Busting Common Hair Transplant Myths

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Busting Common Hair Transplant Myths

Even in this age of instant access to all of the world’s knowledge, many myths persist. Misconceptions regarding hair transplants, unfortunately, are still common. Being unaware that some of your beliefs about hair transplants aren’t true can prevent you from seeking help from a qualified, experienced surgeon specializing in hair restoration. If you’ve bought into a popular myth, you may feel that looking into your options is a waste of time – or that you’d only be setting yourself up for disappointment.

However, it would be far worse if the time you wasted was the time in which you could have enjoyed a full head of hair and improved self-confidence. We’ll look at seven common myths about hair transplants so you can put aside your reservations and start your journey to effective treatment.

Myth #1 – Hair transplants don’t look natural

Hair transplant surgery has greatly evolved since its beginning in the 1950s. Even so, the image of “pluggy” results has carried over from the 1970s, when it was only possible to harvest large grafts of skin and hair from donor areas of the scalp. The “mini” and “micro” grafts popular during the 1980s through the ‘90s likewise fell short of creating the look of natural growth.

Today’s advancements make possible procedures that achieve natural-appearing growth patterns, hairlines and overall scalp coverage. The Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) – also known as the “strip” method – has been perfected to heal with minimal scarring that can be easily concealed by hair growth. The traditional Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) procedure ultimately produces a good outcome, but requires shaving the donor area – which can make you feel self-conscious about going out in public until it grows back.

The ground-breaking No-Shave FUE developed by Dr. Marco Barusco – Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Tempus Hair Restoration – completely conceals harvested donor sites immediately, so you can quickly resume normal activities without self-consciousness. Also, the combined FUE and FUT procedure is designed so that patients with advanced hair loss can be treated during one surgery instead of two or three surgeries performed about one year apart.

However, this is a myth with a qualification. Only a surgeon with a high level of technical skill and a strong sense of aesthetics in placing grafts according to growth patterns can consistently achieve natural-appearing results – which means that bad transplants are still out there. Reasons include procedures by doctors who don’t specialize in hair restoration, those who use medically unqualified technicians and/or robotic devices to harvest and implant grafts and – worse yet – foreign hair clinics that package hair transplants with a vacation. Our blog post – “Consumer Beware – The Risks of Medical Tourism for Hair Transplants” – covers this issue in detail. Choose your surgeon wisely, and be assured that your hair transplant will look natural!

Myth #2 – Older people can’t have a hair transplant

While the popular idea of men from their early-30s to middle-age undergoing hair restoration surgery is prevalent, older people (including women – see Myth #4) may also be appropriate candidates. However, those with type 2 diabetes need to have their condition under control, and get clearance from their primary medical care provider for the procedure.

Otherwise, older patients can benefit from the boost in self-esteem that a fuller head of hair can provide. This is especially true for those who lead a healthy lifestyle and pride themselves on being fit and projecting a more youthful image. As society redefines aging, a hair transplant can help enhance your enjoyment of life on your own terms.

Myth #3 – The younger you have a hair transplant, the better

Rather the opposite situation from Myth #2, hair restoration surgeons do not typically recommend any hair transplant procedure for those experiencing male pattern hair loss in their 20s (as opposed to hair loss from head trauma). When such hair loss begins early, the balding process will continue. Because there are a finite number of donor hair follicles, undergoing a hair transplant at a younger age will deplete the amount of donor hair available for transplant in later years.

In such cases, hair restoration surgeons typically recommend non-surgical treatments, such as Propecia (Finasteride) or Rogaine (Minoxidil). Another option that can achieve excellent results for young men is treatment with adipose-derived cells and growth factors. This advanced treatment is also suitable for women of all ages.

While online subscription services that diagnose hair loss and prescribe medications are popular, there are risks. As reported by Natasha Singer and Katie Thomas in their article for The New York Times Drug Sites Upend Doctor-Patient Relations: ‘It’s Restaurant-Menu Medicine’ – “The sites invert the usual practice of medicine by turning the act of prescribing drugs into a service. Instead of doctors making diagnoses and then suggesting treatments, patients request drugs and physicians serve largely as gatekeepers.

