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Last modified on Tuesday, 28 April 2020 19:31

Everyone has seen the amazing transformations, from a nearly bald head to one with thick and natural hair. Unfortunately, we’ve all also seen more sobering ‘after’ photos depicting men who have received grizzly-looking results following poorly-performed procedures using crude techniques. Either way, it is hard to deny that we are fascinated by hair transplant before and after photos.

Misleading Before and After Photos

When the results look good, hair transplant before and after photos can be very exciting for those suffering from hair loss. These before and after results can motivate individuals to seek hair transplant surgery for themselves, or select a particular hair restoration surgeon based on their depicted results. However, it is important to understand that what you see is not always what you get when it comes to before and after pictures. Unfortunately, some physicians or clinics will intentionally take misleading photos (using lighting or angle tricks), or even Photoshop images, to make them appear a certain way.

To determine the authenticity of hair plugs before and after pictures, there are a number of things you can look out for. First of all, what size are the before and after images? It is very difficult to determine the quality of an ‘after result’ if the photo is too small to see clearly. Similarly, watch out for overly blurry photos, which can distort the true results and may be an indication that photo editing was used. Another thing to pay attention to is the lighting and whether there is consistency between the before and after photos. Bright and natural lighting is harsher and will show signs of thinning/balding more clearly. You should be particularly sceptical if the follow-up photos appear to be darker/duller than the before ones. Wet hair will always look less dense than dry hair; therefore, watch out for clinics that compare wet before photos with dry after results. Finally, pay close attention to the angle at which photos were taken and make sure there is consistency between the before and after photos.

Recognizing Top Quality Hair Transplant Before and After Results

The most telling hair transplant before and after photos will be large enough to see clearly, and taken from close-up. Pay special attention to hairline detail (and crown work, if applicable). The talent of particular physicians (and conversely the lack of skill among others) will be best-displayed in these areas. Hairlines should be created using mostly single-hair grafts that are placed in a somewhat random pattern (as they would appear naturally). There should be a soft transition into the denser region beyond the hairline and the hairline should look age-appropriate for the particular patient. Avoid physicians who produce overly aggressive (low), pluggy-looking or unnaturally symmetric hairlines.

Hair transplant before and after photos should be taken in nearly identical conditions (same lighting, same backdrop, same camera, same angle, etc.) Hair styling should be as comparable as possible in the before and after shots (whether hair is wet, dry, gelled, brushed forward/back).

Before and After Video Results

An even better means of viewing before and after results is via videos becuase it nearly impossible to disguise poor results, allows you to see results from more angles and gives you a better idea of how a transplant looks in person. You can find hair transplant before and after videos in our Hair Transplant video channel

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have you seen grafts from an earlier transplant fall out after a second transplant, what to do?
have you seen recipient area show pock marks or small black holes where recipient sites created in post op weeks?
have you seen stunted growth in the donor area, hair in that area just stays as stuble for several wekes or more? thx

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It is very uncommon for grafts from previous transplant to fall out following a subsequent transplant. Grafts from a previous transplant can thin over time as part of the normal aging process, but rarely will a hair transplant cause prior grafts to fall out. This shock loss of prior grafts is temporary and theirs will resume growth. When small black holes form in graft sites following surgery, it is usually because the grafts were placed too low. This is called pitting and implies very poor surgical supervision and poor surgical technique. There is a physician in Canada, who gets this frequently due to the poor surgical technique his nurse uses to extract the grafts. In this instance, the doctor cannot extract the grafts. Avoid any clinic where the physician do not extract the grafts by himself.

John P. Cole, MD
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