Situation of hair transplant clinics and doctors in Switzerland: Beware of surgery by non-doctors!
More and more men, but also women, suffer from hereditary hair loss (genetic alopecia) and are looking for a solution to bald patches and thinning hair.
Medication can slow down hair loss or, in the best case, even stop it, but new hair growth in already bald areas can ultimately only be achieved through a hair transplant.
With the increasing demand for hair transplantation, new providers are entering the market. However, anyone who has ever seen the result of a hair operation gone wrong knows how important it is to put oneself in good hands when it comes to “hair”!
But: The profession of “hair surgeon” is not taught at any university, where does a newcomer get the necessary knowledge? Hair transplantation is a difficult matter and a good hair surgeon does not just fall from the sky!
However, you can find out here what the market in Switzerland is like, what you should look out for (with a questionnaire), how to find the best clinic (the best doctor), which clinics and doctors Andreas Krämer cooperates with, as well as some experience reports and before-and-after pictures!
In the past, hair surgery was frowned upon, but this has changed over time, especially due to the outings of stars and celebrities who were publicly reported to have undergone hair surgery. This is another reason why it has become almost “normal” for women and men to have their hair transplanted, and some of them no longer have a problem admitting it in public.
Hair transplantation as a lucrative market of hair loss sufferers with special suffering pressure
With the increasing need for hair surgery for women and men, the number of providers is also increasing considerably. The prospect of making good money from hair loss is tempting.
After all, hair loss is an aesthetic problem for the women and men affected, which actually puts a lot of psychological strain on many hair loss sufferers. One loses something one has always had and something that has always been present, one’s hair. A hairstyle like in the past, when one still had full and thick hair, is no longer possible, one is suddenly bothered by the fact that the “top” no longer looks as good as before and that even with a skilful hairstyle and skilful combing, one can no longer achieve what it used to be.
Not only for modern men, but also for women, beautiful, strong and full hair is an important point and contributes to an attractive appearance and above all: a beautiful and full head of hair stands for femininity. For men, on the other hand, there are of course types like the actor Bruce Willis who looks good with little hair and baldness, but such types are rare.
Whether man or woman, in the end the pressure to suffer is often great and most would like to do something quickly – often sooner rather than later – and the costs are often only secondary.
An ever-growing market, increasing numbers of hair loss sufferers, the pressure of suffering of the hair loss patients with the will to do something about the bald patches at all costs and the fact that transplantation is expensive or, conversely, brings in a lot of money as a provider, makes it understandably attractive for many clinics to also offer hair surgery if possible.
The best hair transplant clinic in Switzerland? Become a leading expert from one day to the next? Where do new providers/newcomers get their knowledge from? The subject of “hair surgery” is not taught at any university and even a specialist title is far from being proof of sufficient know-how, experience and the best quality.
A look at Google quickly makes it clear that many a person who googled hair transplantation a few years ago and does so again today will rub their eyes in pain. In the meantime, you will find MANY providers with aggressive marketing, all of which, at least that’s how the modern websites read, make a thoroughly good impression and everyone likes to call themselves the best clinic or the best doctor. New clinics are springing up like mushrooms.
The legitimate question that everyone interested in a transplant should ask themselves, however, is what the know-how and experience of the new providers/newcomers is like and whether consistently good results can be achieved at all.
What many people interested in hair transplantation cannot imagine, however, is a fact: In contrast to other topics, hair surgery is not taught at any university, neither in further training to become a plastic surgeon, nor in further training on other topics. At most, basic knowledge about it is dealt with in the subject of dermatology.
Dr. med Frank Neidel from Germany also mentions in www.der-niedergelassene-arzt.de that a specialist title is by no means a carte blanche or even a licence for hair transplants or other aesthetic procedures.1 Since there is still no specialist title for hair surgery, a specialist title is therefore by no means proof of sufficient know-how and the best quality.
Beware of the “shop window exhibition trick”: the actual operation is not performed by the stated doctor, but by non-medical staff!
Some providers like to use the “shop window exhibition trick”, see also the Saldo.ch report Hair transplantation in Switzerland, a doctor does not always operate.
This means that although a doctor officially decorates the shop window for reasons of respectability, he or she does not actually perform the operation, but rather non-medical staff. However, the patients themselves often do not notice this and may even think that it is a doctor.
