Anyone who has spent any amount of time on the hair loss forums or researching hair transplant clinics has seen what appears to be the helpless class 6 on the Norwood Scale of Hair Loss transformed into what seems to be a full head of hair. Moreover, anyone considering a hair transplant or in need of a follow-up procedure wants to believe that if there is hope for this seemingly destitute case, then their own expectations become all the more reasonably achievable.
If you're lucky, you will find hair transplant cases that have been well documented by the patient or on a clinics website with well taken photos or videos over time. However, more often you will find a single before and after hair transplant photo showcased by a clinic that may leave you with a few unanswered questions.
As someone who fell victim to the before and afters on the glossy brochures and late night infomercials of decades past, I have personally became adept at consistently questioning and scrutinizing hair transplant photos that don't show multiple angles of the scalp before and after surgery found online today.
It becomes disingenuous to modern hair transplant clinics and surgeons that provide well documented and consistent positive life changing results to have countless other clinics go online to further compromise an already overly marketed and often confusing industry to prospective patients.
Taking exceptional and fair before and after hair transplant videos or images today is neither expensive nor technically challenging. By following a few simple common sense guidelines, there is no reason for any clinic to be ethically questioned about neither the value of their work nor what hair transplantation can or cannot realistically achieve.
Hair Transplant Photo Taking Best Practices include but are certainly not limited to:
- Using the same background and lighting for each hair transplant photo
- Taking similar and consistent pictures before and after surgery
- Using an HD camera or camcorder
- Showing the full donor area before and after
- Taking photos showing multiple angles of the scalp before and after surgery
- Providing close-up pictures of crucial areas such as the hairline and crown
- Providing postoperative photos that show graft placement
- Consistent styling methods
- Video comb throughs
Some of the practices clinics should not be doing include:
- Using concealers! (Toppik, Couvre, Dermmatch, etc.)
- Post editing or resizing
- Inconsistent or “creative” combing techniques
- Using questionable after images
- Avoiding areas in the after images that may still need additional coverage or are thinning
The use of concealers in hair transplant photos have been used and abused for years. For those of us who have had experience with concealers, those images are usually easy to pick out. Hair transplant clinics should never take or include these types of photos in their presentations.
Hair restoration clinics should try to take before/after pictures showing the patient's hair at similar lengths and styling. This isn't always possible, but photos that accurately present the transplanted areas without trying to conceal any remaining thinning areas should be presented.
At the end of the day, men and women considering hair transplant surgery should view results presented by the clinic critically and watch out for covert marketing tactics.
Photos and videos are great, but there are many other considerations that need to be taken in to account before making the life changing decision to have a hair transplant. Thankfully in today's market place we have various research tools including our hair restoration forum and organizations that provide a plethora of information and recommendations to help educate and hopefully provide direction for those individuals willing to do the research and ultimately deciding to “take the plunge”.
Written and Published By,
Brian, Writer/Blogger For the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, the Hair Loss Q & A Blog and the Hair Restoration Forum and Social Community