make sure during the consultation you specifically ask if the doctor harvests the donor and makes the recipient sites.  If they hesitate with their answer or explain their techs are highly trained to perform everything, leave!

4.  Make sure they show you a good number of before/after pictures of their patients (not pictures that were sent to them by FUE equipment companies).

5.  If you're going to do FUE again, you could choose a doctor that is seasoned in using an automated hand-held device.  This will help you avoid a $1/graft royalty fee that doctors who use highly marketed FUE machines have to pay back to these equipment companies.

Hope this helps.  

Joseph Gallagher, DO
Fort Myers Hair Restoration Surgeon

If your doctor was "disappointing" do your research and interview several doctor and ask to speak to their former patients.

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If your doctor was "disappointing" do your research and interview several doctor and ask to speak to their former patients.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Avoiding a Bad Hair Transplant

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Unfortunately, there are a lot of pretenders attempting to do hair restoration. The proliferation of automated FUE devices have led to inexperienced clinics to add hair restoration as another procedure. Hair restoration is a difficult procedure to master, both surgically and artistically. FUE is not a procedure for everyone and choosing the wrong candidate for FUE can lead to growth problems leaving inadequate results.
Steps to avoid a bad hair transplant and find a qualified surgeon:
1. There are approximately 100 surgeons in the USA dedicated solely to hair transplantation.
2. Less than 80 are board certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS).
3. Approximately 40 hair restoration surgeons are Fellows of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (FIHRS).
4. Avoid clinics where you meet with a sales person.
5. Does their website show lots of good results. Is it their work? Ask them.
6. Google their name and learn about their practice. Are they dabbling in hair transplantation?
7. Don't let price cloud your decision making process.
8. Please visit link below to learn more.

Best wishes in your search for repair.

Disappointed with my surgeon.

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The best way to find a knowledgeable doctor is to go to the International Society for Hair Transplant Surgeons (ISHRS) website to find a doctor near you. Dr. Behner is in upstate New York and is quite good but as of now, you need to wait out your work before looking for another surgeon or doing another hair transplant. We offer fly in subsidies for patients who want to come to California for the good weather and our skills and have many such people do just that. 

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Technician Clinics

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There are three types of hair clinics:
1. Doctor-only clinics, where the surgeon performs most or all of the surgery. The scientific standard is, whenever an incision (cut) is made on the human body, this should be done by the surgeon. The graft harvesting phase and the recipient site incisions involve incisions, where as the graft placement part does not. In these type of clinics you will see that these standards are met.

2. Doctor supervised clinics, where the surgeon is in the facility, supervises the technicians, takes some or no part in the surgical procedure.

3. Technician-only clinics, where the doctor takes no part in the procedure and even may not be present in the facility. Even if he seems to be supervising, he actually does not contribute to the quality of the procedure.

The decision on what type of clinic you choose is at utmost importance of what you should expect as a service. Unfortunately, the price is not the only determining factor for quality and it could have been possible to get a doctor-only service in different parts of the world for a cheaper price than you paid.

Ali Emre Karadeniz, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.