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 13

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

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 96 reviews

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

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
4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

What Type of Doctor Does Hair Restoration?

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

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

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

Samuel Lam, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

What type of doctor performs hair transplants?

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 268 reviews

What Type of Doctor Does Hair Restoration?

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

Any doctor can do hair transplant surgery if they are trained.

Any doctor can do hair transplant surgery if they are trained.  Bosley is a big company that employs hair transplant doctors.  Finding a well trained reputable doctor is the hard part.  You can search for doctors at ISHRS web site.

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Finding a Qualified Hair Transplant Surgeon

Hair restoration surgeons come from a variety of medical backgrounds. The surgical skill and artistic abilities vary greatly. There are approximately 100 hair restoration surgeons in the United States that devote their practice exclusively to hair transplantation. Of those there are about 70 surgeons who are board certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons and while that does not connote artistic ability at least we know some skill and demonstration of work, as well as passing oral and written exams has been completed. Most hair restoration surgeons are also members of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons of which there are approximately 350 members from the United States. On their website you can view how long a physician was a member in good standing as well has how many years they have been a member and how many annual meetings they have attended.
Visiting the websites of both organizations is a good place to start. Hair transplantation is a very demanding, time consuming skill for both the surgeon and his/her surgical assistants. Caring for the patient and their hair is a rare skill and results are better in skilled hands. Look for a full-time hair restoration surgeon and view their results online. You want to see before and after results of at least 50 patients to get a feel for their work. Also, avoid clinics that "advertise an FUE device such as Neograft" in their marketing materials. Skilled reputable hair transplant physicians never advertise a device, but utilize devices to assist them in their work. At the end of your online due diligence meet with the few physicians that have made it through your review process. Don't meet with a sales consultant, remember it is a medical procedure and should be preceded by a medical assessment to see if you are a candidate for hair restoration surgery or other treatment modalities. 

Brian Goertz, MD
Seattle Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Re: Doctor For Hair Restoration

Doctors who are qualified to achieve successful hair restoration results should have board certification in plastic surgery or dermatology. However there are doctors that are not of these specialties that perform hair restoration too.
Besides just having proper credentials, prospective patients like you should also look for evidence of quality results on past cases.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Type of doctor for Hair Replacements?

Individual practices come from many different backgrounds.  Many hair transplant surgeons have a background of dermatology and plastic surgery.  The most important thing is their experience and artistry. 

Jack Fisher, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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.