“Some of these companies operate in a regulatory vacuum that could increase public health risks, according to interviews with physicians, former federal health regulators and legal experts. And federal and state health laws, written to ensure competent medical care and drug safety, have not kept pace with online services, they say.”

Our recommendation – if you’re a young man experiencing hair loss, schedule a consultation with a reputable, experienced hair restoration surgeon. You’ll receive the best available treatment for your individual case, and be monitored over time until you are an appropriate candidate for a transplant procedure.

Myth #4 – Women can’t have a hair transplant

This myth has led many women to believe that they have to live with hair loss. Although the situation is gradually changing, women still experience embarrassment and feelings of isolation, using hats, ball caps and wigs to conceal thin and balding areas of the scalp rather than schedule a consultation with a hair restoration specialist.

Unlike typical male pattern baldness, women lose hair more diffusely over the scalp, but rarely become completely bald. In such cases, hair loss may be treated by non-surgical means – such as Rogaine, adipose-derived cells and growth factors or low-level laser treatment – as well as a combination of such therapies However, in such cases as scarring due to surgery or head trauma, a transplant procedure may be the best treatment.

Because female hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons, scheduling a consultation with an experienced surgeon for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for your individual case is essential.

“For hair loss, usually a combination of treatments works better than monotherapy,” says Dr. Barusco. “The combination provides the optimal environment for the hairs to be both protected against damage and stimulated to grow stronger and thicker. But the treatments must be decided based on each patient’s situation and guided by many factors, so it is important to be counseled by a physician who understands hair loss.”

Myth #5 – You’ll receive someone else’s hair

We don’t know the origin of this particular myth, but it is patently false. Just as with organ transplants, the body rejects implanted tissues other than its own. Organ transplants are only possible because the recipient must take strong anti-rejection medications for the rest of their life. If not, their body would quickly reject the organ. One exception is corneal transplants. Even then, rejection is a problem for up to three out of 10 people who have a corneal transplant. Be assured that only your own hair can be used in any hair transplant procedure.

Also, hair from other parts of the body are never used. Even for facial hair transplants, donor hairs are harvested from the sides and back of the head, which are the same areas used in standard hair transplant surgery for bald and thinning areas of the scalp. The only difference is that the hair removed is usually from lower toward the neck, where the hair quality is more compatible to that of facial hair. Dr. Barusco understands how hairs from different areas of the body behave, and has the skill and artistry to harvest those that are the best match, and ensure the hair follicles are angled correctly when transplanted.

Myth #6 – Transplanted hair requires special treatment

If you’ve been hesitant to look into your hair replacement options because you think you’ll have to “baby” your transplanted hair indefinitely, be assured that no special care is necessary. Aside from following post-surgical care instructions, you can shampoo, dry and style your hair as usual. However, whether or not you have a recent transplant, wear a hat or loose-fitting cap when participating in outdoor activities to avoid sunburn and the risk of skin cancer.

Myth #7 – A hair transplant is not affordable

Of all the myths surrounding hair transplants, this is perhaps the most insidious. Why? If you already assume that hair restoration surgery is too expensive, you won’t be likely to seek treatment. The only way to learn your options is to research hair restoration surgeons and schedule a consultation. Tempus Hair Restoration is currently still scheduling only virtual consultations out of an abundance of caution, although surgical procedures have resumed at our Port Orange surgical center. Consultations with Dr. Barusco are always free.

Unlike many other hair restoration practices and clinics, Tempus Hair Restoration does not have set-fee procedures or pricing per number of hair grafts. Our approach is to treat each client as an individual, taking into account such factors as the following:

  • Your specific type of hair loss
  • Amount of current and projected hair loss
  • Complexity of procedure
  • Ethnic background (which affects hair texture and growth patterns)
  • Medical history/pre-existing conditions
  • Desired aesthetic result
  • Additional relevant circumstances, depending upon your individual situation

Once Dr. Barusco has made a diagnosis and treatment plan, our patient educator will discuss next steps, including pricing and financing options. We offer qualified clients third-party 12-month interest-free financing — as well as low-interest 60-month financing. A hair restoration procedure by world-renowned surgeon Dr. Barusco can be within reach.

