At times I get the question during a consultation, “What makes you better than [fill in the blank name]”? Even though I may spend 30 minutes detailing every little nuance of what makes us better: a more artistically designed and customized hairline, better donor harvesting and donor closure, better recipient site creation, more gentle graft handling, expert graft dissection and placement, etc., I still get that question. I respond, “After all the things I have said, what really matters is a deep-seated passion for what I do. As importantly, that passion resides in every team member that will work on you.”

I think sometimes we get lost in the mechanics of hair restoration, which I find of course to be absolutely critical. If you are not a technically competent and artistically minded surgeon, you will fail to accomplish anything great for a patient. But deeper, much deeper than these requisite skills, lies a more fundamental element that must pervade every procedure: unending, bottomless passion for the craft. If you don’t have this, you don’t have a result that will be worth speaking of.

Line of burning matches on black background

They say that cooks that prepare food without love do not create great repasts, whereas those that do create works of art. I would totally concur with this statement. The Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi came up with the concept of flow, the time when skills and passion intersect and the person gets lost in his work. Think of a great sports player who is completely in sync with his work. That flow is what drives me deeply. I am entranced with hair restoration, and my work supports my passion.

Just like any good sports team or racing team, you are only as good as your weakest member. What I am very proud to say is that we are all excellent at what we do but more importantly we are very passionate about our work. I remember a few years ago when I called one of my graft-preparation team members “a cutter”. She responded by saying, “Dr. Lam, I am not a cutter but a dissection expert.” I think that speaks volumes about her level of commitment and pride in what she performs, and that is something I would never exchange for a million bucks.

Another patient said, “I have heard Dr. X had a good reputation but I have chosen to come to see you based on a referral.” I responded, “Yes, he is a good physician. The best way to make your choice however is to look deeply into your surgeon’s eyes and see what is staring back at you: boredom or passion. That is how you are going to decide on who should do your work.” (Of course, evaluating the results with close scrutiny is still very important!)

Dr Samuel Lam is a certified hair transplant surgeon in Dallas, Texas. To schedule a consultation please call 972-312-8105, or visit Dr Lam’s hair transplant forum to ask him a question.