Expectations and Decision-Making in Hair Transplant Surgery: A two way process

A prospective patient, who starts researching hair transplants and consults a hair restoration specialist, will already have a set of reasons for seeking hair restoration. The majority of patients tend to be men and they are usually looking to improve their overall appearance. It is probably in both the patient's and the physician’s interest to clarify those expectations right from the start and then discuss the available surgical options. A patient's reasons for seeking hair restoration contribute to shaping his expectations.

The two most common reasons for a man to seek hair restoration are:

• To improve appearance and alleviate the feeling of premature aging due to hair loss, and

• To restore self-confidence and self esteem. 

Many men will not admit to this, but hair loss is a negative event in their life. It has a direct influence on how men perceive themselves in social and business environments, and more importantly how it affects the perception of others, friends, co-workers and other peers. Some men will consider hair loss as premature ageing when they still feel young at heart and others may come to believe that hair loss overshadows their personality and that all others see is a "balding man" rather than a distinct and interesting individual.

Therefore a man's stated or unstated reasons for seeking hair restoration may profoundly influence his expectations. The patient and hair transplant specialist must communicate to plan a procedure that is appropriate, within reasonable time constraints, and at a cost affordable by the patient.

When obvious a patient is seeking hair restoration constituting unrealistic expectations, for example a 45-year-old man expecting to restore his hair when he was 20, the expectation must be managed and placed in a realistic context. The same applies to a man that is classified as a Norwood 6-7 and expects a full head of hair when he has a limited or poor donor area. When a patient's reasons for seeking hair restoration, and his expectations for outcome, are placed in context with other information about the patient, the basis for a realistic approach to hair restoration begins to emerge.

Information that strongly influences hair restoration planning, and eventual outcome, includes:


Male Pattern hair loss is usually progressive. It is almost impossible to predict for a man in his 20s or early 30s, how his hair loss will develop and in what pattern, over the course of his adult life. When advising a young patient, we must take into account the likelihood of future hair loss.

Pattern of Hair Loss to Date

Age and hair loss pattern are interrelated as they will balance what is achievable today and what may be required in the future. The physician must take into account any future needs for further procedures and make the patient aware of his options and how to safeguard his donor area.

History of Hair Loss in the Patient's Family

History of hair loss in the patient's nearest male relatives may provide some insight as to the extent of hair loss that can be expected in the patient over his lifetime.

Hair Characteristics

Hair calibre, colour, contrast with scalp and texture are important characteristics to consider in planning hair restoration surgery. Thicker hair with some curl will achieve more coverage that fine straight hair. 

Patient's Health

Although surgical hair restoration is a minor procedure, it requires the administration of anaesthetic and for the patient to be as fit and as healthy as possible. This may also influence the result itself. The physician should obtain a full medical before surgery is undertaken.

History of Previous Attempts at Hair Restoration

Many men experiencing hair loss will have tried self-administered hair restoration treatments such as medication and minoxidil topical solutions. The patient should disclose this information , which could be integrated in the overall approach to hair restoration. Where a patient has undergone a previous surgical procedure, this should be discussed openly in terms of the outcome and to incorporate the previous transplanted area in current planning.

Cost Considerations

Both the patient and the hair transplant provider must be willing to engage in a transparent discussion regarding the cost of a surgical procedure. While some patients may consider cost to be a secondary factor to achieving the best possible outcome, most will to seek to balance the two and get ‘value for money’.

Every prospective patient has reasons for seeking hair restoration, and the reasons give rise to his expectations. These must be managed from the initial stages of contact. The patient must be encouraged to enter an honest discussion by the hair restoration specialist to find how his expectations can become possibilities for achieving the best result.

HDC Hair Transplant Centre, has a 10 year history of delivering state of the art results and meeting patient expectations. We pride ourselves treating each patient as an individual and offering honest advice. Our customer care and confidentiality can be assured from your initial contact with our Clinic, to post surgery aftercare and you will be dealt both professionally and personably with the utmost respect for your needs.




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