Before you choose a physician for hair restoration, or for any other purpose, here are the basic things you should want to know about:
- The Physician's Training and Credentials
- The Physician's Experience
- The Manner in Which the Physician Practices
- The Comfort-Level You Feel With the Physician
You can ask the physician about his/her training and experience, or you can get answers to these questions on the World Wide Web at sites such as:
You can determine the manner in which the physician practices by visiting the physician's office and clinic. You can find out if you feel comfortable with the physician by meeting the physician in an initial consultation. It is in your own best interest to learn as much as you can before making a final decision on choosing a physician.
While no amount of information can assure you of a satisfactory outcome of treatment, the best outcome is likely to result from a good patient/physician relationship founded upon (1) trust in the physician based on your knowledge of the physician's training, experience and competence, and (2) a compatible relationship with the physician.
The ISHRS Pro Bono Program, Operation Restore, matches you with an ISHRS physician member based on geography. The ISHRS does not imply or guarantee that a physician selected will be compatible with you and will provide treatment that meets your expectations. You should do the research and ask the questions suggested below to determine if you feel comfortable with the physician and if he/she is likely to meet your expectations.
The Physician's Training and Credentials
Questions about the physician's training include:
- From what medical school did the physician receive his/her MD (allopathic medical) or DO (osteopathic medical) degree?
- What year did he/she receive the medical degree?
- When was the physician licensed to practice medicine? Is he/she licensed to practice medicine in your state or the state in which the treatment will take place?
- Where (hospital or medical center) did the physician complete his/her internship and residency training?
- Did the physician have additional training in a medical or surgical specialty after completing residency?
- Is the physician a certified medical or surgical specialist, who successfully passed examination by a medical or surgical specialty board? Specialist standing is not essential to a physician's competence but it is an indication of advanced training.
- Does the physician hold membership in their related specialty professional society? Do they attend scientific conferences and workshops? Membership and attendance in such societies is not essential, but it is an additional indication of commitment and advanced training.
The Physician's Experience
If you are considering surgical hair restoration (hair transplantation, scalp reduction, flap grafting) you should want to know:
- How long has the physician been doing surgical hair restoration procedures?
- How many hair restoration procedures has the physician done? How many of the specific type you may consider having done? The number of cases performed by a surgeon is not necessarily a direct correlation to the quality. Some physicians elect to perform larger cases and therefore treat fewer patients.
- How many hair restoration procedures does the physician currently do per month? A busy practice can be one indication that a surgeon is skilled and well respected by patients.
- Will the physician, on request, provide names of patients who are willing to be references for the physician?
You should view several before and after photos to assure you like the aesthetic quality of the physician's work. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what can be accomplished for your unique situation.
The Manner in Which the Physician Practices
You will want to know something about the environment in which the physician practices:
- Is the physician a solo practitioner or are there other physicians in the same practice?
- If there are other physicians, will you have the same physician from beginning to end of your treatment? If not, would this make you uncomfortable?
- Is the physician's office staff helpful, considerate and willing to answer questions about billing, insurance, etc.?
- A physician's office should be clean and neat.
- You should not feel pressured into making a decision. You should feel free to take your time and think about whether you wish to proceed.
The Comfort Level You Feel With the Physician
A patient's trust in a physician is often as much a matter of "comfort level" as it is knowledge of training and experience:
- You should feel free to have a spouse or friend accompany you in a consultation. The presence of a spouse or friend may make the first meeting with the physician more relaxed.
- You should consider writing a list of questions to ask the physician. After the consultation you should feel that the physician addressed all of your concerns and answered your questions satisfactorily.
- You should feel the physician spent enough time with you, and the physician discussed all of the treatment options relevant to your situation.
- Did the physician indicate a willingness to discuss all treatment options, and costs of various treatment options?
- At the end of the initial consultation, do you have a feeling that you and the physician have a compatible patient/physician relationship?