Hair restoration surgery is having a moment, according to results released today of a new member survey conducted by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS).

The worldwide volume of surgical hair restoration procedures performed from 2014 to 2016 rose 60%, with 635,189 procedures performed in 2016.

“Like other forms of cosmetic surgery that can boost self-confidence and self-image, people increasingly are more open to talking about having hair transplantation and with that word is spreading how one can achieve permanent, natural-looking results with this proven surgical procedure,” says Ken Washenik, MD, PhD, FISHRS, president of the ISHRS.

“In recent years, we have noticed a surge in physicians registering for our annual congresses to learn the procedure, and some techniques have helped newer physicians to the field perform the procedure with greater ease. More educated physicians translates to better results for patients, which I believe is the reason we’re noticing such an increase in the number of procedures taking place.”

Of the 635,189 surgical hair restoration procedures performed worldwide in 2016, Asia led the way with 195,284 procedures, followed by the Middle East with 149,400 and the U.S. with 133,136 procedures. Overall, the number of surgical, and nonsurgical, hair restoration patients increased considerably from 2014. Specifically, 597,181 surgical patients sought treatment in 2016 (a 67%  increase from 2014), with 1,241,764 nonsurgical patients treated in 2016 (a 78% increase).

While worldwide economic growth remained relatively flat in 2016, the estimated worldwide market for surgical hair restoration enjoyed a robust increase—from $2.5 billion USD in 2014 to $4.1 billion USD in 2016. This represents a 64%  increase in market size from 2014 (see the full report for details).


Other notable trends and facts from the ISHRS Practice Census survey include:

• In 2016, more than half of both male and female surgical patients worldwide fell between the ages of 30 to 49 years old, 59.7% and 59.0% respectively.

• In 2016, ISHRS members treated a higher percentage of men with surgical hair restoration procedures (85.7%) than women (14.3%).

• The Middle East experienced the biggest increase in the number of hair restoration procedures in 2016—a 163% increase from 2014.

• From 2014 to 2016, hair restoration procedures performed on the face (moustache/beard) increased 101% worldwide.

• The Middle East reported the largest number of facial hair transplants (8,537 procedures) in 2016, with Asia a close second (8,376 procedures)

Interestingly, the majority (61.1%) of hair restoration patients treated by ISHRS members in 2016 traveled more than 20 miles/32 kilometers for their procedure, including travel to a different state, region or country.

Dr Washenik stressed that patients who decide to travel for a hair restoration procedure need to do due diligence when researching and deciding on their surgeon, as the ISHRS has witnessed a black market spawning from non-doctor clinics illegally performing the procedure under the auspice of medical tourism.

“In some countries, we are hearing horror stories of patients who receive poor growth, poor results and often permanent damage to their scalps at the hands of unlicensed technicians who are operating hair restoration clinics illegally,” he explains. “While there are many qualified, ethical physicians in these countries who produce good results, others who operate illegal clinics entice unknowing consumers with cheap prices and promises of guaranteed results.”

The ISHRS has provided information to help patients:

[Source: International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery]