Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration - Consultation
About Header Image

Q: I am a 34 year old male and my dermatologist prescribed Propecia for me today. Most of my hair loss is at the hairline, but there is some loss on top as well. It’s not bad, I just want to stay ahead of it. If I get a transplant I want to get it at your clinic, but I will give the Propecia a try first. I am going to be overseas for a couple of months starting this Sunday and I was wondering about the necessity or desirability of having someone measure my hair density prior to starting the Propecia. Would you advise waiting to start the Propecia until I come back in two months and having my density examined at your clinic? — M.R., Great Falls, Virginia

A: I would start Propecia as soon as possible. What is important for a hair transplant is the density in the donor area and this is not affected by Propecia (or minoxidil). Your donor density can be measured anytime at an evaluation prior to surgery. If you want to wait to see the effects of Propecia prior to the hair transplant, you really should wait a year; since growth, if any, can take this long. If you just want to have Propecia on board for the hair restoration procedure, or to make sure you don’t have side effects, then generally a month will do. If you would like to do a photo consult through our website to get some preliminary information about how many grafts you might need, you can do that at your leisure, but start Propecia now since the longer you wait the less effective it will be at regrowing hair.

Posted by

Note from Dr. Bernstein: This article, by my colleague Dr. Rassman, is such important reading for anyone considering a hair transplant, that I felt it should be posted here in its entirety.

Areas of Unethical Behavior Practiced Today
William Rassman, MD, Los Angeles, California

I am disturbed that there is a rise in unethical practices in the hair transplant community. Although many of these practices have been around amongst a small handful of physicians, the recent recession has clearly increased their numbers. Each of us can see evidence of these practices as patients come into our offices and tell us about their experiences. When a patient comes to me and is clearly the victim of unethical behavior I can only react by telling the patient the truth about what my fellow physician has done to them. We have no obligation to protect those doctors in our ranks who practice unethically, so maybe the way we respond is to become a patient advocate, one on one, for each patient so victimized. The following reflects a list of the practices I find so abhorrent:

1. Selling hair transplants to patients who do not need it, just to make money. I have met with an increasing number of very young patients getting hair transplants for changes in the frontal hairline that reflect a maturing hairline, not balding. Also, performing surgery on very young men (18-22) with early miniaturization is in my opinion outside the “Standard of Care”. Treating these young men with a course of approved medications for a full year should be the Standard of Care for all of us.

2. Selling and delivering more grafts than the patient needs. Doctors are tapping the well of the patient’s graft account by adding hundreds or thousands of grafts into areas of the scalp where the miniaturization is minimal and balding is not grossly evident. I have even seen patients that had grafts placed into areas of the scalp where there was no clinically significant miniaturization present. Can you imagine 3,000-4,000 grafts in an early Class 3 balding pattern? Unwise depletion of a patient’s finite donor hair goes on far more frequently than I can say.

3. Putting grafts into areas of normal hair under the guise of preventing hair loss. There are many patients who have balding in the family and watch their own “hair fall” thinking that most of their hair will eventually fall out. A few doctors prey on these patients and actually offer hair transplantation on a preventive basis. This is far more common in women who may not be as familiar with what causes baldness and do not have targeted support systems like this forum. They become more and more desperate over time and are willing to do “anything” to get hair. They are a set-up for physicians with predatory practice styles.

4. Pushing the number of grafts that are not within the skill set of surgeon and/or staff. The push to large megasessions and gigasessions are driven by a limited number of doctors who can safely perform these large sessions. Competitive forces in the marketplace make doctors feel that they must offer the large sessions, even if they can not do them effectively. A small set of doctors promote large sessions of hair transplants, but really do not deliver them, fraudulently collecting fees for services not received by the patient. Fraud is a criminal offense and when we see these patients in consultation, I ask you to consider your obligation under our oaths and our respective state medical board license agencies to report these doctors.

5. Some doctors are coloring the truth with regard to their results, using inflated graft counts, misleading photos, or inaccurate balding classifications. False representation occurs not only to patients while the doctor is selling his skills, but also to professionals in the field when the doctor presents his results. Rigging patient results and testimonials are not uncommon. Lifestyle Lift, a cosmetic surgery company settled a claim by the State of New York over its attempts to produce positive consumer reviews publishing statements on Web sites faking the voices of satisfied customers. Employee of this company reportedly produced substantial content for the web.

