Who Is Right For a Hair Transplant?

The first part of a hair transplant procedure is perhaps the most important –- the initial consultation. Rob Angelino is the founder of the hair loss clinic, HAIRLAB, based in Beverly Hills, California, and has seen hundreds of clients over the years. He says this time is a chance for the doctor and client to sit down and discuss the details of the procedure and answer the many questions a client might have.

Who are best candidates for a hair transplant procedure?
The truth is that most people have the donor hair available for a hair transplant procedure. Therefore, the best candidates for surgery are those with realistic expectations. A big part of our initial conversation is making sure we screen patients and give them enough information so they are realistic about how they’ll look. I would rather under-promise and over-deliver, than the opposite.

The good candidates are people who have done their research and who know they will most likely need two procedures.  The donor area must be good and have enough hair to transplant. That means the donor hair should have a density of medium to great. Some guys come in who have thin hair all the way around and we have to tell them that their donor area is just way too thin. We can do a procedure, but let’s focus on one area at a time. We won’t be able to do your whole head with what you’ve got. Or we might try to use lasers to thicken donor area for a while before we do the procedure.

Are men better candidates than woman?

Both men and women are are great candidates for hair transplant surgery. There is really no difference. Men usually have more donor hair, but that is in no way a hard and fast rule. It happens to be that about 80% of our clients are men, but is just because they are the ones who are more likely to go bald.

Who should not get a hair transplant?

People who have very poor donor areas won’t be great candidates for surgery. Also, we don’t like to work on young guys whose hair is just beginning to thin out in their early 20s. These guys about 21 years old walk in and want the hairline they had when they were 18. These guys are thinning normally and they want their 18-year-old hairline back. While we may be able to give that to you, that is not going to look natural when you are 50. They are just getting their mature headline, which is natural so it should be accepted. They will often agree or they will say they will go on Propecia and see what happens and we’ll  see them again in six months.

Really the worst candidates for hair transplant surgery are people with unrealistic expectations. When people come and ask if we can guarantee this or that, we tell them there are no guarantees with cosmetic surgery or any medicine. People may spend $50,000 on a heart bypass  surgery and die on the operating table, but you still owe the doctor.

When someone comes in and he is asking too many inane questions or when he is hemming and hawing on the price when we are charging really affordable rates or asking for world, I simply tell him that I don’t think we are good fit and I’d rather not work on you. I would much rather work on a client with realistic expectations, who knows what he is in for and what the results will be, than someone who comes in expecting us to wave a magic wand and restore him to how he looked when he was 18 years old. I always want my clients to walk out the door satisfied.

The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.