Who is Qualified to Perform a Hair Transplant Procedure?
According to the 2022 ISHRS Practice Census, 149,254 people had a surgical hair restoration in North America (US/Canada) in 2021 and 703,183 had it done worldwide.
An overwhelming 87.3% patients getting hair transplants were men (usually because of male pattern baldness), while 12.7% were women.
What to Look for in a Hair Transplant Surgeon
With the rising popularity of hair transplantation cosmetic procedures and newer, more convenient and effective techniques like Shave-less FUE (follicular unit extraction) available, you may be considering having a hair transplant surgery yourself.
If so, you are probably wondering: How can I find the best – and most qualified – hair transplant surgeon for my needs?
Look at Your Hair Transplantation Doctor’s Education Credentials
In order to perform the surgical procedures necessary for surgical hair restoration, a practitioner must be a licensed medical doctor with a medical degree.
However, it is not required that a doctor have specialized training in hair restoration in order to perform hair transplantation procedures.
That means that doctors who specialized in other areas may open a practice performing hair restorations, whether they have relevant surgical experience and knowledge or not.
Sometimes, these experts in other fields have a natural talent and can become quite good at hair transplantation with practice.
Other times, however, this lack of specialized experience and knowledge can mean low-quality outcomes for patients.
So, should you choose your hair transplant doctor based on education alone?
No, but many people do like to start by looking for a doctor with a medical degree from a highly respected institution.
Some also prefer a practitioner who has a background in dermatology or plastic surgery, however, it is important to note that plastic surgeons and dermatologists may have little to no training in surgical hair restoration techniques.
Ask About Their Training in Hair Restoration Surgery
Arguably more important than medical school specialization, by far, will be the type of training your doctor received in hair transplantation after medical school.
Learning to perform hair transplant procedures usually involves rigorous study of the latest hair transplantation techniques as well as training using the highly specialized machines and tools of the trade.
New advances in hair transplantation technology include robotics-assisted surgical machines, semi-automated graft implantation devices, suction-assisted follicular extraction technologies and more.
And, of course, no hair restoration surgery training regimen is complete without hands-on training performing actual hair restorations on patients.
You should ask any doctor you are considering what kind of training they have received in surgical hair restoration procedures.
You may also want to ask which restoration procedures they specialize in performing and how they stay up to date on new training and credentials.
Check for Certification From a Respected Authority on Surgical Hair Restoration
One reliable way to ensure you are getting an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner is to look for certification from a respected hair restoration surgery authority.
The American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery—known as the International Board of Hair Restoration Surgery abroad—is the only recognized board certification program for hair restoration surgery physicians worldwide.
Certification under this program is contingent on meeting stringent standards for training, education and experience.
ABHRS certification requirements include:
- A current MD or DO license in good standing
- Personal recommendations from 2 physicians who belong to the American Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ASHRS) or the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS)
- Passing both oral and written exams covering general knowledge of hair restoration procedures
- Having completed at least 50 surgeries as primary surgeon
- Full case reports with before and after photos demonstrating satisfactory results
Ongoing education and periodic recertification are required to maintain certification.
All certified Diplomates of the American (or International) Board of Hair Restoration Surgery are required to take at least 100 hours of educational credits every 3 years, and a 90-question clinical exam is required for the 10-year recertification.
Assess the Hair Restoration Surgeon’s Experience
Having the right education, training and ABHRS certification are important, but having the right kind of experience is necessary, as well.
For instance, a doctor who performs mainly FUT (follicular unit transplantation) procedures may not be the best fit if you are considering a FUE (follicular unit extraction) hair restoration procedure.
Furthermore, even an expert FUE practitioner may not be best if you are interested in getting a Shave-less or No-Shave FUE hair restoration.
Be sure to choose an expert practitioner who specializes in the kind(s) of hair restoration you want.
Experience With Hair Like Yours
Hair restoration expertise can be highly specific, so be sure to choose a surgeon with experience treating clients like you.
Even the most experienced surgeons mainly see primarily white, male, and younger (early middle age) clients whose hair restoration needs may differ from yours.
If that does not describe you, ask whether any hair restoration doctor you are considering has experience with clients like you.
Why? There are different challenges involved in hair restoration for clients of different ethnic backgrounds and for female clients. Older clients may have different needs than younger ones, as well.
African American hair can have many different textures, follicle sizes, and growth patterns, and darker skin may heal and scar differently than White or lighter skin.
Asian and Native American transplanted hair can be challenging, too, requiring special knowledge and skill for a natural look.
Aesthetics after restoration can be a concern if you are Black, Asian or Latino, as well — you want someone who understands what your hairline should look like, and how to place the transplants so the new hair will blend in naturally.
Older clients may need more extensive restorations — including multiple procedures —so be sure to ask whether the physician has the right experience and skills.
Women, being much less common seekers of hair restoration, can present different aesthetic and technical hair restoration challenges, too.
That is why you should always ask to see a portfolio of relevant cases that are similar to yours.
Look for before and after pictures with clients in similar situations and judge whether you like the results you see.
Know Who Will Be Performing the Procedure
The very best hair restoration surgeons perform their own extractions and placements with capable assistance from an experienced support team.
Other hair restoration clinics may rely more heavily on technicians during the procedure, with supervision and assistance from the physician.
You will probably want to avoid so-called “turn-key” operations, where most of the work is done by a harvesting device operated by a surgical technician.
Many people don’t realize that this model is increasingly common, so it is very important that you ask things like:
- Who removes the grafts?
- Who places the grafts?
- Is the support team full-time and in-house?
- How long has the doctor been working with the support staff?
- Can I talk to other clients who have undergone this procedure?
If the answers you receive to any of these questions are unfavorable or unclear, look elsewhere immediately.
Surgical Hair Restoration With Dr. Daniel A. Danyo, MD
Dr. Daniel Danyo is the founder and medical director of North Atlanta Hair Restoration. He is one of only 400 people in the world certified through the American and International Board of Hair Restoration Surgery.
Dr. Daniel was an early pioneer in Shave-less FUE, also known as No-Shave FUE, and he performs traditional FUE procedures, as well.
He is actively involved in every step of the hair restoration process and brings an expert understanding and close attention to detail.
The doctor individually extracts and places every graft himself — a rarity, but necessary to his high-level craft — to ensure maximum viability and natural regrowth patterns.
He is assisted by his in-house, highly trained surgical team, with whom he has worked closely for several years.
His clients include both men and women, and he prides himself on being able to expertly serve clients who have a broad range of skin and hair types.
He is one of few practitioners in Georgia with years of experience serving African American clients, and he also specializes in large and complex procedures.
“North Atlanta Hair Restoration was a great experience. Dr. Danyo is clearly a leader in the field and does fantastic work. I have had two medium-sized procedures and each time I have had minimal pain, very quick healing, and great results. Thanks so much.” – GD
Considering Surgical Hair Restoration for Yourself?
Talk to Dr. Danyo about your options. He can assess your situation, suggest surgical and non-surgical interventions and help you better understand the process.
Dr. Daniel A. Danyo is the founder and medical director of North Atlanta Hair Restoration, specializing in treating hair loss in both men and women. He is one of only 300 people in the world certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery.
He is a member of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons, American Hair Loss Association, and The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.
He is also an early adopter and pioneer of Shave-less FUE, one of the most discreet surgical procedures available for hair restoration. Dr. Danyo performs every procedure himself, from start to finish. He individually extracts and places every graft on every patient. Learn more about Dr. Danyo on his Meet Dr. Danyo page.