Important: A hair transplant is very different from other cosmetic surgery procedures: A botched treatment cannot simply be “exchanged”
Anyone who decides to have their own hair transplanted should always bear in mind that this is a medical procedure which, if not carried out professionally and by experienced doctors/clinics/providers, involves considerable risks and serious negative consequences and a botched treatment cannot simply be “exchanged”!
For example, while it is common for breast augmentations to simply replace defective grafts, this is simply not possible for hair transplants. In contrast to breast augmentation, no foreign transplants are used, but own transplants from the patient’s own body, the hair roots/hair follicles from the patient’s own hair crown.
Hair redistribution with your own hair: Good and sufficient donor hair is the most important asset of every transplantation
Good and sufficient donor hair, the own residual hair in the donor area at the back of the head is the most precious asset of any hair transplant. In an own hair transplant, hair is redistributed and “helped” precisely in this hair ring. The number of donor hairs is therefore limited to precisely this number of available hairs in the hair ring, the so-called donor area. Unprofessionally working doctors who exploit and decimate the hair ring or basically only achieve a low growth rate, which is based on a lack of professional and technical knowledge or unsuitable equipment, can ruin the “supply” of donor grafts. As a logical consequence, in the worst case there are no more grafts available for further treatment later, which is very often necessary or desired.
As pointed out in the chapter Risks of Hair Surgery, a poorly performed surgery can lead to poor growth rate in the recipient area, for example, unnatural appearance due to toilet brush look, thick grafts, wrong growth direction, obvious scars, damaged scalp and in the donor area to massive moth-eaten and football field look, with hardly any possibilities left to improve unattractive appearance.
If hair surgery is not taught at any university, how can a doctor learn hair transplantation?
For this very reason, several international associations with a focus on hair surgery have emerged over the years, such as ISHRS, ESHRS, FUE-Europe, the Worldfueinstitute, or the Swiss SSHRS Association. These associations offer congresses where established and experienced hair surgeons share their knowledge in lectures. Training courses are offered for already experienced hair surgeons, but there are also private institutions that specialise in training courses on the subject of own hair transplantation.
Doctors who would like to learn hair surgery have the opportunity to participate in congresses, to exchange ideas with colleagues, to attend live workshops and also to try to find hair surgeons who can be visited for a few days and whom one can look over one’s shoulder during operations.
But that alone is sometimes difficult, because which renowned and experienced hair surgeon likes to be looked over his shoulder. After all, it took years of hard work to achieve these top results on a regular basis, and you may not want to reveal knowledge that you have worked hard to acquire over the years.
Best clinic and best doctor in record time? A renowned hair surgeon with consistently good results does not fall from the sky: Besides know-how, a lot of experience is necessary!
As important as the necessary training is, of course, as in any other profession, only with the necessary experience does a hair surgeon become really good!
One should be aware: Our hair is as different as we are as people.
People with thin hair, thick hair, straight hair, wavy hair, curly hair. Different hair colours, blond, brunette, brown, red, black, different scalp-hair-skin contrasts, e.g. dark hair on light scalp, or light hair on light scalp, cases with long hair follicles under the skin, short hair follicles, in some the follicles sit rather softly in the scalp, in others firmly, we have different growth angles, individual hair densities per qcm.
In some, the groups of follicular units are larger, in others smaller, and depending on the follicular unit density per qcm and the size of the follicular unit, for example, a different punch size is recommended for removal and then also a different size of instrument for forming the receiving openings. There are TONS of things that need to be considered. An experienced transplant surgeon will adapt and deal with all new circumstances.
But when you consider all these individual things, it becomes clear how much practice and experience is required to achieve consistently good results!
Critical questionnaire as a decision-making aid: Especially with new providers, ask as precisely as possible how and by whom you are being operated!
Our face is our calling card in the world, it makes us individual and unmistakable. Anyone who “messes around” with it quickly destroys our whole life.
Now it becomes clear why it is so important to place oneself exclusively in competent and experienced hands when it comes to own hair transplantation, which are internationally renowned and not in backyard companies that only want to earn a little money with the trend “own hair transplantation” – and that at the expense of those affected, who then have to walk around with the result for the rest of their lives.
In any case, you should always ask who operates and how exactly, and it is advisable to go through the following list of questions before the operation to help you decide on a provider:
- Which doctor performs the operation (as the consumer magazine Saldo reports, not every operation is performed by a doctor)? Does he specialise in hair surgery or does he also perform other types of cosmetic surgery? Be especially careful with clinic groups! Sometimes the treating doctor is not named, but only groups of doctors (a team). Often there are also regular changes with new doctors.
