Hair Transplants Gone Wrong

skin necrosis after attending unregulated hair transplant clinic

Hair Transplants can go wrong and we are seeing more patients turn up in our clinic to have their’s fixed. This is completely disheartening- find out more and read this blog.

Beware of the Black Market Hair Transplant Clinic

This is a campaign launched by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. It is highlighting the dangers of going to a hair transplant clinic for cheap procedures. There are many problems patients face when they turn up to these types of clinics. We have talked about them extensively in our recent blog- please click on it to find out more:

A Sad Story About A Businessman In India

Sadly, a gentleman in India has passed away after undergoing a hair transplant. We don’t know yet whether the transplant caused his death. He presented to a hospital with a swollen mouth with breathing problems so it is possible he had an allergic reaction to a medication given after his surgery. However, the details about his procedure are very worrying.

He had an astronomical 9000 grafts taken out in one session! We cannot stress how dangerous this is.

At The Treatment Rooms London we can safely extract 2000 grafts in one day. If you require more we will plan your surgery over multiple sessions. This makes sure:

  • Your grafts have the highest chance of survival and growing
  • Reduces the length of the procedure and your fatigue
  • Makes your recovery more comfortable

Taking out 9000 grafts would have probably depleted his donor hair zone with a see-through effect. It is also far too many grafts to be taken out in one session of Follicular Unit Excision. Most of those grafts would likely have not been re-implanted in time for them to survive. The gentleman’s surgery was during the night and lasted 12 hours. This is a long time for the grafts to be potentially of the body. We wonder whether his surgeon could have considered operating over 2-3 sessions. Not only would this have meant a smaller “bite-sized” hair transplant but would have been safer for the patient too.

What Should You Look For In A Hair Transplant Clinic?

In the UK, a hair transplant clinic should fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be CQC registered
  • Have a GMC-licensed Surgeon

To operate legally in the UK, a hair transplant clinic should meet these criteria. If you are looking to undergo the procedure please make sure you check these details. Hair transplants can go wrong if you find yourself in a clinic that is not regulated and have surgeons operating unlawfully in the UK.

Going Abroad

There are black market hair transplant clinics everywhere including the UK. However, there are currently a higher proportion of these clinics in countries like Turkey and India. Patients travelling to these countries for their transplant put themselves at high risk of poor outcomes and life changing complications.

One of the most important aspects of having a hair transplant is being able to contact your surgeon straight away if anything goes wrong. Having an open line of communication is key. Don’t be coerced into going abroad or a black market hair transplant clinic. Take your time to make your decision. Try and choose a clinic you can go back to if you had any problems or questions.

At The Treatment Rooms London we go the extra mile to keep in touch with all our patients after their procedure. We understand undergoing surgery can be daunting. Holding your hand throughout this process is what we do best.

Have You Been Affected By A Poor Hair Transplant?

Every week we are seeing patients come to The Treatment Rooms London asking for help. We understand the sense of guilt and frustration you might be feeling after having a poor transplant. It might be hard to initially reach out but please feel free to contact us. We will see you free of charge and explain to you the different treatment options available to you.

To contact us please click on the link below:

Contact Us Form

References

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Dr Dilan Fernando- Advisory Board Member at The London Aesthetics Show

london aesthetics show

The Treatment Rooms London lead hair transplant surgeon, Dr Dilan Fernando has been elected advisory board member at The London Aesthetics Show.

The London Aesthetics Show is launching Spring 2020 and seeks to champion patient safety and awareness in the aesthetics industry. With an increasing number of patients opting for aesthetics treatments; safety and regulation within the UK landscape is a priority. The London Aesthetics Show is the first conference to bridge the gap between cosmetic clinics and patients. It gives the chance for patients to meet with Doctors, Surgeons and practitioners alike. In this forum, patients will have the opportunity to ask them questions relating to treatments they are interested in.

What will Dr Fernando’s role be at The London Aesthetics Show?

On the board, Dr Fernando will represent hair transplant surgery and the patient safety issues that surround treatment. He is excited to represent a treatment that is growing in popularity over the last few years.

I am excited to be elected onto The London Aesthetics Show board. Hair transplant surgery is a complex treatment and patient safety is a priority. In lieu of the ISHRS’ recent Black Market Hair Transplant campaign launched in 2019, I look forward to highlighting both the BAHRS and ISHRS’ professional codes of conduct around patient safety to those attending and exhibiting at The London Aesthetics Show

Dr Dilan Fernando, Lead Hair Transplant Surgeon at The Treatment Rooms London and Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

What will Dr Fernando speak about?

Dr Fernando will highlight the issue of unregulated, black market hair transplant clinics that put patient safety at risk. Any patient that seeks hair loss treatment needs to have a proper consultation. This requires a full assessment of hair loss to date and then a plan for the future.

In today’s global market of hair transplant surgery, we are finding patients are quickly ushered into choosing a hair transplant. This is without any regard to their outcome and their expectations for results. Patients require a holistic plan to account for hair loss and the future. This may mean delaying a transplant in a patient’s best interests until their hair loss stabilises.

Dr Dilan Fernando, Lead Hair Transplant Surgeon at The Treatment Rooms London and Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

At The Treatment Rooms London we are also seeing an increasing number of patients having their hair ruined following a transplant. Their complications range from poor hair growth results through to disastrous skin necrosis.

Skin necrosis is a never event in hair transplant surgery. This means that a patient should never suffer from this complication. A surgeon who has carried out the transplant which has resulted in skin necrosis has clearly shown some degree of poor technique. I will be looking to highlight and address this issue at The London Aesthetics Show.

