Consulting Present and Future Safety for Hair Transplant Surgery

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I’m going to talk about how I classify safety for hair transplant surgery. So, I’m divided into green, yellow and red lights. So not everyone is safe. In fact, no one is safe doing hair transplant surgery. Let me qualify what I’m talking about. I’m not saying it’s an unsafe surgery. Even if you go to the most skilled surgeon doing the most skilled procedure, there may be some complications. Fortunately, hair transplant is very safe because, you know, surgically we clear every patient to be safe. We’re working at Joint Commission Accredited environment. You have some, a surgeon such as myself who’s been doing it for 20 years, we don’t rush through the procedure. I’ve got a class, a team to do it. So, in terms of safety, I think we give you the safest environment that exists out there. But there’s another level of safety that I want to talk about that you may not have considered.

So I’ve had patients come to me at 40 years of age, they want a hair transplant, and they asked me, is this safe for me at my age? And I always appreciate that question. And then I give them the scorecard. The reason I say that what’s interesting is I turn away about 80% currently of my patients from surgery. So I hate to tell you that, but some person down the street who is not as well skilled that just wants your money, we’ll take you and that’s probably the last person that should be doing your surgery. So, let me explain to you how I divide my surgical consults into green, yellow and red lights. So, when a 40-year-old asked me, are they safe, the answer is sort of, they’re in the yellow area. In other words, they’re probably old enough that they don’t have, you know, possibly too much more progression.

Although if they have a history where they’re having rapidly progression, maybe a strong family history, and I’m seeing on unstable result, they’re probably in the red zone. If they’re slowly progressing, even stable for a few years, they’re not a green light. And the reason they’re not a greenlight is first of all, almost no one I consider in the green light because there’s always a little bit of risk. So, for example, maybe doing a crown that’s pretty small as is relatively safe, but the risk of the crown is I could expand. And so, if I’m, this is why in general I don’t do crowns on people under the age of 35. I do make some exceptions, but in general it’s a good rule is that the crown is, there’s more risks in the front because when that expands, I did a blog or podcast called PI R squared, which is the fact that when the radius doubles the number of grafts I need quadruples if people don’t think about that.

So you need to have enough grafts to not only maintain your current situation, but your future situation. So, safety issues, I’m always consulting my patients on this. And what I mean by safety is not current safety, but future safety. I had a gentleman come to me at 27 years old and he said, look, I don’t care what my hairline looks at 40 I mean that’s really old. And I said, at the time, I’m now 51 at the time I was 41-42 I said, you know what? I actually care what I look like. You can’t say that because as human beings we have a very, very poor ability to perceive how we would feel in 10 years from now. So just run this exercise with me, whatever age you are right now. So, for example, I’m 51 okay, if I picture myself at 61, I think, that’s relatively old.

While my mom who’s 80 things, 61 is super young, you know, a 20-year-old thinks, 51 is super old. It’s all relative. Everything that where we are today is how we perceive the future. In fact, 51 I used to think was pretty darn old. Now that I’m 51 I feel it’s pretty darn young. Well, I’m maybe not super young. I’m not 31 but at the same time, it’s all perception. So what I try to do is, I’m not saying that all hair transplant is unsafe, but what I do want to do is consult you in terms of what’s the maximal way to achieve safety for you and consult you on some of the risks, benefits and always plan ahead for future donor area. To the best of my ability, I can’t always plan it because I don’t have a crystal ball.

But the one thing, a lot of places where they don’t have a physician doing the surgery or working with you on the consultation is that they just basically will sell you anything because their goal is to close sell you the procedure, transplant you and not give a garbage crap about what happens to you in the future. You know? So, this is so important that I can’t get a hundred percent safety. There’s no such thing as one of the bottom lines here. But I work very hard to think about what future problems there could be and how can I have enough in the donor bank? And I don’t mean that in your, I’m not talking about your bank account, but in your donor bank to work on this.


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