How Successful Are Hair Transplants?
The following is a transcript of Episode 16 of the Hair Restoration With Dr. Daniel A. Danyo podcast.
Dr. Danyo: In medicine, there’s something called the rule of thirds when it comes to procedures, especially when…I come from a pain management background doing epidural injections and nerve blocks and things like that, and the rule of thirds is basically a third of patients do really well, a third of people do so-so, and a third, it doesn’t work. Well, with hair transplant, that rule of thirds doesn’t exist if it’s done properly. Again, my feeling is that it’s approaching almost 100% of people are very happy with the results.
Clark: That was the voice of Daniel A. Danyo, MD, founder, and physician at North Atlanta Hair Restoration, a boutique medical practice solely dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of male and female hair loss. And you’re listening to “Hair Restoration with Dr. Daniel A. Danyo.” I’m your host, Clark, and all season long, we’re speaking with Dr. Danyo about how he and his team at North Atlanta Hair Restoration are helping his patients transform their everyday lives for the better. In this episode, Dr. Danyo explains why hair transplants have some of the best outcome rates of any area of medicine. He also shares examples of some unexpected ways that hair restoration can transform a person’s life beyond just physical appearance. There’s so much to talk about, so let’s dive right in. Dr. Danyo, welcome back. How are you?
Dr. Danyo: I’m doing great. How are you?
Clark: I’m doing well. I think this topic we’ve got mapped out today, we’re going to jump right in. I think this may be one of the most common things that you’re getting asked, and it’s simply the why. Why are hair transplants worth it? And there’s a lot of things I’d love to talk with you about today, questions you’re getting often, themes that you’ve seen over your many years doing this work, all sorts of good stuff. So when you first think of the why are hair transplants worth it, what comes to your mind? Let’s dive straight into this.
Dr. Danyo: Because they are. Now we can…
Clark: Yes. Done.
Dr. Danyo: You know, hair loss is devastating to both men and women, and it can just kind of sabotage somebody’s self-esteem, increase depression, isolation. It really has a very negative or can have a very negative impact on somebody’s well-being and sense of self. So, I do a lot of consults, especially with the COVID pandemic, I’ve been doing a lot online and, you know, I just get this sense that people find that the hair loss is hopeless, and then when I kind of review their pictures and we talk and they say, “I am so excited right now.” So that’s the key. That’s why hair transplant is worth it because you’re excited about life again. You’re excited about restoring your youth, your confidence, and it really kind of funnels into a lot of things. It’s not a cliche. I mean, I see it patient after patient, especially at like 12 months. I mean, it’s like high fives and hugs when they come back.
Clark: Right. When you say a year later, is that because…? I know you check in on them right afterwards and monitor, but do you get to see them…is there a set time when they come back and visit you? I didn’t know about this.
Dr. Danyo: I generally will do six months because, you know, between, you know, the procedure and even up to four months, I mean, there may be no growth at all because the hair cycles out of the follicle and it gets shed, the follicle that goes dormant. So there may be no activity for the first four months. So, unless there’s something going on like an ingrown hair or pain or whatever, which is pretty rare, but if there’s no reason for me to see them, I really don’t want them to come in before there’s actual hair growth, which generally by six months with our technique, how we do things, I usually see like 75% growth and people are, like, super happy. And when I tell them, I mean, “You can expect like 25%, maybe even 40% more growth,” they’re like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Clark: They don’t believe it.
Dr. Danyo: They don’t believe it. And then at one year, and we have these pictures that we can show like before, and then six months, and then one year, you know, it’s just is a very happy experience. It’s very rare that I have somebody that is unhappy, and usually, that’s more on the expectation side. I have some patients that, you know, cost is an issue, or maybe the graft count wasn’t exact, or they wanted to do a lesser amount. And I tell people with hair transplant, it’s kind of like painting a house. The more grafts you have, the more rooms you can paint. But again, when people come back from hair transplant, and I would say it approaches 98%, 99%, people are extremely happy and happy to either share their pictures or come in.
Clark: That’s great.
Dr. Danyo: It’s always a great experience.
Clark: I know you get so much joy when you’re able to see that manifest in them and their life and that confidence, and then, you know, shedding that self-doubt. That kind of stuff, self-doubt, and self-image, that weighs on somebody.
Dr. Danyo: Yeah. You know, in medicine, there’s something called the rule of thirds when it comes to procedures, especially when…I come from a pain management background doing epidural injections and nerve blocks and things like that, and the rule of thirds is basically a third of patients do really well, a third of people do so-so, and a third, it doesn’t work. Well, with hair transplant, that rule of thirds doesn’t exist if it’s done properly. Again, my feeling is that it’s approaching almost 100% of people are very happy with the results. And again, if they’re not, it’s more either on the expectation side or they just need more grafts, you know. We just need to paint more rooms of the house, we just didn’t use enough paint.
Clark: Right. Wow. The thirds, I’ve never heard that before, you know, on the show or from you. It makes a lot of sense, and that’s awesome.
Dr. Danyo: Yeah.