The hair transplant physician community has developed wonderful technology that could never have been imagined 20 years ago. The results of modern hair transplantation have produced many satisfied patients and the connection between what we represent to our patient and what we can realistically do is impressive today. Unfortunately, a small handful of physicians have developed predatory behavior that is negatively impacting all of us and each of us sees this almost daily in our practices. Writing an opinion piece like this is not a pleasant process, but what I have said here needs to be said. According to the American Medical Association Opinion 9.031- “Physicians have an ethical obligation to report impaired, incompetent, and/or unethical colleagues in accordance with the legal requirements in each state……”

Rassman, WR: Areas of unethical behavior practiced today. Hair Transplant Forum Intl. Sep/Oct 2009; 19(5) 1,153.

Posted by

Hair Transplant Blog - Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair RestorationDr. Bernstein’s Hair Transplant Blog is a new medical web log (aka “blog”) that is helping the online community handle the challenges of going bald.

Selected as one of New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors” for the ninth year in a row, Dr. Bernstein answers questions at the following website URL:

www.BernsteinMedical.com/hairtransplantblog/

His replies cover over 30 categories ranging from commonly asked questions on “male pattern hair loss” and “when to have a hair transplant” to more scientific issues on specific surgical techniques.

The Hair Transplant Blog serves as a clearinghouse for important concerns of both men and women suffering from hair loss. “I consult with many patients each week in our New York and New Jersey facilities who are so distraught about the state of their hair loss that some can barely function. There is so much information available about baldness and its treatment on the internet that it is difficult to tell exactly what is true. I spend a lot of time just clarifying false, or partially correct, ideas. This misinformation just serves to exacerbate the problem.” Dr. Bernstein says “This Blog is an outgrowth of these consultations. In the Blog, I post answers to the questions that patients bring to my office or submit via our web site.”

Question are answered by Dr. Bernstein in a concise, but easy to understand way. He covers a wide variety of subjects; including new hair replacement techniques, hair transplant repair, medical therapies and interesting diagnostic problems.

The expert medical perspective in the Blog has received the attention of editors for many popular blog directories such as GetBlogs, and Answers.com. Being a featured blog has allowed people from around the world to have a better understanding of hair loss and the process of surgical hair restoration.

Dr. Bernstein has been recognized worldwide for his pioneering work in surgical hair transplantation. His landmark publications on Follicular Unit Hair Transplants, which give results that mimic nature, and Follicular Unit Extraction, a non-invasive hair replacement technique, have earned him international recognition and make him one of the foremost authorities on hair restoration in the world. Known to audiences from his appearances on NBC’s Today Show with Matt Lauer, CBS’s The Early Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, NPR’s The People’s Pharmacy, The Discovery Channel and other nationally syndicated programs, Dr. Bernstein has been providing answers and solutions for hair loss from his Manhattan facility for over 20 years.

Posted by

“Good Morning America” interviewed Dr. Bernstein in their two-part series on hair transplant surgery. View a clip of the video here:

Read the full transcript:

Charles Gibson: In a two-part series this week, “The Bald Facts,” we are looking at what works and what doesn’t in hair replacement.

And first up, we want you to meet Charles Teacher, a real estate executive who for 30 years has been a guinea pig for every kind of baldness remedy there was. Let’s look at his struggle through the years.

Charles Teacher: It was very restrictive. You’re always patting it down, looking in the mirror to see that it’s not sort of showing. It’s a really difficult way to live.

Charles Gibson: Charles Teacher should know. He’s been studying the latest trends in baldness for three decades. His hair started thinning when he was just 26, and back then he tried that bastion of hope, the comb-over.

Charles Teacher: I still had hair then. You couldn’t see that I was bald, but I could see I was very thin. It really is this fear of being unattractive to women. I suppose it is a certain amount of vanity in terms of how you look, but most of it is this fear of being rejected.

Charles Gibson: So even at an early age, he began wearing a toupee and bemoaning his genetic fate. His father had male pattern baldness. Would he spend the rest of his life worrying which way the wind blew on the golf course? Then came 1977 and the heralding of the hair plug. Charles Teacher was first in line for the surgery, and what a surgery it turned out to be.

Charles Teacher: Most of the plugs didn’t take and the few that did were in the front in a very bad hairline. It looked stupid.

Charles Gibson: This was the hairline of those old plugs, right across his forehead, so he went back to his toupee. He had a curly rug when styles were curly, a grayer one as he grayed, and he wore his hairpiece to bed. Even his wife never saw him without it.

Charles Teacher: She never saw me without the hairpiece for 30 years until I had the consultation with the surgeon who is doing the transplant and I removed it off like that.

Charles Gibson: The consultation was with hair transplant surgeon Robert Bernstein who recommended Teacher go bald, just a better bald, moving hair around to give him more on top. He demonstrated with before and after pictures of former patients. Teacher signed on and had the old plugs removed which would be added on with the rest.