A word of caution: We all want to save money, but do not consider a hair clinic based on price alone. You’ll most likely get assembly line treatment, medically unqualified technicians harvesting and implanting hair grafts, and unsatisfactory results that will ultimately cost even more to correct (assuming enough donor hair remains). Choose your surgeon wisely, and start enjoying the self-confidence you deserve!

Now that you know, take the next step

Now that we’ve busted some common myths about hair transplants, we invite you to learn more about Dr. Barusco’s reputation for integrity and results, his long list of accomplishments and certifications, and his notable artistic ability – then contact us to schedule your free virtual consultation. Dr. Barusco conducts every consultation himself, giving you the opportunity to learn your options in the comfort of your home – or any location, on any internet-enabled device. 

Dr. Barusco conducts consultations in English, Spanish and Portuguese. For your greater convenience, Tempus Hair Restoration offers a two-night complimentary hotel stay to out-of-town clients who travel 100 miles or more. No matter how far the distance, we welcome the opportunity to help you on your hair restoration journey!


Consumer Beware – The Risks of Medical Tourism for Hair Transplants

If you’re considering a hair transplant, you have probably conducted online searches for hair clinics. In the process, you’ve also probably found websites for overseas clinics – usually in Turkey – offering transplants at bargain rates, included as a package deal with airfare, luxury hotel accommodations and transportation. But the lure of combining an exotic vacation with hair transplant surgery should raise a major red flag, as black market hair restoration practices are proliferating unchecked – leaving patients with disastrous results and no recourse.

So serious is this problem that the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) – the world’s leading medical authority on hair loss treatment and restoration – has initiated a worldwide patient awareness campaign designed to help people recognize fraudulent hair restoration clinics and misleading advertising claims. The ISHRS has encouraged its members to raise awareness of the risks of medical tourism for hair transplants.

Dr. Marco Barusco – Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Tempus Hair Restoration – is a Fellow of the ISHRS. This is a distinction that is only given to those who achieve certain landmarks on teaching and leadership. Currently, fewer than 10% of the ISHRS members are Fellows. As such, Dr. Barusco and the Tempus Hair Restoration team are proud to help the ISHRS in this important mission.

Launched in March 2019, the campaign, Beware of the Hair Transplant Black Market, provides valuable resources to help patients evaluate a surgeon’s credentials, and patient photos illustrating the disfiguring – and many times irreversible – outcomes of botched surgeries by untrained, unqualified staff members.

To define the issue, “medical tourism” can be a confusing term. Patients often travel long distances for a surgeon with an excellent reputation and credentials. Dr. Barusco treats international patients at Tempus’ surgical center in Port Orange, Florida, providing a convenient, complimentary two-night stay at a nearby hotel. However, all travel, additional transportation and other expenses are the patient’s responsibility.

The negative aspect that the medical profession attributes to medical tourism is when unscrupulous clinics leverage the promise of travel to unsuspecting patients, then subject them to treatments performed under substandard conditions by nurses or non-medical technicians.

Why Turkey is the world’s black market hair transplant capital

Popular destinations for hair transplants include Mexico, India and Sweden, but Turkey is where the most aggressive marketing is conducted. Although Turkish law prohibits hair transplant surgery from being performed outside of a hospital setting, black market practitioners get around the restrictions by illegally setting up shop in private hospitals or clinics. Bribery of officials is commonplace, allowing such clinics to operate without consequences. The TURSAB (a committee working with the Turkish Health Ministry) reports that Turkey’s income from medical tourism topped $4.5 billion in 2015.

In addition to lining the pockets of those entrusted to protect the public, black market clinics use the internet to draw in patients. Slick clinic websites making false claims about their legitimacy, staff experience and positive patient outcomes do effective groundwork in misleading potential patients. Their doctors are given a veneer of respectability by paid writers who represent themselves as journalists filing objective reports about the clinics and the successful results they achieve.

According to the ISHRS, “Many of the illegal clinics have sophisticated websites ranking high with Google paid ads to attract the consumer into a clinic that appears on the surface very professional. The marketing tactics are deceptive as it appears like a team of professional doctors with excellent testimonials. However, the reality is your surgery may be done by someone with no medical training. The demand is so high, reports are that Taxi cab drivers and Syrian refugees do the surgery in some overseas countries.”

