The Consumer's Guide to Bosley: What to Expect / Things They Don't Tell You...  


Truth In Advertising

Consultations /  Costs

Negative Side Effects

Upsell / Drugs

Multiple Surgeries





Hair transplantation is a branch of plastic surgery where through various methods hair and surrounding tissue is moved to another part of the body, most commonly from one part of the scalp to another. After weighing the possible cosmetic benefit against the risks a small percentage of people choose to undergo surgery while the vast majority opt against it. Many patients find out that it's more complicated than they first thought and end up wishing they never started down that path.

Medical groups who perform it have a duty to disclose the limitations and adverse side effects to potential patients. Of course this doesn't always happen...

Expensive Rent, Cheap Advice

Expensive office space disguise the unlicensed & untrained staff who perform medical consultations at Bosley


Not Your Typical Medical Practice

You may want to put aside the trust you have for medical practitioners because Bosley is primarily driven by corporate sales targets and has a "tough luck" approach toward those willing to submit to elective surgery. This field is unregulated by the FDA and some companies are notorious for making exaggerated claims while not revealing the drawbacks.

Bosley's marketing department is reluctant to include anything in ads that might scare off potential clients. Bosley has tested the resources of state medical boards who have repeatedly sanctioned them for false and misleading advertising.

Bosley's ads are designed to generate the most sales leads per dollar -so consumers shouldn't take them too seriously or make medical decisions based upon them

Bosley's ads are not intended to educate the consumer


People who respond to ads are assigned to salespeople called Counselors for initial consultations (most Bosley offices do not have any medical staff on site) Since the Counselors lack any formal medical credentials it's generally illegal for them to advise you on a medical condition or treatment (considered practicing medicine without a license) so there's little to learn from them except for finances (Bosley's average cost per procedure is between ten and twenty thousand dollars). At surgical locations a doctor may drop by to answer a few questions.

Some patients don't meet with their doctor until the day of the surgery, don't let this be you!  Bosley knows that that patients are much less likely to back out after paying non-refundable deposits and making travel arrangements.


Don't get caught up in the moment or bow to pressure and make a rushed decision. Keep in mind that most people who get consultations don't agree to surgery.

Bosley Counselors are incentivized to sign up people for surgery, so important questions are best directed to the doctors who may tend to be more candid. (Although they too may be biased -see Sales Incentives).

A common sales tactic is to show the prospect an inflated price sheet then pencil in a discount to make them feel like they are getting a special deal.

There is never a guarantee of positive results. If anyone tries to make a promise ask if they will put it in writing or let you record them on your cell phone.

Employment ads for Bosley "Counselors" seek those with sales experience selling luxury items or services



The day of surgery is not the best time to ask questions!

Negative Side Effects

Bosley drops the ball when it comes to informing people about the many pitfalls of its surgery. Here are just five you should know about:

The supply of donor hair is limited  and usually only enough to fill in a small area with adequate density or lend sparse coverage to a larger one. As hair loss progresses (as it does in most people) it can leave the patient with not enough hair and a depleted donor area.

It damages the original hair follicles  The surgery calls for the patient's scalp to be injected with numerous painful shots of anesthetic, expanded with saline, excised (cut out), and punctured with hundreds or thousands of holes. This trauma can cause the patient's own natural hair to dramatically thin or fall out, most often in the front and top, the places where people usually want more hair. Bosley's typical response to unhappy patients is that the hair wasn't "permanent" and "would have died anyway".

The back and sides of the scalp are destroyed  as donor sections are removed; important for patients who are concerned about permanent circulation and nerve damage, pain, and scarring (especially for those who wear their hair short). Bosley's staff may try to downplay this saying that the sections are small but when that is the case they won't contain many hair follicles (Note: with the standard FUT procedure most donor sections are several inches wide. Some consider the FUE procedure to be less invasive but it still damages the donor area in a different way.)

Transplanted hair can differ in appearance  from the patient's original hair. It can have a different color, texture (curly hair can end up straight and vice versa) and it can be thinner and less vigorous than it originally was. It may require more delicate treatment and special care at the salon.

It can limit the effectiveness of other treatments  Surgery can ruin a patient's chances to benefit from less invasive methods and drugs, and it will constrict their options for all future treatments, both surgical and non-surgical (a scalp that is "beat up" or compromised from surgery is less likely to respond).

Are you willing to give up the hair you have now?

You really do have a lot to lose


Upsell / Drugs

To make up for the limited results of transplants Bosley sells a variety of upsell products and services including scalp pigmentation or permanent tattoos, the Lazercomb, a hand-held laser device, Toppik and their own brand of concealers (powdered cover-up made of keratin fibers) and a full line of shampoos and hair volumizing products. They often recommend that transplant patients take drugs like finasteride (Propecia) for the rest of their lives, a repeating source of income for Bosley.

Some may find it ironic that Bosley's parent company makes the bulk of its income from selling men's and women's wigs as does its sister company, Hair Club.

Bosley sells a number of products to compensate for the lack of results of surgery

Additional Considerations

Don't think one surgery will solve your problem (It could make things worse)

The initial surgery can open a can of worms for a patient. As their natural hair gets damaged by the procedure they may feel forced into additional surgeries to try and get back to what they started with. Patients with large balding areas are often dissatisfied with the sparse density achieved. Even an initial positive result can be temporary as transplanted hair can atrophy or die or look out of place as the rest of the hair recedes.

If You're a Woman

Be very cautious before proceeding. Bosley staff may try and take advantage of your emotional state to recommend surgery without determining the scientific reasons for your hair loss, which could just be temporary or due to a treatable condition. Woman usually have a different type of alopecia (hair loss) than men which makes them poor candidates for surgery.

Limited Recourse

Getting sued is a normal part of business for Bosley and they have considerable legal experience and resources to stifle patient complaints. The difficulty in obtaining an expert witness (a doctor willing to testify against Bosley in court) and statute of limitations in many states (commonly one year for med-mal) can hinder a patient's ability to sue as their damages may not be fully realized for several years.

Loss of Privacy

If you think you have nothing to lose by ordering the Bosley information kit, think again. Once they have your personal information you'll be subjected to a relentless marketing campaign including spam email, promotional materials sent to your home, and telemarketing.

Pending Advancements

Several companies are developing new technologies for hair loss including hair "cloning", or multiplication. Bosley management announced that advances in hair multiplication would soon make their current procedures obsolete (though their own attempts at it have recently been abandoned). Consumers should be aware that having surgery could damage their potential to benefit from future medical advancements.


Is Bosley's "Guarantee" Worthless?

Bosley's dead graft replacement guarantee may have little value and can actually do more harm than good. Here's why:

In order for a patient to "collect" on the guarantee, assuming they meet the criteria (TBD by a Bosley Physician) they will be forced to endure another round of painful anesthesia and traumatic surgery to an already compromised area. The extra surgery can damage the existing hair and tissue in that area with a lesser chance that the grafts will survive.

What is guaranteed is further loss of the patient's valuable donor tissue.


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