Rocking The Hair Transplant Boat

Since I've announced that I am no longer working with any single clinic and have shared the update of this website I have received a lot of great support from hair transplant patients and I've had some very nice support on the hair transplant forums with even more support via emails behind the scenes. I've also had hair transplant doctors contact me to congratulate me, some have contacted me via Skype to introduce themselves and to pick my brain, but a few have contacted me to say that my Hair Transplant Toolkit is "dangerous" in that it has the potential to make hair transplant patients unnecessarily confident about issues they know little about. There is such a thing, in the minds of many doctors, as an "over educated patient". This is the patient that the doctor feels asks too many questions based on their personal research. My answer to these criticisms is, "tough!". If you can't handle the tough questions then you should not be performing surgery. Period.

Rocking the Hair Transplant Boat
This kind of sums of what "rocking the boat" means in the hair transplant industry. Click the image to see what I mean:)

There is one element online however that has said I should use my new position of independence to "rock the boat" of the hair transplant industry. I'm not sure exactly what this means but I can only assume that rocking the boat means to reveal secrets of the various hair transplant clinics that I've learned about. That would mean most of the more well known clinics would be exposed because I have a lot of experience dealing with a lot of clinics and the patients they work on. The problem here is that it is very difficult to be a public figure, with full name and visual identity pasted in hundreds of photos online and start dishing the dirt on dozens of clinics but it is extremely easy to sit behind an online veil of desktop anonymity completely hidden from the real world and say to me that I should rock the boat. When you're anonymous, you have little consequence with your actions. As a public figure, I have responsibilities I also have to keep a level of professionalism that will, for lack of a better phrase, keep me safe. Don't misunderstand, I'm not afraid of confrontation as I happen to thrive in this environment but I think that if one were smart they'd realize that the best way to create change in an organization is to work from within an organization and not try to work from the outside by becoming a recognized industry antagonist.

I'm going to lay out a bit of what I have planned for the future. There are a lot of clinics around the world that perform hair transplantation and the number is growing much faster than ever before. This is because of FUE and the extremely low cost of entry into the field. One can simply purchase a cheap Chinese knockoff of the SAFEscribe motorized punch by Dr. Harris for 200 bucks, rent an office space with two rooms, hire a technician and you're making money. This is one of the things that I think is important to address and dishing the dirt on some of the better known clinics is a drop in the bucket of the problems this industry is causing. I predicted this would happen and my prediction is coming true. More clinics are opening and more patients will be harmed. You see this happening in Turkey right now where it is becoming a surgical tourism destination. I hope to find ways to educate about this problem and I have ideas about how it might be accomplished.


Can The Hair Transplant Industry Change?


An example was given of someone that has rocked the boat for many years and it happens to be someone that I already mentioned as being a living, breathing middle finger to the industry. That would be Dr. Ray Woods. The problem with this comparison is that Dr. Woods has not "rocked the boat". He tried to rock the boat but failed miserably. Why? Because instead of trying to work within the system and trying to positively influence change he instead took the route of the antagonist and tried to gain notoriety by calling everyone else in the industry (at the time) butchers because they were all performing FUSS while he was the only doctor on the planet with the procedure that allowed him to do the least bit of harm to the patient. I'm talking of course about FUE. This may not have been the case early on in his career as he may have tried to work from within the industry but if this is the case I'd love to hear the facts from Dr. Woods himself. He has my email address. Regardless, my point is, you don't make change by dishing the dirt on the industry because it won't change a damned thing. It may cause a ruckus online for about 17 seconds but in the grande scheme of things, it gets buried and people forget. That is why Dr. Woods is, unfortunately, almost forgotten in the history of surgical hair restoration.

