Dr. Donovan's Daily Hair Loss Blog (2011-2017)



Please let us know if you have questions about setting up your first appointment with Dr. Donovan. These are some of the most commonly asked questions we get.


1. Do I need a referral?

A referral is not needed as our clinic is private.  However, should your physicians wish to send us a referral note, we will send them a summary of your visit.  If you wish to have a referral package to give to your physician, you can download it here



2. Should I see my dermatologist or family doctor first before coming to see Dr. Donovan?

This is hard to say for any given person. In general, Dr. Donovan sees patients who have already been assessed by one or more physicians. We generally recommend that most patients see their family doctor or dermatologist as a good starting point for reviewing the cause and appropriate treatments.  Of course, we do have patients who come to see Dr. Donovan as their first point of contact, and that is also fine.


3. How long is the wait time for an appointment ?

We are currently doing our very best to limit wait times to no longer than 3 months. 


4. How do you treat hair loss? 

We treat hair loss first by understanding the precise diagnosis or reason the patient is losing his or her hair. In total, there are over 100 reasons to lose hair. For some patients there is more than one diagnosis responsible for the hair loss. Once we determine the diagnosis, we can then discuss a wide range of treatment options, including prescription treatments, over the counter treatments and in office treatments. We don't have one treatment fix all cures in our clinic .... but treatments backed by clinical evidence depending on the diagnosis. 


5. I see your clinic requests me to have blood tests. I can't get them because I don't have a family doctor. What should I do?

Don't worry. Blood tests are helpful to have ahead of time as most of our patients have seen other physicians as a first step in evaluating their hair loss. If you do not have any blood tests from the last 1-2 years, Dr. Donovan will order them for you after he meets with you.  You can read more about this in the following links

I don't have any blood tests, what should I do?  

Typical Fees for Blood tests


6. My doctor has done lots of tests before. Can you give them a call and ask them to send over my results to you?

We would be happy to help coordinate this. Please complete the attached form in order to give us your formal written permission to request your results. Please note that we are not able to simply phone your doctor's office without your permission IN WRITING first. Please complete the attached form and send back to us:



7. How many minutes will be first appointment be?

First time appointments are generally 30-40 minutes in duration.  In rare situations, the appointment can last 45-50 minutes. Dr. Donovan generally runs on time but please plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete appropriate paper work. 


8. Should I wash my hair before my appointment ?

Don't worry about the timing of your hair washing. If you washed your hair the same day, that is fine. If you washed your hair 5 days ago, that is also fine. The most important thing is to simply make note of WHEN you washed your hair as that information will be important to Dr. Donovan.


9. I have questions for Dr. Donovan that I would like to ask him prior to my visit. Can you have him call me back?

We are happy to make sure your questions get answered. Dr. Donovan does not contact patients prior to their appointment by any means except letter mail.  Some questions you may have will require Dr. Donovan to see you and know more about your story and see you scalp up close.  If you have questions prior to your visit, please address them directly to our team. Our team is experienced and can answer the vast majority of questions. If necessary, we will speak to Dr. Donovan and review any medical related questions with him that we can not answer. Please note that most medical related questions can not be answered without Dr. Donovan seeing the patient. Also, take note that Dr. Donovan is not permitted to give specific medical advice to any patient on any matter without first reviewing their history, blood tests and examining their hair loss. This is a strict policy of the office.  Please review the following helpful link on questions prior to the apportionment. 


if your questions are of a private nature, you can write to Dr. Donovan at this office. Please see the following link for details on how to do this.   


10. Can I book a PRP treatment the same day as my initial appointment?

Generally, no. Our appointment day is generally fully booked from start to finish and there is no availability for a PRP appointment right after your appointment. You will need to meet with Dr. Donovan first in order to make sure that Dr. Donovan agrees that this is the right treatment for you. If for some reason you believe PRP is the best choice and you feel you want to have it done, we suggest that you set up a phone or skype consultation with Dr. Donovan BEFORE coming to your appointment  so that when you come into the office you are ready for your PRP treatment.  Simply let the office know that you would like a remote consultation before coming in for PRP. This is particularly important for patients coming from out of town. 

Let's say your appointment with is December 18th and you want to have the possibility of getting a PRP on the same day.  Simply let us know and we will book a skype or phone appointment with Dr. Donovan in October or November and reserve the a PRP appointment on December 18.  We are not able to book PRP appointments on the same day as dr. Donovan first learns about your information and discusses options with you. 


