Beware Doctors Who Dabble, Hair Restoration Demands a Specialist
People experiencing hair loss often are surprised to learn that any individual with a medical license can perform a hair transplant in the U.S. While we have the utmost respect for every medical specialty, it is cause for concern that any doctor – whether a specialist in allergy, radiology, or even psychiatry – is legally allowed to perform a hair transplant.
That’s why it’s essential that patients considering hair restoration surgery look beyond the initials that appear after a doctor’s name and look at their board certification and professional affiliations, as well as their experience.
For instance, the founder of Arocha Hair Restoration, Bernard Arocha, M.D., is a Diplomate of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS). He has also earned the designation of Fellow of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS). These designations build upon and enhance Dr. Arocha’s medical education, which included earning a medical degree from the University of Miami and completing a residency with The University of Texas Health Science Center.
Unlike cosmetic surgery practices that occasionally dabble in hair transplants along with a laundry list of other procedures, Arocha Hair Restoration is focused exclusively on hair. It’s right there in the name!
Dr. Arocha has performed more than 7,000 hair restoration procedures in the last 20 years, and he is constantly striving to advance current techniques in order to achieve the best patient outcomes possible.
Diplomate of ABHRS Explained
Certification as a Diplomate of the ABHRS is detailed and exhaustive. In fact, it is the only recognized board certification by the ISHRS, which is the largest hair restoration education society in the world. According to ABHRS, Dr. Arocha is one of approximately 200 hair restoration surgeons have completed the rigorous certifications process.
To become a Diplomate of the ABHRS Dr. Arocha was required to demonstrate training, evidence of post-training surgical experience, aesthetic skill and a comprehensive clinical understanding of hair loss and its treatment modalities. Just to qualify for the examination, he had to present case logs and operative reports with surgical details, including before-and-after photographs. It’s all about proving that hair transplant patients achieved high quality, cosmetic and aesthetic results. There was also an oral and written exam to ensure a thorough knowledge of hair restoration surgical techniques.
Even after certification, hair restoration surgeons who have earned Diplomate status are required to prove they are keeping their knowledge and skills sharp. To maintain certification, the ABHRS periodically evaluates Dr. Arocha’s professional standing, lifelong learning and self-assessment, cognitive expertise and practice performance. The ABHRS models its Maintenance of Certification process after method used by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Fellow of ISHRS Explained
The designation of Fellow of ISHRS recognizes members of the organization who meet certain strict educational criteria, including ABHRS certification. In 2013, Dr. Arocha was among just 61 hair restoration surgeons from around the world named inaugural Fellows of the ISHRS.
The designation of Fellow recognizes that Dr. Arocha strives for excellence in hair restoration and acknowledges that this is a highly specialized field. To be considered, Dr. Arocha was required to exhibit proficiency in the scientific skills necessary to contribute sound research to the field of hair restoration, complete an advanced Fellowship Training Program and achieve a specific level of points in a system of various educational parameters, such as writing scientific papers, teaching at scientific programs and serving in leadership positions.
Together, the Diplomate of ABHRS certification and the Fellow of ISHRS designation ensure hair restoration surgeons meet exceptionally high standards. The system is designed to give hair restoration patients the highest degree of confidence in the expertise and abilities of their doctor.
Since any medical doctor can perform a hair transplant, we consider these extra levels of validation to be absolutely necessary. The truth is that the surgical and aesthetic skill level of physicians offering hair transplants can differ significantly. We’ve been called upon to fix some truly unfortunate mistakes.
When considering a hair restoration doctor, you want a specialist who has spent many years learning the nuances of types of hair, hairlines, hair density and the angle and direction of hair growth. After thousands of procedures, Dr. Arocha has developed the ability to accurately envision the outcomes of placing a hair follicle into a particular place and at a particular angle. The result appears natural and is undetectable.
The Bottom Line: It’s All About Results
One of the most important things to consider when you are looking for the best hair transplant surgeon is their portfolio of before-and-after photos. Your surgeon should have an extensive collection of photo albums to share with you with multiple patient views and angles. While it is okay to want to see views of what a transplant looks like in the weeks following a transplant, it’s important to ask to see photos of patient results that are fully grown in.
These before-and-after images should be widely accessible on the hair transplant surgeon’s website and social media pages. The easiest way to decipher a credible hair transplant surgeon is the lack of stock imagery – photos that are purchased and do not depict authentic patient results. Before-and-after images should not be stock photos – they should be images of actual patients who had their work done at the clinic. You can view Dr. Arocha’s hair transplant photo gallery and hair transplant video gallery to see results.