The best way to evaluate a hair transplant doctor should be by viewing their results, their results, and their results ! But it’s not quite that easy. After all, almost every doctor shows impressive before/after result photos on their own websites. Of course, what else would they show ? So you have to understand there is more to it than that. When considering results, consider the following as well:
Number of Result Photos/Videos…
How many results does that particular doctor present on their own website ? If they claim to be practicing full-time for 10 years but are only presenting 5 or 10 before/after photos, you have to wonder why. Sure, there are patients who don’t want their photos shown in the name of privacy, and that can cut down the numbers they can present quite a bit. However, happy patients usually have no problem with a doctor digitally blurring or blocking out their face so that others can see what a great job was done while maintaining privacy.
In general, an experienced hair transplant doctor can show about 50 results on their website and present a new impressive result once or twice per month. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and effort for a doctor to regularly update their own website with new result photos and that’s why HTW was created. It’s a free real time service that allows all doctors to post their new result photos instantly and easily. HTW makes it convenient for the public to learn which doctors regularly present good results and those who don’t.
Consistency of Results…
Using HTW also allows doctors to show that they are producing good results on a regular basis. Showing ten good results over a ten year practice does not insure that your surgery will go well. A lot can change in a practice over that time so it is up to each doctor to prove that they are still performing surgery at the same level or higher than they were in the past.
Much of a hair transplant’s success is based on the hair transplant technicians. Should a practice lose most or all of its technicians the quality of the surgery can suffer dramatically. Of course no practice is going to tell the public they’ve lost technicians should it occur, but the change in number and quality of results will give it away every time.
Recent results, not just 15 year old results…
If you look on the websites of most doctors who have been in practice for 15 or 20 years you will see some very old results. This may be for one of two reasons:
The first is that it is not easy to update a website on a regular basis so it’s just easier to leave the old photos up and add on new ones as the years go by. The best doctors have done this.
The second is a bit more questionable and should raise an eyebrow.: If a doctor claims to have been in the active practice of hair transplantation for 15-20 years yet all the photos on their website are also 15 -20 years old it begs the question as to where the newer result photos are, and does the doctor even have newer photos they are willing to share. And if not, why not ?
Public Posting of Photos
Doctors that are proud of their results and know they can reproduce them easily post their photos on as many websites as they can-sometimes even paying a fee if necessary. Doctors who are not so proud, or perhaps not so confident, of their results tend to be more low key about presenting their body of work online. This may not always be true, but willingness to share results with the world is a valid means of gauging the difference between doctors.
So if the only place you see a doctor’s results online is on their own website, you may want to consider other doctors who regularly post photos on multiple websites. Even better if these websites allow for some patient interaction like a Q&A forum.
Doctors who are proud of their results have no problems answering questions about how they did it, whereas doctors who are not so confident really don’t want to. This is a very illuminating differential that also makes commonsense.
Honest presentation of Results…
To the casual observer before/after photos are completely self explanatory… but in reality they are not. We went over the number of result photos a hair transplant clinic should present and how regularly they should be presenting them. In this section we will go over the quality of the photos in terms of honestly demonstrating reality.
There are three major ways that result photos can be manipulated:
Different angles- in the before and after photos. A typical deception is to show the patient in the before photo with his head tilted down to show more of the top of the head. But in the after photo showing the patient with his head looking straight ahead.
Different lighting- By making the before photo lighter the patient may appear balding then he really ease. Conversely, making the after photo darker the patient may appear to have more hair than reality. Always not the difference in brightness, if any, between Before and After photos.
Hair Comb over- Many patients use hair from the side or back of the head to cover thinning and balding spots. These comb overs are usually swept away in the before photo but re added in the after photo to make the transplant appear better than it really is. It’s fine to use a comb over to augment a hair transplant, but it should be shown in place in the before photo if it is going to be used in the after photo. In other words, compare apples to apples.
When viewing a hair transplant doctor’s results note:
- The NUMBER of before/after results being posted
- The CONSISTENCY of public posting of results on third party websites like HTW. Generally doctors should be posting 12 new result cases per year on average minimum. Most top notch clinics put up 20 per year. More if patients request it.
- Make sure the angle, lighting, and hair style (including combover) match between before and after photos.