11.  Can I get a biopsy same day as my initial appointment?

Usually a biopsy must be scheduled for another time. We set aside 35-40 minutes for your initial consultation and usually there is not enough time for the biopsy (i.e 15-25 minutes) the same day as Dr. Donovan has another patient to meet with after your appointment. We strive to run on time in our clinic and limit any delays (i.e. running behind) as many patients are coming from far away and may have flights to catch. If for some reason you know ahead of time that you wish to have a biopsy or your dermatologist or hair surgeon has recommended that you see Dr. Donovan for the purposes of a biopsy, please let us know ahead of time (at least 3 weeks) so that we can adjust the schedule to accommodate a biopsy. 


12. Does the fee for the appointment cover the treatment?

No, the appointment fee covers the fee for Dr. Donovan's professional advice. Many treatments are either prescription or over the counter. If a prescription is required, Dr. Donovan will give you a prescription.


13. Will I receive a summary of my diagnosis and treatment plan? Will my doctors?

Yes, you will receive a summary of your diagnosis and treatment. We will send a summary to your doctors as well - but only if you give us permission to do so. Please be sure to come to your appointment with your doctor's correct spelling, as well as their address and fax number. 


14. If my appointment is at 10 am, should I arrive early?

We would advise to arrive 5-10 minutes prior to your appointment to simply fill out some general information about your name, date of birth and address.


15. Is there parking located close by?

Parking is available around the area. There is very limited parking behind the Fairmont Medical Building but it often fills up quickly in the morning. There is also parking off Willow Street in the parking garage next to our building. 


16. Is there a fee for follow up appointments too?

There is a fee of $ 650 for all follow up appointments except brief appointments for steroid injections (which have a fee of $ 200). Our fees can be found in this link

Appointment Fees - 2017


17. How many appointments will I need?

The number of appointments depends on the diagnosis of the person's hair loss as well as which physician will serve as the primary physician for your hair loss. For example, patients with androgenetic alopecia are typically seen every 9-12 months. Patients with scarring alopecia may be seen every 3-6 months. Patients receiving steroid injections for alopecia areata or scarring alopecia may be seen every 1-3 months. 


18. I understand that I don't need a referral from a doctor to see Dr. Donovan. But if I do get a referral, is the fee reduced?

No, the fees are the same regardless of whether a patient has a referral. We are a private clinic and do not bill MSP or your provincial health plan. 


19. Is there an age requirement?

Dr. Donovan sees patients with hair issues from newborn to elderly. There is no age requirement. 


20. How long of a wait is it to see Dr. Donovan? Is there a wait list or cancellation list to have my appointment moved up?

We work to limit waiting times. The wait is generally 3 months.  We do have a wait list. In order to be placed on the wait list, please let our office know that you wish to be put on the cancellation/wait list. We will require that your file is "complete" in order to add you to our cancellation list,  meaning that we have receive BOTH of the following.

a) received your questionnaire

b) received your blood tests 


If you have any questions about being placed on our wait list/cancellation please let us know. Please note that there are no exceptions to the above two requirements.  


21. What is the success rate of treatments?

The success rate depends on the diagnosis of the person's hair loss. For example, a patient with a patch of alopecia areata has a 90 % chance of regrowth with steroid injections. A male with androgenetic alopecia has a 40-50 % chance of improvement or stabilization with finasteride. A patient with lichen planopilaris has a 40-65% chance of stopping their disease with hydroxychloroquine and steroid injections.  As you can see, it all depends on the diagnosis of the person's hair loss.  


22. Where do I go to get my blood tests completed?

We recommend that anyone with hair loss see their family doctor as a first step. Your family doctor may then order various screening tests for your hair loss. Your family doctor may refer you to a dermatologist if additional assistance is needed.  If you do not have any tests, don't worry, Dr. Donovan will order them after your appointment. You can simply go to a nearby lab with the requisition form he will provide.

Where do I go for my blood tests?


23. What is the cancelation policy?

We require a full 48 hours in order to avoid the cancellation fee of the full appointment fee.


24. When do I pay for the appointment?

For appointments in the office, you can pay for the appointment after the appointment.  If for any reason, you wish to pay before, that is acceptable, but not necessary. There are circumstance where an appointment is paid before hand. For example, an individual who is having the appointment fee paid by another individual may pay before hand. This would include a child, for example, who is brought in by a caregiver and the appointment is being paid for by the parent. All patients having remote consultations (skype, phone, FaceTime) are required to submit payment no later than one week before the appointment. 


