What Type of Doctor Does Hair Restoration?

losing my hair now in my early 40s.  what doctor does hair replacements? all i heard of is bosley

Doctor Answers 17

Any Doctor at all, regardless of presence or absence of any surgery training at all

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In the USA, in order for a person to call themselves a "hair restoration surgeon", one only needs two things:
1) a medical license (e.g.: graduate medical school and do one single year of internship in any area of medicine)
2) the desire to call oneself a "hair restoration surgeon"

That's it.  No kidding.

There are no formal medical nor surgical training certificates required.  Nor is an ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties)-recognized Board Certificate in any medical or surgical specialty whatsoever.  

For example, a psychiatrist who has been doing nothing but talking to patients for the past 15 years may decide this afternoon to go to Kinko's and print up a "Hair Restoration Surgeon" sign, hire some independent contractors, get out some instruments, and the very next day, try his or her hand at performing a hair restoration surgery without a single minute of preparation, training, or experience.  Happens every day in this country.

There is a board certificate in Hair Restoration Surgery.  However, the Board is unfortunately not recognized by the ABMS, and does not have the infrastructure to establish training programs to teach physicians interested in hair restoration surgery how to do it.  

For instance, to obtain an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Surgery board certificate requires one obtain a medical license, then spend 5-6 years in an intensive surgical training programs working roughly 65-85 hours a week in surgery training for all those years.  Then, after those 5 or 6 years of supervised training by very experienced Board Certified ENT surgeons, an applicant surgeon who has completed those years must then sit for a 2 day, 16 hour written exam.  Then, the surgeon must pass 16 hours of oral examination over 2 days by leaders and top surgeons in the field in ENT.  It's a near-decade long process.  And that's to perform tonsillectomies, which take about 15 minutes.

A board certificate in Hair Restoration requires one to go to medical school, obtain a medical license, which can be obtained by doing a single year doing internal medicine at a community hospital.  Then one will need to take a one day test.  There is no surgical training required.  There are not 5 years of practical training by experts in the field.  Further, getting a board certificate in Hair Restoration is absolutely not required to perform hair restoration surgery.

Why is there such a huge difference?  With a tonsillectomy, or most surgeries, it can be dangerous, and if you don't know exactly what you're doing, you may seriously injure or kill somebody.  With hair restoration, because it's surgery on the scalp, and not millimeters from the internal carotid artery that feeds the brain (like with a tonsillectomy), a physician would pretty much have to go out of his way to kill a patient. 

So, the government has allowed any doctor of any background, with or without any surgery training whatsoever, to call him or herself a "hair restoration surgeon." 

This should explain the startling differences in the results that various physicians are able to accomplish.  I call it the "Wild West" of medicine because there is absolutely no oversight, aside from the State Medical Board itself.  A physician may offer the service in any way he or she sees fit.  I recently read an article where the surgeon was using box cutters from Home Depot to divide the hairs.  I wish I were kidding.

In choosing a surgeon to perform your procedure, it's important to choose one that has dedicated his career to the practice.  This is a growing field of medicine, and many cosmetic surgeons are buying a device and adding "hair restoration" to their menu of services.  There are many dedicated surgeons in the USA who run excellent practices.  However, this is not typical.  You should feel perfectly comfortable asking your doctor for his resume, and whether he or she has earned an ABMS-recognized Board Certificate in a surgical specialty.  The overwhelming majority of providers in hair restoration surgery do not have such training or Board Certificates in a surgical specialty, so it's important to ask.  The experience of the surgeon, and the dedication of the practice to hair restoration will be the main factors that separate "just ok" results from the outstanding results.  No machine of any brand can guarantee excellent results all by itself.  It's the experience and dedication of the surgeon and his practice.

Atlanta Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

The experience and artistry may mean more for a Hair Transplant Surgeon

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Although as a surgeon who has has been board certified in head and neck surgery, facial plastic surgery, and in hair restoration, I would like to claim superiority over other surgeons or dermatologists who practice this field, I simply can't. I know former family doctors and former urologists who do amazing hair restoration work because they have dedicated their whole lives to being the best. I think what is more important than "credentials" are experience and results. If you can find someone who can show you tons of before and after results, satisfied patients, and a true knowledge of hair loss diseases and how to do safe transplant work, those are the keys. I have provided a link to a video on hair restoration that I shot that at a course that I directed in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago and a link to my website for more information.


sam lam

Sam Lam, MD, FACS
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Many different types of doctors do hair transplantation....

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Many different types of doctors do hair transplantation. The key to hair transplants is the ability to bring together a skilled surgical team, a physician who understands not only the procedure but the patterns of hair loss, and combine the latest techniques of follicular unit grafting with other modalities to produce a natural hair line.

While any physician can technically perform a hair transplant, if the physician does not understand the physiology behind hair loss, they can create a hair line that looks great for 5-10 years but looks very unnatural as the balding process continues. A good hair transplant surgeon will listen to what his patient is concerned about and then educate the patient about the need for transplanting certain areas over others.

For instance, many people are worried about hair loss at the crown (vertex) or back of the head. If this area is the only place transplanted, as hair loss progresses in the frontal areas, the patient will be left with a very unnatural appearing head of hair. Unfortunately, if all of the graft material is gone, this can become a problem. If the physician takes time to educate the patient and fills in the frontal area as well as the crown, a natural-appearing hairline can be created, which remains natural over the course of the patient's lifetime.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

What Type of Doctor Does Hair Restoration?

