PayDay: Great question. I can only add to WHLP's and Spencer's awesome comments.
I pondered the same question back in the year 2000 when I received my first hair transplant at (unfortunately
) Bosley. I watched the informercials, in complete awe, and thought to myself: with the perfect answer to balding so vividly and intelligently displayed in this informercial, why wouldn't every bald (or balding) man get a hair transplant?
I can think of a few variables that I had to overcome before I took the leap, some of which overap with comments that have already been made. If you are set against baldness, as I definitely am (I've always had a thing for my hair, ALWAYS!, even as a kid, when I grew my hair long to look cool like Sylvester Stallone in the Rambo movies :-)), and are considering hair restoration surgery, you may contemplate a few, if not all, of these things:
Hair transplant surgery is permanent. I equate it to a tattoo. If you get a tattoo on your skin, then, for all practical purposes, it's there for life. You can't wake up one morning and say "I think I'm sick of this tattoo, I don't want it anymore". Hair transplant surgery is similar. And while the permanence of hair transplant surgery may be exactly what attracts some men to this option, there may be others that aren't willing to commit to its permanence, for whatever reason, and, instead, accept baldness.
Hair transplant surgery isn't cheap. Cosmetic surgery of any kind isn't cheap. Thousands of dollars, minimum, per surgery. And numerous surgeries may be needed. Some men may simply accept baldness in light of the cost of this specialty surgery.
The inconveniences associated with hair transplant surgery are only temporary, but, in my opinion, they are real. Don't believe the late-nite BS informercial statements: "most patients return to work the very next day". That's marketing hype BS nonsense. How can someone return to work the next day with (1) a ton of stitches in the back of their head (assuming you have the "strip" procedure), (2) the potential for oozing puss and/or blood from the donor site, (3) tiny visible scabs all over the transplanted scalp area, (4) potential soreness and discomfort, and (5) whatever else! For one week after my 2nd surgery with Doctor McAndrews, I had to keep my entire transplanted scalp completely covered in vaseline to protect the grafts and speed the healing process. There's no way I'd show up at work with vaseline dripping down my face. I also kept myself out of my social circles, away from friends and dfamily, until I was present-able. The truth is hair transplant surgeries, in my opinion, pose inconveniences in one's work life and social life. It took me one week before I went back to work, and started to see my friends and family again. And hair transplant surgery is SURGERY. It's not the pretty pictures that late-nite informercials lead us to believe. Your head gets cut. You bleed. You get stitches. And if you get multiple surgeries, you may have to deal with these inconveniences on numerous occasions. In light of all of these inconveniences, some men may simply forego it all, and accept baldness.
4) Results / Time
The results take time to come into fruition. Results, in their entirety, may not show for one year, or substantially more. I am 9 1/2 months post-op now from my surgery with Doctor McAndrews, with my superior results showing, yet I know I still have some time to wait to see the full results. But if a balding man out there is not one of us lucky ones that have found The Bald Truth, this message forum, and the IAHRS, he may not be willing to wait so long, after paying so much money and dealing with the inconveniences, for results that may, well, suck. Also, on the issue of results, one has to be realistic as to what can be achieved. The days of the teenage hairline are probably gone, but incredible, "perfect" results are achieve-able.
5) Less-than-Favorable History in the Hair Restoration Field
I agree with Spencer. Unfortunately the hair restoration field is plagued with words, like "plugs", that blacken the TRUE reality of it all: Beautiful, natural, undetectable results are completely and entirely possible. This is proven by the coolest guys on Earth on this message forum that have been willing to share their before & after photos. But since baldness is truly the last bastion of political incorrectness (I know this is your term Spencer
, but I like it, so I had to use it!), and balding men are punchlines for jokes from insensitive joketellers who truly don't understand that hair loss is "cancer of the spirit" (did it again Spencer!), and because words like "plugs" still exist and paint imagery of hideous cornrows on one's head, and less-than-ethical companies and maybe even physicians exist that are more interested in the easy financial gain from hair loss sufferers' vulnerability rather than truly helping, well, men may steer clear of hair transplantation, worried not only about poor results, but also about being considered vain and arrogant and whatever else for caring about how they look to the eyes of the world.
6) Lifetime Commitment
Hair transplantation relies on the theory of "supply and demand". A limited amount of donor hair is available (the "supply") and, can only cover so much bald area (the "demand"). Even with hair transplant surgery, it's important to keep as much of your natural hair as possible. To do this, men probably have to commit to a lifetime of medication, such as Propecia, or Rogaine, or both, or whatever else his doctor may prescribe. A lifetime committment to medication, at least in my case, was a necessary partner to my hair transplant surgery. Some men may not be willing to commit as such, and accept baldness. I have a buddy who recently commented that he has begun noticing some light recession. I hinted, very casually, about Propecia to him, and he immediately rejected the notion. I know I was hesitant to commit to Propecia for a lifetime, but, in retrospect, I wish I wasn't. I'd probably have alot more hair now had I taken it back in my early days, and, who knows, may have not even needed surgery yet.
Unless you have the FUE hair transplant procedure, scars will result from a hair transplant surgery. Of course they are small and completely covered by your hair, and potentially entirely insignificant, but the mere idea of introducing scars into one's head may turn off prospective men from hair transplant surgery.
Well, those are some of the things that I thought of. But once you overcome them, and realize that they really aren't too bad, if bad at all, then hair transplant surgery can be amazing! I'm way excited myself and plan to have another in 2009. And hopefully one day I can grow my hair long again like Rambo. :-)