There are many factors that go into considering surgical hair restoration. On the surface it appears to be a simple affair. You see that you are losing your hair so you go online and start looking at the galleries of the first few hair transplant clinics you find. You see one or two that look good with favorable Yelp reviews so you call or visit for a consultation and you make the decision to have surgery. This is exactly what you should do when researching a mechanic to fix your car but not what you should do when considering surgery.
One can be considered a bad hair transplant candidate for one or sometimes two reasons.
1. The patient has not performed enough research.
2. The patient has unrealistic expectations given their specific surgical characteristics.
The first reason listed above is the most common reason why one may not be a good hair transplant candidate but is also the least discussed. If a clinic realizes a patient has not done a lot of research they usually will not encourage the patient to leave their clinic and investigate other clinics as they wish to keep that patient for themselves. It makes sense for the clinic but it is not in the best interest of the patient.
Patients should take their time when considering surgical hair restoration and in fact surgery should be considered as only the very last resort to fighting hair loss if other methods have failed to achieve the desired result. Patients should first visit their local doctor to discuss the medical options available to them. Currently, there are only two FDA approved medical therapies for treating hair loss. Those are Propecia and Rogaine but just because these are available does not necessarily mean your doctor will recommend them. This can be due to ignorance on the part of the doctor or their opinion that neither are needed. If you feel that you are losing your hair and your doctor does not cooperate with medications, seeks a second and even a third opinion.
Assuming you are able to secure medical treatment you should use them for as long as possible before considering surgery. When we take action to deal with a problem we seek immediate results. Unfortunately, nothing about treating hair loss is immediate and it takes many months and even years to see the benefits of our efforts. If a patient decides to use both FDA approved medications to fight their hair loss they should not start both at the same time. While some doctors do believe that Propecia and Rogaine have a synergistic effect it is best to isolate which medication is working, separate from the other, so you have more control over your regimen and can better assess the outcome should you need to cease one or both medications.
One should also never begin any medical treatment at the same time as surgical treatment. When one is using medical treatment for their hair loss any surgical plan will usually account for this and many times the doctor will make a more aggressive surgical plan due to medical treatments being used as it is assumed that the treatment will be effective thereby making a more aggressive plan more viable. The idea is that if medical treatment is halting existing hair loss then more hair can be used for the target problem area(s). This means that less hair will be available for potential future need as such need is deemed to be a reduced risk. However, if one begins medical treatment at the same time as surgical treatment and the patient has adverse side effects to the medication after they have had surgery then the expected long term surgical benefits can be at risk. The patient will resume losing their hair at the previous rate since they can no longer take medication and the need for additional surgeries is assured. With the assumed reduced donor supply due to the aggressive surgical approach taken the patient is at risk of having insufficient donor hair for future needs. If you are not willing to try one or both FDA approved medications before having hair transplant surgery then you are a bad hair transplant candidate.