Get To Know Hair Restoration Expert Dr. Shamila Rawal

Dr. Shamila RawalPhoto Credit: Dr. Shamila RawalShamila Gupta Rawal, MD, a board-certified otolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon, specializes in the management of hair loss and rejuvenation of the face and neck at The Rawal Institute for Hair Restoration and Aesthetic Medicine. Dr. Rawal the only hair restoration surgeon providing comprehensive surgical and non-surgical treatment for all types of hair loss in Madison, Wisconsin, with an expansive patient base that travels in from coast-to-coast.

What is your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is having opened my own private solo-surgeon practice in 2019, expanding exponentially during the pandemic, and simultaneously maintaining my family's sanity during a full-year of quarantine and homeschooling. Going through the growing pains of a new business while also nurturing my family through the life-changing pandemic has required all cylinders to be firing simultaneously and constantly. I am immensely grateful that I have had the support of my husband, parents, and children during this time. I am also proud of myself for meeting all these challenges with patience and grace while keeping spirits high at home and at the office. Teamwork makes the dream work, and leading with compassion is crucial, especially in challenging times.

What is the future of your field?

The future of hair restoration lies in the optimization of surgical approaches and wound healing in hair transplantation, the improvement of medical modalities for follicular salvage and resuscitation, technologies to amplify and expand one's given donor graft supply, and the discovery of means to allow scarring alopecia patients to have a successful restoration.

In non-surgical rejuvenation of the skin, we are continuously finding new ways to harness the regenerative capabilities of the body via growth factors, stem cells, and cell signaling molecules, to help maintain the skin barrier, optimize skin elasticity and integrity, and reduce inflammation.

What is the biggest misconception about your field?

The biggest misconceptions about surgical hair restoration are that FUT, or follicular unit transplantation, widely known as "strip surgery" is an archaic technique and that FUE, or follicular unit extraction, can only be performed with the aid of a robot or automated machine. Both FUT and FUE are still performed equally often by most reputable surgical practices, and automated machines or robots are not necessary for excellent results. Surgical success lies in the hands of a skilled surgeon, with the experience and training to decide which approach is indicated best in a given patient. In my practice, I perform FUT and FUE each 50% of the time, for both males and females. Any surgical planning entails a thorough discussion with the patient about their lifestyle and goals, as well as consideration of the quantity of viable donor area and hair restoration requirements both in the short and long-term.

What are your most requested procedures?

My most requested procedures are hair transplant surgery (both FUE/FUT, male and female, scalp, eyebrow, and beard), PRP (platelet-rich plasma) for hair restoration and skin rejuvenation, energy-based and mechanical collagen induction therapies, previous transplant corrections, and scar revisions, injectables and skincare consultations to address photoaging, discoloration, acne, and rosacea.

What surgical advancements are you most excited about?

I am most excited for further developments in regenerative and pro-generative technologies, to allow more patients with limited or unhealthy donor supplies to undergo hair restoration successfully. I am often asked if one can receive transplant grafts from a family member, or if stem cell injections can grow new hairs. While the answer to the first is yes, theoretically, but not advised medically, and to the second is directly, no, but indirectly, possibly in the future, it would be wonderful to be able to provide more options than we currently have to source donor grafts.

What are you best known for?

I am best known for conducting honest, thoughtful, and diagnostically accurate consultations, empowering my patients with multiple informed options and committing to providing my patients with the highest quality and most ethical care, by performing all consultations, procedures, and surgeries myself.

What is your most memorable patient reaction?

I am always humbled when my patients cry tears of joy while comparing their before and after pictures at follow-up appointments, or when they tell me that their skin not only looks good but FEELS good.

What sets your practice apart?

My practice is unique in that I approach hair loss and age-related changes to the face and neck from the perspective of a highly-skilled head and neck surgeon. My training has afforded me an intimate knowledge of and facility with the anatomy and behavior of the tissues of the head and neck, as well as sound medical knowledge of the pathologic processes that can affect these organ systems. It is imperative to me that I perform every step of the process from consultation to treatment myself because if there is an unexpected or atypical finding during the treatment course, I can rely on my education and training to redirect immediately and not simply continue rote mechanical steps--another feature which sets me apart from some hair restoration and aesthetic practices that rely heavily on technicians or non-clinical providers. Every patient undergoes a thorough medical history review and examination with a microscope, in order to correctly identify and treat the source of their hair loss or skin concerns, rather than just "Band-Aid" restoring it. I prescribe customized, dynamic, multi-modality treatment strategies, to allow for initially aggressive resuscitation of weakened hair follicles or damaged skin, followed by steady maintenance of results. Long-term follow-up of my patients allows me to modify our treatment strategies as their ongoing needs change over time.

What do you love most about your profession?

I love the ability to help my patients reclaim the part of their self-esteem that has been lost through the natural process of aging, trauma, or illness, or hormonal changes. Many of my patients worry that they are being vain and are further self-conscious about seeking help for hair loss or photoaging of the skin. I truly believe that the restoration of one's self-confidence is the greatest gift I can give, allowing them to live their life most completely.

What is your career-defining procedure?

My career-defining procedure employs a blended medical and surgical hair restoration approach, using both FUT and FUE surgical techniques, combined with supportive pharmacologic agents, regenerative medicine technologies, and low-level laser light therapy for optimal scalp health restoration.

What new services are you excited to offer?

At my practice, I specialize in medical and surgical hair restoration (FUE/FUT), incorporating regenerative medicine technologies like PRP (platelet-rich plasma), energy-based devices, and even scalp micropigmentation. I also specialize in rejuvenation of the face and neck, again using regenerative medicine technologies, energy-based devices, injectables, as well as my own medical-grade skincare line.

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