What is the real cost of a hair transplant?

Consumers who lack knowledge about ethical medical practices and conduct in the hair restoration field are particularly susceptible. But their greatest vulnerability is the pursuit of a bargain. The cost of a hair transplant in the United States varies widely, depending upon many factors – such as the type of procedure, extent of hair loss, amount of donor hair available, etc. The patient can expect to pay several thousand dollars, however.

As the ISHRS emphasizes, hair transplant surgery is still surgery, with all the risks of surgery performed on any other area of the body. Unethical overseas clinics offer procedures at the same price for all patients, ranging from just $600 to $2,000 USD.

What do patients get for their hair transplant package? Poor growth, improper graft preparation (which means a higher number of grafts become non-viable), misangled graft placement, unnatural hairlines, a pluggy doll’s hair appearance and complete donor decimation are often reported. Severe scarring and disfigurement are also common. Add to that the risk for such infections as hepatitis or HIV. This is because the emphasis for the clinic is volume – performing as many hair transplants as possible each day for maximum profit.

Why don’t victimized patients report black market hair transplant clinics?

Why hasn’t word gotten out? Ironically, many patients are satisfied with their experience – at first. Results from a hair transplant typically require a year to fully activate and grow out. Patients who don’t know what a good transplant looks like during each stage assume that what they see is normal, and that the appearance of their scalp and hair will improve over time.

When they finally realize their surgery has been botched, they have no recourse. Dr. Barusco treated one such patient who traveled back to the Turkish clinic that performed his transplant to have complications corrected, and found the clinic had gone out of business. Actually, the clinic may well have moved to a different location under a new name, continuing to run its illegal assembly line surgeries – as is common practice.

As noted by one observer of Turkey’s booming medical tourism scene, “The market is plagued by corruption, fake clinics and gullible customers looking for a bargain. And the market is only expanding.”

Knowledge is power

Human nature being what it is, we want to believe what we want to be true. But if something sounds too good to be true, it is. This includes a bargain hair transplant performed during an all-expenses-included exotic vacation. Educating yourself about hair transplants and the questions you need to ask any surgeon before consenting to treatment are essential to avoiding unscrupulous clinics and ensuring the best possible outcome. Our July 8, 2019 blog post – “Undoing the Damage of a Bad Hair Transplant” – includes the following questions:

  • Who will evaluate my hair loss and recommend a course of treatment? What is their education, training, licensure, and experience in treating hair loss? Only physicians, Physician’s Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are legally allowed to diagnose a patient and to recommend medical treatments. Otherwise, the person recommending procedures and/or treatments is practicing medicine without a license, a Felony crime in Florida and many states.
  • Who will be involved in performing my surgery, what role will they play, and what is their education, training, licensure, and experience performing hair restoration surgery?
  • Will anyone not allowed by the State Medical Board be making incisions or harvesting grafts during my surgery? If so, please identify this person, explain their specific role and why they are legally permitted to perform it.
  • Is everyone involved in my surgery covered by malpractice insurance?

Once you are at the consultation, make sure all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction and DEMAND TO SEE A PHYSICIAN. At Tempus Hair Restoration, every prospective patient meets with Dr. Barusco – whether the consultation is in-office, or by video conference.

Investigate other trusted resources

We hope we have provided information that will prevent you from making a serious mistake that can negatively impact the quality of your life and general health. To further educate yourself, we recommend visiting the links we’ve provided in this blog post to the ISHRS website. This organization is an unbiased source of information, and holds its members to the highest ethical standards – as well as establishing and enforcing industry standards.

Ultimately, choose your surgeon based on experience, results and integrity. Dr. Barusco’s long list of accomplishments, his notable artistic ability and his successful surgical team make Tempus Hair Restoration a renowned practice.

Dr. Barusco also conducts virtual consultations for those who can’t travel to one of our 14 Florida locations, and our office will arrange travel and accommodations for out-of-area patients. We invite you to learn more about our procedures, then contact us to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Barusco. We look forward to meeting you and discussing your options.