What if there was a page that you could visit to get all of the reassurance you need when choosing a doctor for a major procedure? Sort of like a Facebook group but with credibility? Instant access to the voices and experiences of others gives us the luxury to know the results of something before we buy. With real-time reviews in the palm of our hands, we rarely have to risk purchasing something before knowing if we'll be satisfied.
In 1999, Patrick Hennessey founded the Hair Transplant Network. This network became a hub for people to connect in the early days of the internet. What we currently know as a social network is pretty much what he created. This community of people shared genuine reviews and uncensored treatments to eventually form a collective of doctors that could be trusted. And, it also shed light on who to avoid when getting a hair transplant procedure.
What Is A Hair Transplant?
CELEB had the opportunity to sit down with Melvin Lopez, the Associate Publisher and Forum Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network. When explaining to us what exactly hair transplants are he shared, "a hair transplant is basically removing the hair from the back and sides of your scalp which is typically resistant to hair loss." He went into detail about the hormone DHT which is what causes hair loss. The process of hair thinning and balding occurs when DHT binds and slowly shrinks the hair follicles on your scalp until it no longer grows.
Lopez explained to CELEB, "What a hair transplant does is take the hair from the back and the sides which are resistant to balding and transplants that to the top. And, when it's transplanting to the top, it keeps its genetic resistance to DHT so, it won't bald." And how exactly is this done, you ask? Well, there are two methods, shared Lopez.
"The older method is called FUT - follicular unit transplantation. And, that method, they remove a strip of your scalp and dissect the hair follicles, and transplant them to the top," explained Lopez. He admitted to this method being more invasive of the two. It takes a little bit longer to recover and also creates a linear scar on the back of the head. The second method, however, is less invasive and attracts more people to the service.
Method number two is called FUE- Follicular Unit Extraction. Lopez shared the details of it saying, "this method the surgeon takes the hair follicles individually one by one in the back of your scalp. So, imagine a pen. If you have a little pen and the punch is the size of a pen and you're just pricking the back of the scalp thousands of times and removing these hair follicles one by one. It's a tedious process but the scarring is minimal, even if you cut your hair very short. And, the recovery is like nothing." This minimally invasive method plays a major role in the growth of the hair transplant industry.
CELEB asked Lopez if hair transplants can be done on patients with any type of hair loss such as alopecia, or only those who are balding. He informed us that hair transplants are only recommended for people who are balding because it has a pattern. Lopez stated, "genetic balding, it's a patterned hair loss. So you have just the top of your head is balding but the sides are good and healthy." Whereas, alopecia is less predictable. He explained that "alopecia patients don't have a stable hair supply." Elaborating with, "alopecia, it's all over the scalp. So, you know, if you were to take the hair for surgery, it could be lost due to the condition."
"It's A Collective Community"
The Hair Transplant Network has no borders when it comes to finding the best doctors. Lopez shared, "We have doctors all over the world."
When referring to the common habit of going people going to other countries, such as Turkey, for a less expensive procedure Lopez shared, "I don't want to say that Turkey's a bad place. I mean, there are a lot of bad clinics. But, there's no really bad place. There are a lot of bad clinics in the US that charge a lot of money. So, we have doctors that we recommend all over the world."
He shared with CELEB that "Most people do travel to get a hair transplant just because if you're on a strict budget or something like that. It may make more sense to go to a country where a doctor is doing good work but charging less."
The Hair Transplant Network recommends surgeons in Turkey, India, Asia, Europe, North America, and soon in South America too. "Our goal is never to promote one place because there should be options for everyone."
Lopez stressed the importance of individuals doing their research and using the forum on the Hair Transplant Network to find a doctor that is going to help them reach their goals best.
He explained to CELEB, "All of our doctors have gone through an approval process by the community. not one person says this doctor should be on the list. That's what separates us from other organizations." Lopez continued, "The entire community which is thousands of members all have a vote and say 'look, this doctor's been doing good work.' We pull up all of the reviews and look at the results and really scrutinize the doctor, publicly, until we have a vote and say 'okay, this doctor should be recommended.'"
A doctor getting recommended by the community of the Hair Transplant Network is a very vigorous process. Lopez believes that "that's what really makes the list a lot more credible." He humbly admitted, "and, of course, we don't ever want to say our list is definitive." Adding in, "but, I think going by the list and using that as a starting point for research is always a good thing."
Give Yourself What You Deserve
Your hair is part of your identity. Losing it chips away at that and it's not always the easiest to cope with. Hair transplant procedures are great for those who want to keep that part of themselves. Lopez shared why people should turn to the Hair Transplant Network when approaching such an important procedure stating, "the Hair Transplant Network isn't one person. It's a collective community." And, everyone within it is there to be genuine. The opinions that make up the community are unbiased and receive no incentives.
Lopez revealed, "We host the good, bad, and the ugly [results]." And, with that, he emphasized giving yourself what you deserve in terms of doing the proper research and not letting price dictate your decision. Referring to research he said, "always look at the results first and, if you need to save up a little more then it's worth it." Lopez continued, "It's the first thing people look at. they look at your face, your hair."