I think it's easy to say that things should happen or people should take a stand about perceived injustices, and I agree that it would be nice to see these things happen to the point that they make a difference. But just because I know a lot of things doesn't mean I should just throw it all out there. I have to be smart about how I use what I know because I live in the real world and I don't have the luxury of beating my chest with my keyboard without consequences. I want to make change and I want to influence how the industry works because I've seen first hand just how sick and cowardly some in the industry are. It will take a long time and it might not make a big dent in the overall system but if I start using what I know to "rock the boat" the boat will simply throw me overboard without a life jacket, pull up anchor and sail to the next port leaving me behind.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Thincity

    Hi Joe,
    I really enjoyed our chat last week. I have already read your entire website and always look forward to new information. As I told you during our conversation, there are now two robotic transplant machines very close to my home. One facility is a Skin and Vein center, with zero history of performing hair transplants. I could be proven wrong, but I see some bad results coming soon.
    As I told you, I am an avid reader of WWII history. General George S Patton, rocked the boat, and often. He of course, was proven correct in his predictions of the intentions of the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. I wonder if he had tried to use diplomacy and his place as a hero to the American public, to enter politics and try to make some changes.
    Patton angered a great many powerful people with his public statements and he was killed/died in a very suspicious vehicle crash in Germany at the end of 1945.
    My point is I agree with you, of course its satisfying to hammer someone with your opinions and information, but sometimes to get long term positive change you can’t be the “bull in a china shop!”

  2. Jotronic


    Thank you for your comment. I like your reference to Patton as I too am a fan of the period and my father was a paratrooper serving in both the 82nd Airborne as well as the 101st during WWII. The thing is, I could do more than rock the boat. I could sink a few clinics if I wanted to and it wouldn’t take much effort. However, I don’t believe this is necessary and I think that sometimes clinics deserve the benefit of a doubt. Mistakes can be made, screw ups happen but it is how a clinic deals with these issues that I feel can define the overall quality of a clinic. The way I look at it you have to have the following qualities in place to be worth considering for surgery.

    1. Obvious, a good track record with multiple examples of natural work.
    2. Excellent support “before the sale” as it is imperative to be able to not only answer questions but to explain the answers when necessary.
    3. Excellent procedural skills to deliver a quality result.
    4. Excellent post-operative follow up care, be it in the form of emails once a month to ask the patient how they are doing and if they have questions to actual phone calls by the staff and even the doctor from time to time.
    5. Last but not least, the ability to understand that when patients are not happy it goes beyond arguing or nitpicking about what grew, what didn’t grow, what doesn’t look natural and whether or not the patient should be happy. Patients have invested not only a considerable sum of money but also a considerable sum of emotions and hopes so arguing, even delaying the issue, does nothing to make the patient happy so having a solid “contingency” program in place is imperative and I think that this should include a no hassle, no questions asked refund policy.

    I cannot make this happen by calling out clinics for the trouble they have caused patients or the mistakes they have made. Just today there was a patient talking about how his FUE case did not grow. Instead of blasting the doctor online, which I felt like doing, I contacted him privately and suggested he simply refund the patient’s money and admit that there was a misjudgement. I think patients can appreciate this more than when clinics try to make excuses and in the long run and can lead to more business as that clinic can be looked upon as being honorable enough to do the right thing if the result doesn’t turn out so great.

    Sorry for the rant but this is a big deal for me and this is how I hope to make change in the industry. By coaching and suggesting to doctors how they should behave online and to do so in an honorable and fair manner. Too many clinics are not very skilled in this matter and if I can help them with this then everyone wins in the long run. Clinics can be more open and patients will appreciate and gravitate toward this type of clinical energy. Gone forever are the days when a clinic can claim a 100% satisfaction rate. Patients are wising up in the regard and clinics need to adapt to survive the more educated consumer.

  3. topcat

    Joe being a long time repair patient I have probably been known for rocking the boat somewhat. Is it the best approach………. probably not as it’s effect is probably minimal. The industry is too large and one just becomes a very small voice that is easily lost in it all.

    Of course it can be considered normal for repair patients to become angry at what they see is just a continuation of the same old way of doing business that lured them into a procedure which has affected their entire life both good and bad but all too often just bad.

    Yes I agree kill them with kindness and compete by just being better. There are good people in the industry with exceptional skill, natural born talent and a heart that is very caring……………they become hard for most to find so hopefully you can help others find their way along the road and not take a wrong turn.


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