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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Hair Transplantation

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a current pandemic causing ramifications across the World. As a designated healthcare facility, The Treatment Rooms London has now reopened to perform hair transplant surgery but with added precautions in place to ensure patient and clinical staff safety. This blog will take you through what you needed to know about the virus and the considerations around hair transplant surgery.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus that potentially originated from Bats. There are a number of Coronaviruses out there and previously have caused people ill health such as SARS and MERS. This particular strain of Coronavirus, called COVID-19 is currently causing many patients throughout the world symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Breathing difficulties (like shortness of breath)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Blisters, bumps or discolouration of toes

Preventing A Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection

You can do a number of things to prevent yourself from getting a Coronavirus infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay 2m away from strangers
  • Only leave your house for essential supplies and items
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes

What Should You Do If You Have Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you feel like you have symptoms of a fever, cough or breathing difficulties you may not have COVID-19, but you must presume you have the condition.

If you have mild symptoms then stay at home and self isolate. Stay away from those who do not have symptoms. If you live with your family then everyone in your family should also stay at home and self isolate. You can find more information here:

NHS Advice: Staying At Home

If your symptoms progress and worsen then you should call 111 if you are in an emergency and don’t think you can cope at home.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Surgery at The Treatment Rooms London

Our clinic follows the guidance issued by the UK Government and Public Health England closely and as a designated healthcare facility, The Treatment Rooms London is phasing a return to consultations and operations. As a CQC-registered clinic we already have to take precautions against much more serious diseases such as Hepatitis B and HIV even though they are harder to catch than COVID-19.

Nevertheless, we have put into place protocols to ensure our surgical facility is “COVID-19 Secure”. This includes measures such as enhanced PPE for staff and limiting the number of patients in clinic at any given time.

The main points our patients need to be aware of are:

1)    They will be asked to complete a COVID questionnaire prior to their appointment

2)    They will have their temperature taken on entry

3)    They will also be encouraged to use the hand sanitisers in clinic to ensure hand hygiene

4)    They will be asked to wear a face mask so that they are protected as well as the staff if anyone happens to be positive whilst asymptomatic

We have adapted guidelines from the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery for use in our clinic taking into account UK law. We have conducted a COVID-19 risk assessment of any patient’s journey through our clinic and taken steps to minimise risk. In doing so, we hope the risk of contracting coronavirus is significantly less than a weekly supermarket shop, however it is not possible to guarantee that the risk of catching it is zero, such is the nature of the virus.

Consultations at The Treatment Rooms London

We are holding consultations at our clinic. For now, our Harley Street clinic remains closed with our Putney clinic open. This ensures patients and staff are not unnecessarily traveling to central London.

In the first instance, new patients are invited to have a video consultation with our hair transplant surgeons. In this consultation all patients will have a dedicated 1 to 1 assessment about their hair loss history and the recommended treatments. Following this initial consultation patients will be advised the following:

  1. If they would like to hold a face to face consultation to plan their hair transplant
  2. If they would like a review in 3-6 months’ time if they are starting new medication

Hair Transplant Surgery at The Treatment Rooms London

The clinic is due to start surgical operations. All patients will be made aware of what to expect on the day and will be risk assessed with a dedicated COVID-19 questionnaire.

All patients are encouraged to ask the following questions with their hair transplant surgeon:

  1. What is the risk associated with hair transplant surgery and COVID-19?
  2. What happens if I catch COVID-19 after my hair transplant?
  3. Is delaying the operation an option?

What is the risk associated with hair transplant surgery and COVID-19?

Currently we do not fully understand if there is an additional risk (above the risk associated with surgery) associated with catching COVID-19 if you have had a hair transplant. However, case based discussion with patients who have undergone the procedure in our clinic suggest there is none.

What happens if I catch COVID-19 after my hair transplant?

This is a difficult question to answer. Currently COVID-19 affects individuals from black and ethnic minority groups disproportionately compared to other ethnic groups. Our suggestion is that if you are of BAME descent, then to postpone and review your hair transplant plans until the threat in the UK is minimised to a level of 1-3.

For other individuals, the evidence suggests COVID-19 has a mild cold or flu like syndrome in the majority of those affected. This may mean that catching COVID-19 after your hair transplant poses no greater risk than having a flu or a cold. However, it must be made clear- there is no scientific evidence for this yet.

Is delaying the operation an option?

Delaying your hair transplant is always an option. If you or your hair transplant surgeon are at all concerned about your risk then it is best to postpone surgery until a time where the threat to you is at a level you are prepared to accept.

Should I have my hair transplant?

As with all decisions related to surgery, both patient and surgeon need to weigh up all the risks and benefits associated with hair transplant surgery. This is a balance between the “medical need” of the patient to have their hair transplant and the risk of contracting the virus as evaluated by both patient and their surgeon. COVID-19 is just an additional risk that needs to be considered alongside other risks associated with hair transplant surgery. Every patient and surgery is different and therefore there is no black and white answer to “Should I have my hair transplant?”.

At the time of writing (15th May) the threat level in the UK is between 3-4 (out of 1-5, 5 being most severe). When the UK increases the threat level where strict “stay at home” social restrictions are imposed on the public then we would deem it too risky for both patients and staff at The Treatment Rooms London to travel to/ from the clinic. Now that social restrictions have eased and the NHS has restarted elective procedures, both patients and staff can make an informed decision around proceeding with hair transplant operations.

As a clinic we have a duty to ensure the risk is minimised to both patient and staff and will continue to ensure measures are taken to address any risk associated with hair transplant surgery. For now we continue to review our processes in view of any Governmental or Public Health England advice. If you would like to enquire and book an appointment with us please contact us today or click the link below.

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References

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