25. What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept cash payment, debit and payment by most credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX).



26. Does the clinic offer appointments with additional levels of privacy?

Please contact the office directly with the specific request. We are generally able to accommodate with advanced notice of 4-6 weeks. 



27. If I normally wear hair fibers (like TOPPIK) should I remove this before my appointment or is it okay to wear to by appointment?

Please make sure all fibers are washed out of the scalp well before your appointment. If you feel that you need to wear these please let us know. We will likely ask you to reschedule your appointment. There should be NO FIBERS in the scalp in order for Dr. Donovan to properly assess your scalp. This request is for your benefit so that you can have a thorough assessment. Please choose an appointment date and time that allows you to come without camouflaging products in your scalp. If you are rushing from a meeting to your appointment and must have your fibers in during the meeting, this may not be a good day to schedule and appointment with Dr. Donovan. 


28. I have decided to bring my blood tests to the appointment rather than email or fax them ahead of time. Should I come early?

Please come 15 minutes early so that we can photocopy your test results. The results will be reviewed by Dr. Donovan during your appointment time. Should you wish Dr. Donovan to review your results ahead of time, please email, fax or mail them so they arrive 24 hours before your appointment. Dr. Donovan reviews all patient files the day prior to the appointment. If you choose to bring results on the day of the appointment, they will only be reviewed during the appointment. 


29. Will I need a scalp biopsy?

For most patients, a scalp biopsy is not required. However, in some situations a scalp biopsy is the only means to determine the precise reason for hair loss. Dr. Donovan will advise you if he feels a scalp biopsy is necessary.


30. If Dr. Donovan wants me to return for a scalp biopsy, do you have advice on how I should prepare and the kinds of things I will need to do afterwards? 

If you are planning on having a scalp biopsy, please take time to review these simple pre and post procedure instructions.

Scalp Biopsy - Pre and Post Procedure Instructions

A scalp biopsy is a 20 minute procedure that allows Dr. Donovan to obtain a few hairs (and the surrounding skin). This specimen will be sent off to the pathologist for further evaluation.  The procedure is very safe and should not be a cause for worry for you. Some minor tenderness can occur for a few days in the area where the biopsy was taken. Dissolving stitches will be placed in the area - it takes approximately 6-8 weeks for the stitches to dissolve fully. A small scar will be present permanently in the area where the biopsy was taken. 


31. Should I bring photos from years gone by?

Yes, photos are always helpful. Please limit to no more than 10 photos. Generally 1-2 normally is sufficient. 


32. How long is the first and second appointment?

Your first appointment is generally 35-40 minutes. The second is typically 20-25 minutes. 


33. I am coming from a 3 hour flight away. Should I stay overnight at a nearby hotel? Will there be any tests the following day?

For most patients it is not necessary to stay overnight, unless of course you are coming from far away.  Please let us know how we can help coordinate your appointment to make it possible for you to fly in and out of Vancouver on the same day. If you are unsure, please ask.


34. Do you have a list of hotels in case I do decide to stay overnight?

Absolutely, attached is a list of hotels our patients have stayed at. The closest hotels to the clinic are the Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre and the Park Inn and Suites by Radisson. 

Hotel List - Vancouver 2016


35. Will you send a letter to my doctor?

When you arrive for your appointment, we will ask you to provide the name, and fax number of the main physician who you would like us to send results. We will fax a letter to that physician.  Please come to your appointment prepared with the full name (and proper spelling), and fax numbers of your physicians. 


36. I would like Dr. Donovan to send a copy of my results to my mom. How do I go about arranging this?

In order for our office to send results to ANYONE but your doctor, we will need you to complete the attached from. Please list the name, email address and mailing address of the individual. We will EMAIL them a copy of the result you have requested. We do not send results to family members, spouses, children without the permission of the patient. 



37. I am not so good with understanding all my results and tests and would like Dr. Donovan to send a copy of my results and all details to my son. How do I go about arranging this?

In order for our office to send results to ANYONE but your doctor, we will need you to complete the attached from. Please list the name, email address and mailing address of the individual. We will EMAIL them a copy of the result you have requested. We do not send results to family members, spouses, children without the permission of the patient. 



