Beware of “Black Market” Hair Transplant Surgery
“You wouldn’t build your house without plans and a licensed contractor.” -Dr. William Rassman
The International Society of Hair Transplant Surgeons (ISHRS) has mounted an aggressive campaign to warn those considering hair transplantation from another country because it’s “cheaper”. Their website contains adequate warning about these procedures. Their membership reports of horrendous results from many individuals regretting their decision of doing just that.
This is an important, valid warning to men… and women…who are considering such a drastic alternative to qualified domestic surgeons.
Just as important, from the illustration below, it needs to be said that incompetent or inadequately trained doctors (sometimes done by technician underlings allowed to operate machines that extract hair!) in this country, are causing permanent damage to patients’ heads AND to their psyche!
The principal complaint that returning hair transplant patients from “bargain offers in foreign countries” is that the donor hair, in an area that is plentiful and which is selected to be moved to a thinning area, can be impacted to the point of permanent baldness in that area. According to Dr. William Rassman, a renowned hair transplant surgeon in Los Angeles and recipient of a recent Lifetime Achievement Award from his colleagues, the problem stems from a total lack of planning the procedures.
An improperly trained surgeon (or whomever is assigned the job) can remove too much hair at the donor site or by a method that damages the area around it, to the point it makes that area bald and scarred!
As Dr. Rassman pointed out to me in a recent Podcast we recorded, think of a hair transplant procedure as being similar to building a house. Even a great contractor (surgeon) who is given the task of building a house without the tools and blueprints (surgery plan) to construct a building will not produce one that will stand the test of time!
For instance, without a proper foundation, a building will collapse, no matter how well the structure is built. For that reason, you wouldn’t hire a construction crew without the education and skill to pour the foundation, right?
Worse than a completed house that falls down over time, is a head that is permanently scarred and unsightly can be disastrous to one’s self esteem and ability to function in society.
A recent news story about a bad outcome from a hair transplant surgery…this one involved a ‘robotic;-type device for extracting hair grafts…underscores several points I made in my book, Hair Loss Dossier: The Big Lie on Causes, Cures, Treatments and Scams.
The patient involved elected to have surgery by a doctor in Southern California who advertised his experience with hair transplantation. The claims made in the lawsuit filed by the patient against the doctor, included the fact that he did not know the procedure would be carried out primarily (or completely?) by technicians…unlicensed medical personal…who the suit claims performed the hair transplant operation. [Read more about the lawsuit here: https://ishrs.org/2019/04/07/news-you-should-know-malpractice-lawsuit-involving-delegation-of-fue/]
The point I made in my book (referenced in Chapter 5, The Big Lie about Hair Transplant Surgery) is that in the position the patient is situated in a operating room in a hair surgery clinic, he or she cannot see who is doing what during the work on their head.
(I myself, having had more than a dozen hair surgery procedures, would often assume the doctor was there in the room and when he didn’t answer my questions, I realized he wasn’t. In that I knew these supervising surgeons personally, I wasn’t alarmed.)
But I recommend in this important chapter that it’s not unreasonable to ask for a simple hand held mirror to have during the procedure to check on what’s going on out of your view! This has become much more of an issue now that automated “robotic” machines are commonly used in many clinics that allow anyone assigned to the task to punch holes in the scalp.
This is a bad idea!
Only a licensed surgeon is (hopefully) experienced in penetrating the tissue and is able to legally perform these operations. For the first time patient, dealing with a doctor of whom he/she has no direct knowledge, it’s essential to monitor what is going on when major cosmetic surgery is being performed on the top of one’s head!
Someone very close to me has had personal experience with this phenomena. After several traditional surgeries over some years, the one and only time this patient was operated on with the use of a ‘robot’ resulted in a disastrous outcome. ALL OF THE PATIENT’S HAIR…“DONOR” AND PREVIOUSLY TRANSPLANTED… EVENTUALLY FELL OUT AND STOPPED GROWING, LIKELY FOREVER!
This surgery was “supervised” by a surgeon we know personally and his staff had assisted in other surgeries from doctors not using robotic extraction. What was once an acceptable amount of coverage is now 90% decimated.
There is no concise answer to why this occurred. Much speculation has been made by my many respected colleagues when this patient was examined by surgeons, dermatologists and pathologists. The only diagnosis is one of description: Alopecia Areata, an auto immune disease for which there is no cure.
Check out a prospective hair surgeon fully and, as I say in my book, speak with his/her patients, especially those that have similar hair loss and experiences as you. Ask them how many hair transplant surgeries they have performed, ask them for how many years they have been doing such surgeries, ask for patient pictures (besides the ones in the brochure or on the website!), ask them who will be performing the surgery, ask them if they use robotic machines during surgery, ask them all those important questions and more!
Remember, just like a wise carpentry saying: measure twice, cut once.
Items of Note…to Reinforce:
Don’t choose hair surgery. (Well, unless you are a strong surgery candidate, as identified by a highly experienced and credible hair restoration physician) There are other options.
Don’t believe that robotics can replace humans with specific experience in the way hair grows in the scalp.
Make sure that technicians are not performing surgery (it’s illegal in most states) and if/when you do get surgery, don’t be afraid to ask that the entire procedure be video recorded.
Check out my Facebook page for more information about the best ways to preserve your hair and enhance it with safe and effective products.
And as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me through my page or email me (JohnVincent@HairConsultant.com) for a personal conversation and recommendation to a qualified hair restoration specialist in your area.
I’ll even send you a free copy of my book for reaching out to me and as a thank you for reading! I look forward to hearing from you and helping you in any way.