Before & After results. Is that all that really matters? Yes and no. In reality, the truth is much more revealing about why and how hair restoration clinics advertise their results. It is obvious that hair restoration clinics need to advertise their abilities by showing results as that is the basis for any business based on some sort of aesthetic as their "product". How will you know what a clinic can do if they don't show you? But the fact is that the presentation itself is not what you can expect for yourself. Oftentimes you'll see reference to clinics "cherry picking" their results and this is very true. Some clinics have more quality results to share than others so while "cherry picking" is indeed happening some clinics have a larger field of cherry trees than others (more cherries to choose from). There is nothing wrong with this however as you can't expect clinics to advertise their failures.
Over the years I've found it kind of funny to see how clinics advertise but more rather the rules that they are governed by. In some countries a clinic cannot advertise their results at all. Nada! Zilch! They have to rely on testimonials by patients. Some countries like this are Germany, Brazil and Japan. In Germany for sure (not sure about the others) these rules extend to the online world where the only people that can post on forums are patients. Canada is not nearly so tough on advertising but each province has their own interpretation of what can be said in advertising. Clinics in Canada walk a very fine line with regards to what they can and cannot say or share online. It doesn't matter if the clinic is showing FUE, Megasessions, hairline results or just answering questions, it is still a fine line and if they cross that line it is a simple matter to get the authorities involved. In the US there are almost no regulations or rules on this matter. The only line that cannot be crossed is blatant lying about the fact that this is surgery. No one can say it is not surgery or make reference to it being as simple as a day at the spa. It happens, but when it does it's just a matter of time till someone reports it. This usually falls under the jurisdiction of the FTC and not the American Medical Association. Odd, isn't it?
When clinics post their results they will tend to only show the angles that are the most flattering. Here is an example. A NW6 patient comes in and he has anywhere from 2000 to 4000 grafts to the frontal zone (depending on the clinic). Performed properly the result should make for an obvious cosmetic improvement, for the front. But what about the back? This is where you will see most clinics avoid showing you the whole picture (pardon the pun). You'll see straight on face photos, slightly tilted down photos and some shots of the left and right angle at about 45 degrees but you will NOT see a ninety degree angle of the left and right and certainly not a shot of the crown. Why? Because it will bring comments that the result is incomplete or the patient is "still bald". This does not mean the comments are justified or unjustified. In most cases a NW5 getting a fair number of grafts will lead to a quantifiable improvement in the overall aesthetic but there are always going to be those two or three posters that will make a negative comment about the crown so clinics would rather avoid these comments by not posting these areas at all rather than letting the result stand on it's own. The more researched posters will get it but it is the fear of the uninformed posters that keeps clinics from showing "the Full Monty" as it were.
I think that if clinics would adopt an "all angle" policy for all patients they post then we can help to reduce the number of patients that have unrealistic expectations because if clinics do not show the whole picture how can a future patient understand what they are supposed to get? We have to stop selling the fairy tale and start delivering reality.