Clark: I mean, I feel like you can tell this to somebody who is wanting to make a change and that’s going to feel really good.
Dr. Danyo: Yeah. I mean, that was one of the most frustrating things being in private practice doing what I did is, you know, I’m invested in these patients, I want the best, and I want results. And unfortunately, especially in pain management, there’s so many different variables and diagnoses and, you know, age came into it and injury level and all that, nerve damage, and some people just didn’t get better, but moving my entire practice to hair restoration, the outcomes are crazy. And I don’t think there’s any outcome level in medicine that’s similar to hair restoration.
Clark: Wow. We have never talked about it like this. That makes so much sense. And when you get those kinds of numbers, that kind of percentage rate going in 98%, 99%, 100%, how else have you seen this manifest in someone’s life? When they come back and visit your team, you know, a year later, how are you seeing this…
Dr. Danyo: Play out?
Clark: …you know, just doing hair transplant, like it’s not just that of what you’re doing?
Dr. Danyo: No, I mean, I’ve seen people come back and they look entirely different. I’m talking about losing 25, 30 pounds. They’re working out. They have kind of a sparkle in their eye. Again, a lot of my patients have been through trauma, say a bad divorce or had the death of a spouse, or just have had, you know, major changes in their life, and then you have this very positive thing that happens to them and then it just spills over into a lot. And, you know, when we’re doing the case, I listen to a lot of books when I’m doing cases. You know, some patients just want to relax and not talk, so during that time, I can do the procedure and actually learn stuff. So I have delved into all different aspects of medicine, whether it’s acupuncture, Eastern medicine, realms of yoga and meditation, different breathing techniques, cold exposure, obviously working out, you know, I’m training for a Half Ironman right now.
So, if patients are receptive, I’m more than happy to share what I learn, and really a lot of my knowledge, especially kind of going outside and being able to actually listen to a lot of material, whether the podcasts or books frequently, that’s not like reading a medical journal or reading a medical textbook or something like that. I mean, this stuff is not learned in medical school, but it’s so pertinent to life. And I can kind of read people and kind of see where they are and what their needs are and just say, “You know, let me write down a couple books or audiobooks you can listen to or read. Here’s some websites to kind of venture into and you should maybe think about incorporating this into your lifestyle.” And many of the patients do, and when they come back with the hair and they’re happy about the things that we’ve talked about and how they’ve changed their life, I mean, it’s just awesome.
Clark: That’s so encouraging. And, you know, there’s this theme I feel like lately with talking with you that, you know, you change something on the exterior but that can make things on the interior of someone’s spirit and their soul, you know, that makes a change, so it really makes sense.
Dr. Danyo: Yeah. And really, I just like to kind of stimulate people because I think, I mean, a lot of the patients are really kind of devastated. Again, we talked about the divorces and deaths and different life issues, and when you talk about simple concepts like, you know, the physicality part is one part but there’s kind of a spiritual part, there’s an emotional part, and there’s an intellectual part, and you’ve got to nurture all four of those things to really feel that peace and start really building your life and gaining wisdom to make change. And, you know, I’m just happy that kind of hair transplant is part of that, but maybe just kind of putting some seeds out there, but it’s up to the patients to really act and do these things and maybe venture out of their comfort zone and learn some new things. You know, I can’t say it’s 100%. You know, it may be as low as 25% or even 10%, I don’t know. But I think it’s a fair number of patients that come back and they thank me on multiple levels, you know, in addition to what we did hair restoration-wise.
Clark: When someone makes an investment like this for themselves, I’m sure you get questions. You know, how do I know this is the right investment for me? And they’re looking for some sort of ROI, and there’s maybe even a question of how long will this last? What is your response to something like that?
Dr. Danyo: Well, the return on investment I think is great as we talked about with all the things that kind of funnel out. The longevity of the hair restoration should be close to lifetime. Now, you know, obviously, we’re moving hair. One key concept that I talk about with patients because, you know, most people don’t realize this but the sides and back of the head are genetically different than the top of the head where most people are having the hair loss. And so, when we move the hair from the side and back of the head, which is called the donor site, those hairs are genetically different and they maintain their genetic qualities and they’re not susceptible to degeneration, you know, as the other hairs were suffering from and maybe met their demise. But it’s not a regional thing. So it’s not like that region of the scalp is bad and it’s going to kill any hair you put in there.
It’s really that particular hair and what genes are being expressed. So, you know, there are different genes, expressions on different hairs on your body. I mean, the arm hair is different than…beard hair is different than eyelashes or eyebrows. So the side and back of the head just happens to be genetically different, and that’s why you see people that are totally bald up top but are really thick, you know, and have that kind of saddle on the sides and back of the head is because those hairs are different. So the longevity is similar to whether it was on the top of the head after being moved or whether it’s left on the side and back of the head. It’s still susceptible to aging where it can thin out. A lot of people in their 70s and 80s, you know, their whole head thins out, but for all intents and purposes, we’re making a permanent move with hair transplant.
Clark: Though in your 70s or 80s your hair genetically it’s going to thin.
