Big Question – How to Become a Hair Transplant Surgeon

A hair transplant surgeon specializes in diagnosing and treating problems related to hair loss. The training of a hair transplant surgeon helps him or her to be an expert in this field. Along with training, a high degree of technical and artistic skill is needed to perform hair treatment surgeries.

Read the following steps to go through the process.

1. Develop an Interest to Become Surgeon

Find and meet experienced hair transplant surgeons who have been working in the field for quite some time. Their experience will guide you with more details on the subject. Taking the help of a knowledgeable surgeon will help you decide whether to become a hair transplant surgeon.

2. Enter the Medical Field

With many people taking interest in hair treatment surgery as a career, you need to clear high school with a medical diploma in hand. The medical diploma will let you learn on subjects of biology, chemistry and physics. The subjects will help prepare for any pre-requisite medical exam like PMET, MCATS, and etc. to enter a medical college. High score or good grades are required in these exams because of heavy competition always present between aspirants wanting to become a doctor or physician.

Entering medical college the undergraduate undergoes 4 to 5 years of following training and testing (theoretically-practically) period so to earn a degree of MBBS, BAMS, etc.;

  • Understands the fundamental subjects of Anatomy, Physiology, Histology, Bio-chemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, professionalism and medical ethics taught in early college years.
  • Conducts medical histories of patients and physically examines and diagnoses their diseases through study of medicine.
  • Works in clinical rotations under the supervision of doctors to manage patients.
  • Studies surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, gynecology and obstetrics.

Other Things Learned in Medical College

  • Gains clinical and community work experience.
  • Deals with issues like health, disease, population, etc.
  • Communication skills
  • Gets more involved in prevention and care.
  • Makes innovation in health care and sciences with the help of technology.
  • Does research on affairs related to medical field.

Specialty and Residency

  • Based on the personal interests, clinical experiences and other factors considered the undergraduate chooses his/her specialty e.g. Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, Neurology, etc. to become a specialist and not just remain as a doctor on completing the graduate degree.
  • Opting specialty, its experience is gained through applying in a residency program (internship). The residency program positions are available in your own passed out college or have to search elsewhere colleges/hospitals.
  • The program period is of 2 years or more (as per specialty chosen) where the doctor gains experience by working alongside other health practitioners, getting exposed to different communities, patients and cases over the subject opted and gets paid too.
  • Once all education and training is completed, doctors receive certification on their chosen field to be finally known as a MD (doctor of medicine) or DO (osteopathic physician).
  • Post board certifications, MD or DO doctors apply for medical license (available from state level boards who issue medical license) to work with authority in their respected field.

3. Hair Transplant Surgery TrainingEligibility

Any licensed physician can become a hair transplant surgeon. Because a physician is able to diagnose the whole body in a surgery rather than just considering the head. So it is easy for a physician to study this subject. With good understanding of medical knowledge physicians need to gain enhanced surgical knowledge for better understanding on performing a surgery. Apply to a hair transplant college or institute or join fellowship which guides with good coverage on transplant training.

Training Overview

In training the physician undergoes a series of programs that help learn following aspects of hair transplantation procedures and methods;

  • Understands reasons for hair loss (in male/female)
  • Gets detailed knowledge on the physiology, anatomy and blood supply of the scalp and hair follicle
  • How to avoid unwanted blood loss during surgery and blood supply to areas of treated case
  • Lymph drainage
  • Principles of suture
  • Preparing recipient site & slit formation
  • Incision or excision for minimal scarring post surgery
  • Learns natural hairline designs
  • Knows about anesthesia combination
  • Instrumentation
  • Learns follicular extraction
  • Follicle transection Rates
  • Placement of grafts with techniques
  • Does temple hair angling
  • Measures hair densities
  • Evaluates patient
  • Follows after care surgery

Various Hair Transplant Techniques Learned During Training

  • Harvesting_ Refers to the removal of hair follicle needed for hair transplanting using different techniques like strip harvesting.
  • Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) _ Here surgeon removes some tissue from the skin when hair follicles are to be extracted. The hair follicles are removed with the help of clinical members before a transplanting surgery is to be performed.
  • Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) _ In this method, surgeons understand about hair follicles to be taken from the scalp with no removal of tissue. The hair follicles removed with technique shows the difference between FUT & FUE.
  • Body Hair Transplant (BHT) _ Doctors learn to remove hair from other parts of the body (chest, back, shoulders, legs) only when a donor’s head hair quantity is insufficient to use in surgery.
  • Robotic Hair Transplantation_ The method where robotic arms and cameras assist a surgeon during surgery to operate in speed.

