The King of Hair: How Alan Bauman ’91 became one of the world’s top hair transplant surgeons
by Imran Ghori*
Illustration by Mike Tofanelli
Dr. Alan J. Bauman ’91 is one of the top hair transplant surgeons in the world, appearing as an expert on morning news shows, lecturing internationally, and quoted by publications all over the globe.
But his career path was an unexpected one that even family members questioned at first.
“When I told my parents, and even my friends, I’m thinking of doing hair transplant surgery, they said `You’re going to do plugs…? What?’,” he recalled. “They just didn’t get it.”
For Bauman, 51, a defining moment came in the 1990s during his surgical residency at what is now Mt Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, he met a patient who recently had a hair transplant surgery, and Bauman couldn’t tell where the transplants began and was fascinated by how real it looked, which delighted the patient.
“What also struck me was the way he explained the impact of the hair restoration on him — how it changed his life, changed his confidence, changed his career, changed his complete psychological outlook,” Bauman said.
Making Hair Loss History
Hair transplant surgery began around the 1960s with large “punch” grafts yielding pluggy-looking “doll’s-hair” results, and was still in its early stages in the ’80s and ’90s with invasive, crude techniques that often looked artificial or left visible scars, Bauman said. But that was starting to change.
During his training, surgeons were learning how to use smaller, more microsurgical grafts than before—which improved the artistry and naturalness of results tremendously—but they were still taking a long strip of scalp to harvest hair follicles, which Bauman described as a “big invasive step.”
Soon after starting his own hair restoration practice in Florida, Bauman helped to pioneer a delicate minimally-invasive technique called Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE, which he described as a microsurgical “game-changer.”
The delicate and tedious FUE technique involves harvesting each graft separately, as little as one hair follicle at a time. Because there’s no linear or “strip” harvest, the procedure requires no scalpel, stitches, or staples, has a shorter, less restricted, more comfortable recovery, and leaves absolutely no telltale linear scar to hide.
Using proper artistic design, FUE grafts can be placed in natural angles, orientation, and position, so in the end, the permanent living and growing result is completely undetectably natural.
“Because of these benefits, today, FUE is considered by most patients worldwide as the real gold standard of hair transplant surgery,” he said.
The Artistic Side of Surgery
Looking back, Bauman had always been interested in the artistic end of surgery after being introduced to plastic surgery as a teenager by a family friend and mentor. Later, as a surgical resident dealing with trauma calls and lifesaving interventions, he would often personally perform extensive suturing for patients who came in with severe lacerations and assist with cosmetic reconstruction when appropriate.
With his interest piqued after meeting a hair transplant patient, Bauman connected with a surgeon in Long Island who performed hair transplants and began observing him during his off-hours.
“The more that I opened my eyes to it, the more I learned the intricate nuances, the more I felt it fit with my personality and my skills and my artistic abilities,” he said.
He began his own hair loss practice, Bauman Medical in Boca Raton, Florida in 1997. He became a leading practitioner of Follicular Unit Extraction and delicate procedures like eyelash and eyebrow transplantation, performing over well over 10,000 hair transplant procedures to date.
After performing manual FUE for years, in 2007 Bauman introduced new technological advances such as a microsurgical device coupled to a tiny dental motor and suction that allowed him to accurately and efficiently extract and implant hair follicles, greatly improving speed and graft viability. He became the first board-certified hair transplant surgeon to routinely use mechanical FUE, teaching the delicate microsurgical technique to surgeons at scientific meetings and live surgery workshops internationally.
LIVE From Boca Raton: Hair Transplant Surgery
Live and direct from his OR in Boca Raton in 2011, Bauman made history by livestreaming the first FUE hair transplant procedure on the internet, garnering over 100,000 unique viewers from 23 countries, as part of his efforts to educate the public and his colleagues about this exciting new painless and minimally-invasive hair transplant surgery.
In the years since, he’s helped pioneer such hair regrowth technologies such as robotic-assisted FUE hair transplantation, low-level laser therapy, PRP Platelet Rich Plasma, the use of PDO polydioxanone threads, exosome therapy, bespoke compounded medications for hair loss, diagnostic/tracking tools like HairCheck trichometry, HairMetrix machine-learning/artificial intelligence-assisted density measurements, HairCam scalp microscopy, and the latest pharmacogenetic DNA analysis TrichoTest hair loss evaluations.
He’s become a sought-after expert on hair transplants, medical hair loss treatments, and scalp health for both men and women, appearing on hundreds of television shows such as “Today” and “Good Morning America,” including interviews on CNN, FOX News, XM Doctor Radio and numerous top health podcasts. He’s been featured in Mens Health, O-The Oprah Magazine, and more. Forbes listed him amongst the “Top 10 CEOs Transforming Healthcare in America.” He’s even been on The Howard Stern Show, where he used the opportunity to ask the radio show host about his famously long, thick age-defying mane.
“How can I be on the show and not ask him about his hair,” Bauman said with a smile. “I love Howard, but he definitely beat around the bush if you listen closely to that interview.”
Top 20 Hair Transplant Surgeons
Dr. Bauman has been shortlisted as one of the Top 20 Hair Transplant Surgeons Worldwide and is frequently invited to present at international medical conferences regarding hair transplants and breakthroughs in Stem Cell Therapy, Regenerative Medicine, and the Medical Management of Hair Loss.
Bauman has also been repeatedly asked his expert opinion on Donald Trump’s hair, which has been the focus of much speculation. He believes the former president has had work done, as has President Joe Biden.
“I would say that the odds are pretty damn good that for the first time in history we potentially have two consecutive presidents who have had hair procedures,” he said, “…and look at Elon Musk’s hair transplant results… wow!”
Bauman is not surprised that people are fascinated by hair, and are seeking the life-changing impact that he noted in that hair transplant patient he met by chance nearly 30 years ago.
He added, “Today, more people have the time and resources to address their hair loss.” And Bauman is busy every single day consulting with them virtually over the internet and getting them started on the right path of non-invasive treatments for prevention or planning their restoration at his nearly 12,000 square-foot facility in beautiful Boca Raton, FL.
“Hair is a sign of youth and vitality,” he said. “Physically and aesthetically, it frames the face. Psychologically, it makes you feel great. It doesn’t matter if you’re a communicator, like a CEO, a news anchor, a politician, an entertainer, or just a regular guy or gal who thinks they look better with hair, if you want to exude youth, a thick full head of hair obviously does that.”
*A version of this alumni profile article appeared in Summer 2021 UCR Magazine.
*Each individual's treatment and/or results may vary
If you or someone you know has hair loss, hair thinning, baldness, or eyebrow / eyelash concerns, click to start either a long-distance virtual consultation OR an in-person, in-office consultation with Dr. Bauman. You can also Ask Dr. Bauman a Question or simply call Bauman Medical Group at +1-