Dr. Danyo: Exactly. I mean, you know, all tissues are going to age and, you know, those hairs are not unique. They’re going to age as well.
Clark: Excellent. This is really insightful. There’s one more thing I want to talk about. So, we’ve gone through the success and the happiness that so many of your patients are experiencing, and we’ve also talked about how this is permanent. This is permanent, you know, from the investment. So let’s talk maybe about what that investment costs, generally speaking, like high level. You know, there’s a cost. How do you approach that? How do you compare that to other self-improvement anti-aging bits in the industry? Let’s just talk about that next. Cost.
Dr. Danyo: Sure. Well, the average cost nationwide for hair transplant is about $6 a graft, and that’s typically a shaved procedure where, you know, your head is shaved and the grafts are placed. We offer a no-shave procedure. I mean, our costs are $5.50 a graft for shaved and $6.50 a graft for shave less or no-shave. And we feel like we’re doing well. And especially since, you know, I’m one of the only physicians in the country that actually does the entire procedure, all the extractions, placement, so anything that sticks the patient is me. I have great technicians that help me pull grafts and then load in planter pens, but I do all the heavy lifting. So I feel like our price point is correct. And, you know, our price is per graft, but on larger cases, let’s say over 2,000, we do have a graduated system to make it more affordable.
But back to return on investment, if you look at other cosmetic procedures, let’s say like breast augmentation, typically, you have a surgery center fee or a hospital fee. You may spend a night in the hospital. I mean, all these ancillary things, anesthesia costs, you know, it starts making the actual procedure expand cost-wise, but, you know, people are willing to pay those costs. What we do is just per graft. You know, you throw in these ancillary charges, you know, the anesthesia, the hospital stay, post-recovery stuff. For us, we’re doing per graft. We have no other charges. And we’re right kind of smack dab in the middle. We’re $0.50 above on a shaveless and $0.50 below on a shave case. So, you know, we talked about the benefit of hair restoration compared to other procedures and it has such a high success rate if done properly with such a high impact on self-esteem and just overall well-being. I think it blows away a lot of other cosmetic procedures when you throw in price, results, and compare all that to the other procedures. I think hair restoration is number one.
Clark: That’s a really good insight. It’s a really good way to look at that and it’s connected to so many other things. Very insightful. I appreciate you breaking that down, and I know there’s a lot of questions you get about this. And someone could always, you know, they might have some other thoughts or ideas or just, you know, thoughts about maybe trying to do this. So what’s a good way for them to connect with you on that?
Dr. Danyo: The best way is to go to our website at nahairrestoration.com, NA stands for North Atlanta, or give us a call at 678-845-7521. And what we do is we’ve really kind of streamlined our availability and ease with coming up with these online consults, you know, especially with the COVID pandemic. We’re doing a lot online, but our patients love it. So what we do is if you go online and you click in as a new patient, you will then enter in some data. You can put in some pictures, and then you’re entered into our HIPAA-compliant texting app and then we can do either video chat. I generally just do a phone call and look at the pictures, and I do all the consults, and then we just go from there. It comes down to a pricing thing. When people come in because a lot of the patients come from out of town, and I’ll be honest, I don’t see them until the morning of the procedure. And the fact of the matter is we’re going to do hair transplant, and let’s say we chose to do 1,500 grafts, when I see them, I mean, that graft count might go down or it might go up.
In fact, today, I had a patient come in. He wanted 1,000 grafts and he just wanted to build up his hairline which was extremely low. And I said, “You know, I think you only need 600. We’re not doing 1,000 today.” So I’m very honest with my graft counts. But then on the flip side, when I do the consultation, so say maybe 250, maybe 500 grafts, more if you’re okay with that, when you come in and I do the assessment at the time of the procedure, if I said 1,500, and I say, “You know what? It might be better to do 1,750, would you be fine with that?” And most people say, “That’s fine,” and then we just make that determination on that day. So, you know, we’ve just made it very easy, and with our communication, with all the pre-op videos and information beforehand, it’s just everyone’s questions have been answered and they come in ready to go.
Clark: I love it. They come in ready to go. It goes smoothly, and they come back happy, and I’ll continue to hear more and more stories about that. So thanks so much for sharing some more insights, and I always love getting the chance to hang out and hear about your passions and talk all things hair restoration.
Dr. Danyo: Well, thank you, Clark. I appreciate you.
Clark: Thanks for listening to “Hair Restoration with Dr. Daniel A. Danyo.” Book your consultation today with Dr. Danyo by simply calling 678-845-7521, or visit them online at nahairrestoration.com. And be sure to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
Dr. Daniel A. Danyo is the founder and medical director of North Atlanta Hair Restoration, specializing in treating hair loss in both men and women. He is one of only 300 people in the world certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery.
He is a member of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons, American Hair Loss Association, and The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.
He is also an early adopter and pioneer of Shave-less FUE, one of the most discreet surgical procedures available for hair restoration. Dr. Danyo performs every procedure himself, from start to finish. He individually extracts and places every graft on every patient. Learn more about Dr. Danyo on his Meet Dr. Danyo page.