How Do I Choose a Hair Transplant Surgeon?

Posted on March 19, 2023

The decision to undergo hair transplant surgery is a personal one, which means that patients are seeking out only the best to ensure they are confident with their results. When seeking a surgeon to perform hair restoration, it is important that you take the time to research credentials and experience. When choosing a hair transplant surgeon, it’s important to consider the following factors:


Look for a hair transplant surgeon with a significant amount of experience performing hair restoration surgery and hair transplants. The field of hair restoration is growing rapidly. The use of automated devices is infiltrating the market allowing doctors and licensed/unlicensed individuals with no formal training to perform the procedure. As one can imagine, the end result is poor planning, poor execution, poor growth, and overall poor results. We receive an average of one daily inquiry from failed procedures done elsewhere. Dr. Gabel has been performing hair restoration since 2000 and has treated thousands of patients both surgically and medically. His practice is 100% devoted to hair restoration.

Hands-On Involvement

Dr. Gabel is involved in every aspect of the procedure; he does not delegate any of it to staff. He is actively involved in the planning and execution of every step. When patients come in for the procedure, he develops the plan, marks out the location of the transplants, administers 100% of the anesthesia, does 100% of the harvesting of grafts either by the FUE (follicular unit excision) donor harvest method or linear strip, creates all the recipient sites, and he places a majority of the grafts. Most physicians do not have the experience to place grafts – he has been placing grafts for over two decades. Unlike many hair restoration practices where the physician has a low amount of involvement, Dr. Gabel is present for the entire hair restoration procedure. It is important to ask what aspects of the procedure the physician performs or does not do.

One Patient Per Day

Dr. Gabel only operates on one hair restoration patient per day. He does not want to divide his time between several patients. He feels that it is extremely important that 100% of his attention is devoted to the patient that day. He also feels that it is not fair to patients to delegate important tasks to the assistants; he is the one that people are trusting to obtain their results, and as such, he makes it the priority of the day to spend it with that one patient. This day is so important to his patients. Some patients have waited over two years to have the procedure done! Dr. Gabel is there to make sure it is done exactly to the specifications of the patient.

Board Certification

Make sure the surgeon is certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery. This is the only certifying board singularly devoted to hair restoration surgery. In order to become board-certified, Dr. Gabel had to have a rigorous application process showing his experience and results. After approval, then he had to take a very difficult written examination followed by an oral examination by experts in the field. Not only did Dr. Gabel pass these exams, but he scored the highest score on the written exam that year receiving an award, and missed the highest score on the oral exam by one point. In addition to the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, he is also board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology. 

Before and After Photos

Look at the surgeon’s portfolio of before and after photos to get an idea of the results they have achieved for other patients. Also, make sure that the photos on their site are their work. Now with automation, many physicians display “company photos” which do not represent the work they can achieve. All the before and after photos on Dr. Gabel’s results section is his work unless noted otherwise. The results are natural and achieve the goals set out between the patient and Dr. Gabel. As Dr. Gabel says, and learned from his mentors, “If it is not natural, it is not good.”


Read patient reviews and testimonials to get an idea of the surgeon’s reputation. Dr. Gabel has an extensive amount of experience and reviews that patients can read online. 


Schedule a consultation with the surgeon to discuss your goals and ask any questions you may have. The consultation at the Gabel Center is with Dr. Gabel. He does not have any commission-paid salespeople whose only goal is to sign people up for surgery. You will meet with Dr. Gabel personally during your in-office or video consultation (for patients who live a long distance from the office) to assess your candidacy for the procedure. He will discuss your goals and desires, and how to achieve them. He will also discuss medical options to help maintain native hair. 


Make sure the surgeon is licensed and operating in a safe and regulated environment. Dr. Gabel designed the new office 100% for hair restoration and it meets the highest standards for medical office procedures. We have two operating room suites and several consultation and procedure rooms dedicated to hair restoration and hair transplant patients. Dr. Gabel is a licensed physician with the State of Oregon and the State of Washington. He does not have any unlicensed individuals working on his patients which is illegal in the State of Oregon. Patients need to ask about who will be doing each part of the procedure from design, anesthesia, extraction of the hair grafts, and site creation. It is illegal for any unlicensed individual to perform any of those listed steps. In Dr. Gabel’s clinic, he does all and also places a majority of the grafts. 

Ongoing Learning

Learning to do hair restoration is the first step. However, staying on top of the current technology and information is of the utmost importance. Dr. Gabel has traveled extensively throughout the world and participated in conferences to maintain his expertise in the field of hair restoration. He is currently the Vice President of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, was the co-chairman of the Advanced Hair restoration course at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons in Panama in 2022, and is the Co-Director of the 360 Hands-On Workshop each year in St. Louis, Missouri. He has lectured throughout the world most recently in the US, South America, Central America, and Asia. He has a pivotal role at the next annual meeting in India in 2023 in charge of a subset of lectures devoted to advanced hair restoration and hair transplantation. 

Schedule a Consultation 

Ultimately, the most important factor is that you feel comfortable with the surgeon and trust them to provide the care you need. You need to find a physician who will listen to your goals, and obtain the results you are looking for in a safe and effective manner.

If you are interested in scheduling a hair transplant consultation appointment with Dr. Gabel, please contact our Portland, OR office today or fill out our online form. Dr. Gabel employs a number of hair transplant techniques, including FUE and FUT for the best possible results. 

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