Normally, if you undergo a surgical procedure you wouldn’t expect it to be carried out by someone who is untrained, has no qualifications and a lack of experience. Your expectation would probably be, that anyone making an invasive incision into the body would be highly skilled and fully qualified, but actually that isn’t always the case with hair transplant surgery according to a consumer alert put out on 12th January this year by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS).
The Society’s President Ken Washenik MD, PHD,FAAD, FISHRS states “Increasing numbers of patients are seeking help from physician members of the ISHRS, asking them to correct mistakes of individuals who are not properly licensed or trained to perform surgical hair transplantation,”.
Licensing rules inconsistent around the world
Whilst there are undoubtedly many unlicensed personnel carrying out these procedures they’re not always easy to spot. Licensing rules change from country to country about who can carry out which part of the procedure and in some places it’s not uncommon to have an initial consultation with an expert surgeon who then sub-contracts the actual procedure to an unsupervised and unqualified practitioner.
Putting patients in danger
The ISHRS warning draws attention to the fact that hair transplantion is a medical procedure. It requires correct pre-operative diagnostic evaluation, thousands of incisions, anaesthetic and the correct management of any adverse reactions. Put quite simply the procedure really puts a patient in danger if it’s not carried out by a properly trained surgeon under the appropriate conditions. Not only is there the risk of infection or a failed transplant a misdiagnosis could actually hide an underlying health problem which could lead to more serious complications.
Whilst there is a real and growing problem, the ISHRS are also quick to point out that hair transplantation is generally a highly successful procedure. The warning is designed to bring a greater awareness to anyone considering the procedure to make sure they ask the right questions and check credentials before electing for surgery.