Course Segment/Period

  • The course consists of provisional/foundation program, hands on training approach, custom made courses (for those not having surgical experience) and advance study of surgery treatment or techniques.
  • The course module includes theory, tutorials, demonstrations and practical sessions that briefs physician on what do to in a surgery.
  • The training period ranges from weeks to months to year and can go longer based on the learning, artistic and working ability of a physician.
  • Upon completion of course physicians are awarded with certificate of recognition by the concerned training institute that may also offer a job to help expand surgery practice.

Doctors receive practice on patients through full observation and performance in clinical classes or operations. They learn how to use various surgical tools and instruments required during a surgery. Live surgical procedures and hands-on practice in workshops help doctors do presentations and debate or give their own view after learning new facts. This then adds more knowledge to the current hair transplantation surgery procedure. Discussing different medical tools, technical equipment used during hair transplant procedure gives the surgeon confidence to do the job.4. Study Other Specialty Subjects

Besides basic hair transplant surgery training, one must specialize in the field of ‘Dermatology‘ (helps to show the health of body before a transplant can be performed) and ‘Plastic Surgery‘ (assists in enhancing patient looks). This is important because many hair transplant doctors have been able to perform successful surgeries due to their additional knowledge on other subjects.

5. Become Certified

A surgeon requires registration or certification according to international or national rules in order to medically verify hair transplant surgery qualifications or accreditations eligible enough to perform a surgery. So obtaining a board certification from a recognized authority is necessary to have their value in your career. The trained surgeon applies for a certification and receives it only after an inspection by the board authority. The board examines a person’s technique; skills, knowledge, and character on the training are received before approving for a certificate. Certification gives you the access to perform a hair treatment surgery independently. This means you could begin work by having your own clinic.

6. Work Profile

Post completing training and receiving formal certification to begin a career, an accredited hair transplant surgeon considers the following points before performing a surgery;

  • Evaluates diagnostic conditions of a patient by consulting with them about their pattern of hair loss or alopecia stage level.
  • Knows on physical health like asking on smoking, drinking habits etc.
  • Asks medical history or hair loss history in family.
  • Queries that any medications were being used or any bad reactions that happened from using that medication.
  • Discusses other medical issues and explains the possibilities of a modern hair transplant surgery like time taken for the hair to grow back or details the need for the continued treatment of surgery.
  • Mentions the cost of undergoing a surgery.
  • Takes patient undertaking for undergoing a surgery
  • Lastly the surgeon instructs patient to work on certain things (no smoke, alcohol, etc. for few days) before performing a surgery. This is done for the surgery to give desired results.

SurgeryA surgeon works on a hair transplant surgery case with proper assistance from his/her qualified technicians or clinical assistants apart from adhering to the other following mandatory guidelines;

  • Performs surgery in a licensed medical-surgical facility with assisting qualified technicians/team and adequate infrastructure backup to take care of any possible emergencies which may occur during or after the surgery like the spread of infection.
  • Gives local anesthesia or sedates patient in appropriate doses or uses correct administering method with also checking the content and expiry dates.
  • Monitors oxygen and blood pressure levels of the patient during entire surgery.
  • Works on donor dissection with single or multiple tools to harvest hair.
  • Dissects hairs with use of microscope so to avoid any cuts.
  • Prepares grafts and hairline design.
  • Measures density of hair to be transplanted.
  • Makes graft insertions using methods like stick and place method where after making recipient site, hairs are immediately inserted on the spot.
  • Does thorough assessment and evaluation of patient before discharging them by measuring all surgical levels and body parts to avoid any surgery or clinical errors.

Post-Operative CareThis refers to the care given to patients after the surgery has been performed.

  • The patient is assisted with medical help (injections, medications) for their wounds, swelling, numbness, etc. that happened during surgery. Regular follow-up is necessary to ensure the safe and effective outcome of a surgery.
  • Post operative care or the instructions given by a surgeon to patients on what things needed to be done after surgery is the most important aspect of a surgeon’s work life. Because this is how a surgeon is able to receive trust and respect from people who believe the surgeon indeed is a qualified one.

7. Gain ExperienceMore experience one has in the field of surgery, the better it assists in mastering it. So working with experienced surgeons helps increase that expertise needed in knowing the surgery case causes. Sound judgment combined with medical knowledge and technique is the key ingredient needed to work on a hair restoration surgery. The artistic ability achieved through good eye and hand coordination is a practice that helps the surgeon to get satisfactory surgical results. Note a hair transplant surgeon with good skills has to make the patient look good and not bad. This is where experience matters because an experienced surgeon commits less number of mistakes during a surgery and learns more.

8. Develop Your Future

A qualified hair transplant surgeon progresses in career because of hair related cases worked upon or the number of surgeries performed successfully. Surgeons who have a good hand in experience are the ones that make better use of technology because it gives them advancement to study and treat the cases in a way to solve more problems. For ex. surgeries done with the help of robotic technology are carried out to do the job in a more efficient and speedy manner. So developing the future is important as it demands change and the need to work in a new way at the earliest.

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