Dr. Matthew Lopresti was recently named the new chief surgeon for Leonard Hair Transplant Associates, taking on the lead role at the office after five years apprenticing with Dr. Robert Leonard, whose name has been synonymous with hair transplantation in New England for the past 30 years.
Leonard remains with the practice as founder and surgeon, continuing to consult with patients and perform procedures on a slightly reduced schedule at LHTA, which has six offices in New England including in Cranston.
Lopresti started at the practice five years ago as an associate surgeon, and says he intends to continue to grow the practice and his expertise. Providence Business News took the opportunity to ask him about each.
PBN: You’ve been associate surgeon for five years before your recent promotion to chief surgeon. What’s new about your duties, aside from an increased volume of surgeries?
LOPRESTI: Let me start by recognizing what a wonderful job our founder, Dr. Robert Leonard, has done in building a successful and thriving medical practice. It is with great pride that I take on this new role of chief surgeon at Leonard Hair Transplant Associates.
Our patient care is always the top priority, but my new role also allows me now to manage the day-to-day operations of the practice. We have six locations throughout New England, including one right here in Cranston, Rhode Island. Our staff consists of surgical technicians, administrators and consultants, each of whom present different methods of leadership and management. It is a new challenge to overtake such responsibilities, but I am fortunate to be surrounded by great people. In my opinion, my staff members are the most important aspect to our practice and to our patients.
I met Dr. Leonard 12 years ago when I was a medical student at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. While I was still a student, I trained with him for several months and we kept in touch over the years. When Dr. Leonard decided it was time to bring on another surgeon, I was honored that he selected me to join the practice.
PBN: How did your apprenticeship with Dr. Leonard begin?
LOPRESTI: I successfully completed a two-year preceptorship in hair restoration surgery directly under Dr. Robert Leonard, founder of Leonard Hair Transplant Associates, a 30-year veteran in the field. During this time I learned Dr. Leonard’s surgical techniques and medical approaches to hair loss treatments. It was clear to me that patient care and creating a family environment for the staff were important for a successful practice.
PBN: Hair transplant surgery is described as an art. How did your education prepare you for that aspect of this field?
LOPRESTI: I love medicine and I love what I do. Medicine is not always black and white and this is where I believe the aspect of art fits into medicine. There are, of course, specific aspects of hair transplantation that are consistent. The anatomy and physiology of hair does not change. However, every patient is individually different. For example, each person may have a different shape of their face, different texture of their hair and scalps can vary in size. These individual differences and how we treat them is where art takes form. At Leonard Hair Transplant Associates, we have the flexibility to fit all patient needs, an artistry that will give each patient the best possible result for their specific needs.
PBN: You’re a follicular unit extraction expert. Please explain that procedure. How does the automated version work? How many hair transplants are done using these methods today?
LOPRESTI: At Leonard Hair Transplant Associates, we employ a variety of surgical techniques to provide the greatest results for our patients. It is important to know that one harvesting technique is not better than the other is; they are just different. One of the most exciting advances in hair restoration is a technique called follicular unit extraction, or FUE. With FUE, follicular units with about one to four hairs are precisely harvested to be transplanted into the treatment area. The excision can be done with an automated or manual technique.
Each technique requires the donor region to be shaved to the skin. I prefer the manual technique, as I prefer the human touch. Through touch I can sense the density of the skin, texture of the hair as well as choose which hair units to take. By using this advanced technology, I’m able to fill in thinning and balding areas without creating a linear scar. Furthermore, the follicular units are placed in a way that creates the most natural-looking outcome possible. The FUE technique allows me to harvest grafts from the donor site efficiently and effectively. Our patients benefit from a nonlinear donor scar, reduced healing and downtime, and natural-looking results. Approximately 40 percent of our hair transplant procedures are performed using the follicular unit extraction technique.
PBN: Please tell us something people don’t usually consider when thinking about hair transplant surgery.
LOPRESTI: Our hair transplant patients usually do not consider the confidence boost the results provide in their professional and personal lives. Having a hair transplant often motivates our patients to change their wardrobe, improve their eating habits and exercise more. It truly is a jumpstart to a total life transformation!
Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.