The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery has officially launched its awareness campaign around Black Market Hair Transplant Clinics. In this short blog we explain what is going on.
As you may have read in our earlier blogs, (click here), we are seeing poor hair transplants being performed by unregulated clinics. Sadly, patients are seeking help from clinics to treat their hair loss and come away even worse than when they first visited.
There is a growing number of black market hair transplant clinics that are performing dangerous and poor transplants. As a result the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), the global leading authority of hair loss treatment and restoration, has released a worldwide campaign. It’s called “Beware Of The Hair Transplant Black Market”.
Why has the campaign been launched?
The black market of hair transplant clinics consists of clinics that are primarily run by technicians. Sometimes there might be 1 doctor and 10-60 technicians who operate in a “conveyor belt like” manner. The doctor present in the clinic is mainly there for show only. Sometimes they don’t have a valid medical license or a job permit. Ultimately, corners are cut in patient care and patients have no recourse to make a complaint.
Without proper clinical care, patients come away from these clinics with injuries such as:
- Over-harvested donor areas
- Poor, irreparable hair transplant results
The risk of technicians performing hair transplants is certainly daunting. It is illegal for technicians to make any cuts or incisions in the UK. Currently the main Black Market Hair Transplant Clinics are located in:
- Turkey (#1 Destination)
These clinics normally try and attract patients with the following methods:
- Paying large sums of money for marketing- using terms like “no pain” “no scars” “leading clinic” which are entirely misleading
- Providing no clinical advice to patients on whether they are a good candidate for hair transplant surgery or not, i.e. they operate on anyone who pays
- Technicians performing the surgery and anaesthesia with no Doctors. This means prices are cheaper for patients as the clinics they visit don’t have to employ a fully licensed hair transplant doctor
- Offering large numbers of grafts at cheap prices e.g. 2000-4000 graft extractions per session with no regard for the patient’s degree of balding. Their mantra being quantity is better than quality but resulting in an over-harvested donor area
- Attracting patients by advertising 4-5 star hotel accommodation, transportation and airfare
- Offering a certification of quality (meaningless)
- Guaranteeing results- knowing patients are coming abroad and will not return to complain about over-harvesting and poor implantation
What is the campaign?
The campaign has just started and is aiming to achieve a number of key objectives particularly around patient education.
Education and Awareness
Patients are being misled by false advertising. Adverts on Facebook, Google and Instagram with pictures and videos about hair transplant surgery being so easy that patients can be operated on in an “assembly line” is misleading.
Hair transplant surgery is essentially surgery. It requires a properly trained hair transplant surgeon (sometimes two surgeons) who are practising under a license and in a regulated clinic. Different patients have varying hair types and hair loss patterns so a “conveyor belt- like surgery” will not be applicable to all. It actually ignores the high attention to detail hair transplant surgeons must have in order to give patients safe, natural and long lasting results.
In the UK there are strict guidelines as to where you should go for hair transplantation. If you wanted to read more please click here. These guidelines include:
1) Choosing a Hair Transplant Surgeon who is GMC registered
2) Choosing a Hair Transplant Clinic that is CQC registered
The campaign is also collecting stories, photos and videos from Doctors and patients. If you have been affected by a poorly performed hair transplant then get in touch to share your experience (click here). Black Market Hair Transplant clinics threaten the integrity of hair transplant surgery including its Doctors and Surgeons who are dedicated to its practise.
The beware of the Black Market of Hair Transplant Clinics campaign has just started. Expect some new developments on the topic by the ISHRS and BAHRS. We want to make it clear, The Treatment Rooms London fully supports this awareness campaign.
We continue to see patients suffer at the hands of hair transplant technicians and unlicensed clinics. Hair transplant surgery is complex and the surgery is just the beginning of a long hair growth journey. Starting off on the wrong foot can be devastating. No patient should have skin necrosis as the result of poor surgery technique or suffer the effects of an over-harvested donor area.
We encourage any patients looking to have a hair transplant in London or the wider UK landscape to do their homework on the clinic and surgeon they are visiting. If you wanted to know more about this topic then please click here to read our blog.