- Experience of the treating doctor: How long has the doctor been performing hair surgery?
- Who exactly does what during the operation? Who removes the grafts, who forms the recipient incisions, who inserts the grafts? What is the distribution of tasks between doctor and assistants/nurses?
- What instruments are used, for harvesting (are the grafts harvested manually or with a micromotor and if so, from which brand) and for forming the recipient sites?
- How many good cases/results (before/after) can the doctor show? The following should be taken into account: Quality of the pictures, close-up of hairlines, can the individual hairs really be recognised? Correct growth direction, natural shape of the hairline
Andreas Krämer’s cooperation doctors in Switzerland
Dr. Lars Heitmann in Zurich
Dr. Lars Heitmann from Zurich, Switzerland has specialised in intermittent FUE (I-FUE) for many years and he performs the treatment without any assistance. Neither the removal (manually by Dr. Heitmann), the formation of the recipient openings nor the insertion of the transplants is delegated to assistants. All surgical steps are carried out by Dr. Heitmann personally, which, however, limits him to approx. 1,100 grafts per day and over 3 treatment days to 3,300 grafts. He is well-known through various media appearances on Sat 1, SWR, or SRF. Dr. Heitmann is also considered a Dense Packing specialist. Dr. Heitmann is known through television appearances on Sat 1 or, for example, on public television SWR. Dr. Heitmann has also been seen on Swiss television SRF.
Hattingenhair/Swisshair: Dr. Laura and Dr. Sever Muresanu in Stetten
The couple Dr. Laura and Dr. Sever Muresanu from Hattingenhair/Swisshair in Stetten, Switzerland have been offering hair transplants for many years. They have been offering FUT very successfully since 2005 and the FUE method regularly since 2014.
In a treatment with FUE, just as with Dr. Heitmann, the grafts are not only transplanted manually, but intermittently. Theoretically, graft numbers of up to 3000-3200 grafts per day are possible, although the clinic likes to generously plan for 2000 grafts per day.
In contrast to other providers, the special feature of the FUT strip method is that the Hattingenhair/Swisshair clinic consists of a large team of more than 10 assistants. This means that so-called mega/gigasessions can be offered with FUT/Strip, from 4000 – 5000 grafts/FU’s and significantly more per session/on one day.
The costs of a transplant depending on the FUT or FUE method at Hattingenhair/Swisshair in Stetten or Dr. Heitmann in Zurich
Here you will find examples regarding the costs and graft prices of Hattingenhair/Swisshair and Dr. Heitmann:
- Treatments with the FUT (strip surgery) method (Dr. Heitmann does not offer a FUT method!) at Hattingenhair from CHF 4 to CHF 3.33 per graft/FU, depending on the number of grafts.
- Treatments with the FUE method (Follicular Unit Extraction) at Hattingenhair 5 CHF per graft and at Dr. Heitmann 6 CHF per graft or 5.30 CHF per graft including picture discount without facet
Field reports/before and after pictures of hair transplantations in Switzerland, including TV report and documentation about a repair procedure in the SFR
Please take a look at some of the reports/before and after pictures/videos of successful hair surgeries performed by Hairforlife’s cooperation partners:
The Marco case: TV experience report and documentation of a repair operation on Swiss television SFR in 2011 Plus update in 2021
Marco had already had a failed hair operation. Due to his first failed hair transplant in Germany and negative experiences, Marco first went for a consultation with Andreas Krämer from Hairforlife, who then recommended a repair using FUE with Dr. Heitmann in Zurich – Switzerland. The Swiss television health magazine Puls accompanied the patient. Starting with the consultation and operation, up to the final result. Both programmes were broadcast in 2011, at the beginning and end of 2011.
How does Marco look in 2021? Update November 2021
How does Marco look in 2021? Read the blog post “Hair transplant TV reportage Switzerland: Update after 10 years!
Hattingenhair/Swisshair: 4950 grafts with the FUT technique
Experiences report by J.J.Hansen: FUE hair transplantation with Dr. Lars Heitmann
Please visit the blogpost Hair Transplantation Experience Report and Before and After Pictures of J.j. Hansen. Hansen or watch the video directly: