The American based International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) has issued warnings aimed mainly at UK customers about the dangers of travelling to some hair transplant clinics. We look closer.

 

International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery

ISHRS was established in 1993, early in the story of hair transplants. Its aim was to have their society focus on transplantation and drive higher standards into the emerging industry. Up until then, it had been considered part of dermatology and plastic surgery… though evolution in techniques and equipment had made it difficult for those choosing to specialise in transplantation to find and communicate with each other. Today they continue to use ongoing education of their members, over 1100 of them in 70 countries, to drive best practice and advance knowledge. Beyond that they have given themselves the job of advocacy on behalf of consumers everywhere, to provide advice and, in particular, to warn against dangers. 

So it was on this basis that earlier this month they released a stern warning on the availability of cheap transplants to those willing to travel.

Health Tourism

The ISHRS, in a campaign called “Black Market Awareness,” has set out to inform UK customers of the dangers of health tourism, have published a series of photographs of men who travelled abroad to get cheap hair transplants. A spokesman for the ISHRS said, “The rogue clinics and hospitals that facilitate illegal or unethical practices have created an expanding black market hair transplant underworld of sorts.” He was referring to clinics, many of them in Turkey, that can charge as little as 10% of the cost of the equivalent surgery in the UK. Of course, in the UK there would be some certainty that the clinic is registered with the National Health Service and overseen by the official watchdog, the Care Quality Commission. 

The ISHRS report a significant rise in the number of men returning to the UK requiring medical assistance, or even surgery when returning with the results of botched transplant attempts. At the same time, we have seen growth in popularity for the surgery with several high profile clients from the sporting world and television screens. In the last year, the trend has extended to men in the spotlight just for being themselves, characters from reality television with a hint of hair loss are throwing themselves under the surgeon’s knife at an amazing rate. Typically, these are customers for high-end surgeries with big-ticket prices. Wayne Rooney is rumoured to have spent around £30K on his own series of operations. That sort of cost is out of reach for most, but even the average cost of over £7k is beyond the pockets of many. Treatments in Turkey can cost under £700, so even with the cost of travel to add there is a huge temptation. 

Due Diligence

The ISHRS counsel against travel abroad for your surgery, but they would wouldn’t they? Their statement and the shocking set of images should certainly give pause for thought. And then provoke a steely determination not to be drawn in by a slick website and fancy patter. Do a thorough investigation of the surgery you will attend, be certain your procedure will be carried out by a fully qualified person and that that aftercare is appropriate. There is a lot to consider and a great deal is at stake on getting it right. 

HIS Hair Clinic

If you would like to read more about the ISHRS Black Market Awareness campaign click here to see patient stories and more. 

If you would like to discuss your hair loss situation with one of our team of friendly experts, simply complete our contact form on this page or click here to find your nearest clinic.

 

 

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By Ian Watson

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