Years ago in transplants like Charles Teacher’s, the surgeon removed small circles of tissue from the back of the head where hair growth is stable, then to transplant those clumps of up to 30 hairs, the surgeon would remove a matching circle of tissue from the top of the head and put in the graft. It worked, but it didn’t look natural.

Dr. Bernstein: That has always been the problem, that grafts that were done 25, 30 years ago are still around. So really the idea is not just to get the hair to grow. That’s the simple part. The challenge is to do it in a way that looks natural.

Charles Gibson: Now Charles Teacher’s best hope, single follicular unit transplants. The surgeon removes a strip of hair-producing tissue from the back of the head and separates it under a microscope into units of one to four hairs, the way hair grows naturally. The surgeon then makes tiny incisions exactly where and at what angle he wants each hair to grow and then implants it.

Teacher decided it was worth a try, even though it would cost thousands of dollars. Now he wants to burn his old toupee for one of the best results of all, to go swimming with his new grandchild, carefree.

Charles Teacher: I really feel that I’ve been given a new lease in life in many ways. It sounds silly, but just to be normal, just to be normal.

Charles Gibson: We’re joined by Charles Teacher, sans toupee, and the man who helped to get rid of it, Dr. Robert Bernstein, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University.

Good to have you both here. Why go through all this trouble? Why not just be bald?

Charles Teacher: I think it’s because I started with a hairpiece when I was rather young, 26, and I just didn’t have the guts to take it off. I think I felt a bit like Samson and Delilah, should we say, you know, if I lost my hair, I’d lose my strength or my personality.

Charles Gibson: And you’re pleased with this.

Charles Teacher: It’s just awesome.

Charles Gibson: Dr. Bernstein, is his hair actually growing? I had always heard that you can transplant hair, but you can’t make it grow.

Dr. Bernstein: No, actually, a transplant will continue to grow. He has to get haircuts just like it’s his normal hair.

Charles Gibson: Are there good candidates and bad candidates for this?

Dr. Bernstein: Yes. And actually people that wear hairpieces are sometimes tricky because their baseline is a full head of hair, so one of the important things that we had to discuss in the first consult was what his expectations were and whether he realized that a transplant wouldn’t give him the fullness of a hairpiece, but of course, it would look much more natural.

Charles Gibson: That’s why you lose the line, you’re still bald to some extent, but it’s a better kind of bald.

Dr. Bernstein: Yes.

Charles Gibson: Single follicular unit transplants is such a mouthful, but basically it’s saying you’re just transplanting a hair two or three at a time.

Dr. Bernstein: Right. In the old days, hair was planted in little clumps and then it was divided into small pieces but arbitrarily. Now we transplant hair exactly the way it grows in nature, and hair normally grows in little tiny bundles and they’re called follicular units.

Charles Gibson: I don’t know if it’s dirty trick, but we have a camera behind you because in the back of your head, you’re going to have a second procedure now.

Charles Teacher: Yes, we’ll have a second procedure actually this morning. I think that we’ll leave the back and probably just reinforce the front so that it –- I mean, you don’t really see the back of your head, you’re only worried about how you appear in the mirror.

Charles Gibson: Right. How much does it cost?

Charles Teacher: I haven’t told my wife. Can I give that a miss?

Charles Gibson: Well, I’m sure Dr. Bernstein, he’ll probably say something.

Dr. Bernstein: We charge about $5 a graft.

Charles Gibson: About $5 a graft, which is one, two, three, four, five hairs –-

Dr. Bernstein: That’s right.

Charles Gibson: — per time. So that gets rather expensive. I mean, we’re talking about $10,000, $15,000 for a total procedure?

Dr. Bernstein: Yes.

Charles Gibson: Which insurance does or does not cover?

Dr. Bernstein: It usually does not.

Charles Gibson: But you probably spent that much in toupees over the time.

Charles Teacher: Absolutely. You know, so $2,000 or $3,000 a year with the toupees and the hairdresser worrying every week, you know, yeah.

Charles Gibson: Gotta ask. You’re a little thin on top yourself, yet you haven’t done this.

Dr. Bernstein: Everybody asks me that. It just doesn’t bother me. And I think it’s important being a doctor that people, when they come to see me, they don’t feel compelled that they have to have the transplant, that they’re here because they want to. And that being bald is okay.

Charles Gibson: So the title, if somebody’s interested in this, is follicular unit transplant.

Dr. Bernstein: Yes.

Charles Gibson: All right. Dr. Bernstein, thanks very much. Charles Teacher, thank you very much.

Charles Teacher: Thank you.

Charles Gibson: Good to see you. Good luck with the procedure today.

Charles Teacher: Thank you.

Watch more videos on hair transplantation and hair transplant repair in our Hair Restoration Videos section

Posted by



Browse Hair Restoration Answers by topic:








212-826-2400
Scroll to Top