38. I would like to speak to a current patient of the clinic to know more about what to expect with my appointment and treatment?

We do not, under any circumstances, provide names or details of any patients in Dr. Donovan's practice. 


39. I see that you have photos on your website in a few areas of patients. Can you tell me if Dr. Donovan will take photos of my scalp and how my photos will be used?

Photos are never used without a patient's permission. If Dr. Donovan decides that photos are needed for your care, you will be asked to sign a consent form indicating whether you wish to have your photos kept private and just for your chart, or whether you give permission for the photos to be used in teaching and research purposes as well. Photos are used in teaching and research only with appropriate patient consent. 


40. I live in the UK. Will Dr. Donovan's prescription be valid in the UK?

Dr. Donovan's prescription are valid only in Canada.  You have the option to fill the prescription here before leaving. Many patients however follow up with their own practitioners back home to review Dr. Donovan's recommendations. Prescriptions are then copied by the local physician. Dr. Donovan is happy to forward your physician a consultation note, so please let us know if this is required. 


41. I will be driving from 4 hours away with my sister. She might want to see Dr. Donovan about her hair too. Can this be made possible for us?

Your sister will need a separate appointment. Please have your sister contact the office to complete the online questionnaire and coordinate forwarding any blood test results or other results. It will likely take a full 35 minutes for Dr. Donovan to review your details, examine your scalp and provide you with recommendations. There will not be time for him to address your sister's concerns. If you give us enough notice (generally 8 weeks), we will arrange the schedule so you and your sister can have back to back appointments (for example one at 2 pm and one at 2:45 pm). Please let us know how we can best help.


42. I want to record the visit with a microphone recording device. Is this acceptable?

It is possible  - with a few considerations. Please be certain to let Dr. Donovan know the meeting is recorded so that we can help you make the most out of your recording and protect your privacy. 


43. I am wondering if I can have a translator for my appointment as English is not a language that I am comfortable with.

We help patients from all over the world. We understand that some patients prefer to receive information and ask questions in a language other than English.   If you would like to have a language translator in the room with you during your appointment, please let us know. You can read more information about arranging a language translator at the following link:  www.donovanmedical.com/translation 


44. If my treatment that Dr. Donovan has outline does not help me, and I want to speak to Dr. Donovan about the 'next steps', do I need to make another appointment? 

Yes. Depending on your diagnosis, some treatments may have a high chance of helping, and others may have a more moderate chance of helping. Discussion of 'next steps' and changes in the treatment plan require booking a follow up appointment


45. My schedule changes a lot. Am I able to change my appointment if I need to?

Yes, but please provide us at least 48 hours notice if you can't make your appointment. We do have many patients on our waiting list who will take your spot if you are not able to attend.


46. I will be coming directly from the airport. What is the cost of the taxi fare?

We would advise that you confirm the fare with the driver and attendant before getting into the taxi from the airport. The cost is generally $ 23.00 -26.00


47. I will be coming directly from the airport. Can I bring my luggage to the office?

Yes, feel to bring your luggage and we will set aside. Do not hesitate in the slightest to bring your bags to the office. Many do.


48. I have some simple questions. Can I pop into the office and ask Dr. Donovan my questions?

We do not permit questions to be posed to the doctor in person. For example, we regret that do not permit patients to pop into the office with questions. ("I was just passing by the area and wanted to come in to ask Dr. Donovan a question") 

Please address all questions via standard methods outlined in the following link: ASKING QUESTIONS PRIOR TO THE FIRST VISIT


49.  Are there any restrictions on flying (for example, if I receive any of the treatments in your clinic)?

This are no restrictions on flying for either PRP or steroid injections. 


50. Is there a cancellation fee for missed appointments? Is there a fee for "no shows"?

We require 48 hours notice for any appointments that a patient is unable to attend. There is a fee of $750 dollars (the full appointment fee) for appointments missed with less than this notice.  We reserve the right to not book a second appointment for any patient who has missed an appointment. 


51. I'd like to make an appointment with Dr. Donovan to figure out my diagnosis and to get his recommendations on an appropriate treatment plan. However, I would like to do all my follow up appointments with my own dermatologist. Is this possible?

This is okay with Dr. Donovan but we strongly encourage you to check with your dermatologist first before making an appointment with our office. You'll want to make sure that your dermatologist would be comfortable following up on Dr. Donovan's recommendations.

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