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There are all types of doctors that perform hair transplants these days.

Fact is, as long as you have an MD after your name you can technically perform hair transplants.

Because of the lack of regulation in the "hair transplant industry" you need to make your decisions very carefully.

The American College of Surgeons do not recognize hair transplants as a specialty. Therefore you can't become "Board Certified" in that area.

Hair transplants are something that is learned in addition to what we have become "Board Certified" in such as plastic surgery.

When talking with different clinics, look at the doctors experience, make sure you look at before and after pictures, talk with actual patients and find out about the experience of the technicians that will be assisting the MD. 

Hope this helps.

Jon E. Mendelsohn, MD
Cincinnati Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 128 reviews

What type of doctor performs hair transplants?

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There are many types of physicians who perform this procedure. But not all have true surgical experience. There is an art to hair transplant and you should check your surgeons credentials and make sure they are board certified in a surgical specialty to assure the best results possible. 

William J. Hedden, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 334 reviews

Types of doctors

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It seems that doctors of many specialties go into hair transplantation including family doctors, surgeons, dermatologist, emergency doctors, etc..

William Rassman, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Hair Restoration Surgeons

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It is important to do your research. Choose a doctor who specializes and only does hair restorations.  See many results from the doctor that you are considering having your hair restoration with.

Baubac Hayatdavoudi, MD
Beverly Hills Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Why should hair transplantation be performed by a plastic surgeon ?

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In choosing a hair transplant surgeon, the first thing you need to know is the doctor’s specialty. Ideally, he or she is board certified as plastic surgeon  and very important thing is their backround, experience and  artistry . Doctors  should be members of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS).
Why should hair transplantation be performed by a plastic surgeon ? The answer of this question may be listed under various headings:
Medical training,Microsurgery training,Specialization on hair transplantation,Combining science and aesthetics in hair transplantation.
The person to perform hair restoration should be a physician who can take a holistic approach towards a patient; a plastic surgeon who is particularly specialized on hair and has the technical skills required for the hair transplantation operation.
The specialist physician to perform the hair transplantation operation should have detailed knowledge on the anatomy and physiology of hairy skin and of hair follicles. Hairy skin is not limited to the zone on which hair grows. Hairy skin has a physiologically active, complex anatomy.
The specialist physician to perform the hair transplantation operation should also have detailed knowledge on hairy skin flushing, vascular structure, lymph drainage, hairy skin biomechanics and wound healing.
Scientific knowledge and excellent surgical technique comprise the two bases of the triad of hair transplantation. The aesthetic approach is the third base, which is essential. Medical knowledge, surgical experience and aesthetic decision-making skills turn the whole hair transplantation operation into a kind of art. Plastic surgeons can attain satisfying hair transplantation results in medical and aesthetical terms by combining scientific knowledge, excellent surgical technique and a competent sight.
On the other hand be sure your surgeon is focused on a long-term plan. A good surgeon will be thinking about where your hair loss is headed many years to come and consider how a procedure performed now will affect that future. It is important to think aesthetically about what the hair restoration will look like in upcomming years  down the road as you lose additional hair with age.

Ilker Apaydin, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Qualifications for hair restoration?

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I agree that it can be the "wild,wild west in Hair Restoration Surgery." This is because the vast majority of practitioners come into the field by taking weekend courses, or observing surgery here and there. Some get some but limited exposure in Dermatology or Plastic Surgery training program.But in reality there are a few ISHRS approved fellowship training in Hair Restoration Surgery. For more information, please see:Why An ABHRS Certified Surgeon? Approximately 200 hair restoration surgeons have completed the rigorous pathway to achieve the designation of DIPLOMATE OF THE AMERICAN BOARD OF HAIR RESTORATION SURGERY. To become a Diplomate of the ABHRS a physician must demonstrate training, evidence of post-training surgical experience, aesthetic skill and a comprehensive clinical understanding of hair loss and its treatment modalities. In order to qualify for the annual examination a candidate must present case logs and operative reports with surgical details with before and after photographs providing evidence of high quality, cosmetic and aesthetic results. An applicant must successfully complete a comprehensive examination consisting of both an oral and written component identifying a thorough knowledge of hair restoration surgical techniques. The ABHRS exam stands as the only psychometrically and statistically validated examination dedicated to the specialty of hair restoration surgery. The ABHRS is the only recognized board certification by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, (ISHRS) the largest hair restoration education society in the world.The bottom line is that this is a field where the difference in results rest ,with of course training, experience and most importantly artistic skills. The true experts will have lots of results to show in both photography and video media.

What Type of Doctor Does Hair Restoration?

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In most countries, you only need to have a medical degree. Also in most countries it is illegal to make any type of cut to the skin without a medical licence

However, to judge how good your doctor is at Hair transplant surgery, you need to do plenty of research. Study his/her website, reference their work and reputation on search engine and other independent sites and discussion forums, and always ask them to speak and meet some of their previous patients.

A referral from another doctor is also a good thing. See the last FAQ in the link below: 

Bessam Farjo, MBChB
Manchester Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.