 

Dr Dilan Fernando, Lead Hair Transplant Surgeon at The Treatment Rooms London and Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

Beware Of The Hair Transplant Black Market

black market hair transplant campaign

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:

  1. Scarring
  2. Over-harvested donor areas
  3. 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:

  1. Turkey (#1 Destination)
  2. Pakistan
  3. India
  4. Iran
  5. USA

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.

What now?

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.

References

  1. https://ishrs.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/BlackMarketAwareCampaignISHRS-ENGLISH_PPT_01-27-19.pdf
  2. https://ishrs.org/bewarehtblackmarket/
  3. http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/4117646
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cosmetic-treatments/hair-transplant/
  5. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/unregulated-hair-transplant-clinic/
  6. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/safe-hair-transplants/
  7. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/5-considerations-before-having-a-hair-transplant/
  8. https://www.prweb.com/releases/dr_robin_unger_discusses_black_markets_in_hair_transplantation/prweb16075785.htm

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Unregulated Hair Transplant Clinics

skin necrosis after attending unregulated hair transplant clinic

An increasing number of patients are coming in to see us to correct hair transplants that have been performed poorly. It is disheartening to see these patients. Their suffering affects all our staff from our nurses to our surgeons as we take pride in being able to provide high quality hair transplants. As a result we wanted to write something to increase awareness about going to an unregulated hair transplant clinic.

A Disastrous Case

In the above the picture, the gentleman had his hair transplant two months prior to presenting to The Treatment Rooms’ Doctors. He complained of having the following:

1. A wound on the top of his head.
2. Worried that his transplanted hairs would NOT have thick enough coverage.
3. Soreness at the back of his head and poor skin healing at his extraction site.

One look and our Doctors knew he was in trouble. He was suffering because:

1. The black areas on the top of his head were dead skin. This is skin necrosis and is possibly the worst complication of hair transplant surgery. It occurs when surgery is performed poorly. These areas will eventually scar and no hair will grow there. The chance of hair ever growing there is very slim (1). He may even need a further operation to cut away the dead skin.

2. The transplanted hairs are far too spread out and his eventual result will likely be thin coverage. This did not meet his expectations of a full thick set of hair following a hair transplant. The issue here is likely at the consultation stage of the treatment process.

3. The area at the back of his head, where hair was extracted, is suffering from widespread hair loss (also called shock loss). There is also poor healing where the surgeon has over-extracted hairs from the donor site. This may result in large areas of scarring at the back of the head which will be noticeable.

What happened?

This patient went to a hair transplant clinic that is unregistered and unregulated by the CQC and other professional bodies (e.g. GMC).  He tried to contact his surgeon repeatedly but was refused a consultation and started to have his calls ignored. Upon inspection of the clinic’s website, there was no information on the team or surgeon and their experiences in hair transplant surgery. In addition the clinic itself was not registered under any professional regulatory body so the surgeons could not be held to account if they provided low quality surgical care.

At The Treatment Rooms London, we make it clear, the lines of communication with our surgeons are always open. Doctors and Surgeons ignoring patients can never happen and we were sad to hear this is happening.

The patient was made to pay a certain amount of money up front and then a second amount on top of this as the clinic provided an extra treatment that was not agreed upon. The patient in his own words explained the clinic had “killed my hair”. The clinic that he visited clearly did not answer all his questions prior to having surgery, did not explore his expectations of what could be achieved with a hair transplant and failed to take clear consent for the treatments that were going to be provided.

With this gentleman’s balding pattern it would be very difficult to attain a high density of hair all over the scalp as this would essentially require the surgeon to remove all of his hair at the back of the head. Overpromising results is common in unregulated hair transplant clinics who then go on to perform dangerous transplants that ultimately cause harm to patients as seen in this case.

Be careful of those clinics that are out for the “quick sell” and over promise the result they can achieve for you.

Why is a regulated clinic so important?

Going to a hair transplant clinic that has a Surgeon who is GMC registered and operates in a CQC approved location is incredibly important.

By being GMC-registered, the Surgeon is held to the institution’s high codes of conduct and expectations when it comes to patient care. This means that as a patient, you can feel safe that you are being treated by a Surgeon who is regulated by a larger organisation. Secondly, a hair transplant surgeon can be a member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons or International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons– both organisations ensure their members operate and treat under their strict codes of conduct. Check your surgeon is a member of these institutions- you can be assured that you are being seen by someone who values good quality care and practices ethically.

The CQC (Care Quality Commission) is the UK’s independent regulator of all health and social services. They ensure all clinics and hospitals run health services safely and provide patients high quality care. If you visit a clinic that is not regulated by the CQC, be mindful that they may not hold in high regard the same level of precision, safety and quality as would be expected of a CQC-registered clinic.

close up hair transplant doctor

So what next for the patient?

With skin necrosis you need to have it treated immediately. We advised him to go and see his original Surgeon straight away and if they refused to see him then he will need to be admitted to hospital. He will need a further operation to cut out the dead skin and repair the scalp.

His area of skin damage will scar and will not grow any transplanted hair. After it heals he will need to consider how he can conceal the area, for example by combing hair over it. In some cases fat grafting may be considered to make that area amenable to a future hair transplant. However despite this option, the likelihood of permanent scarring and balding is high. This is undoubtedly not what the patient was expecting after agreeing to have treatment for baldness.

Our message to all patients looking to have a hair transplant is:

A hair transplant is not a simple decision and you must think carefully about who will be performing the procedure. The results of a transplant are permanent so you shouldn’t cut corners when choosing a clinic and surgeon. Make sure you have a read of our blog on the 5 considerations you should take before having hair transplant surgery.

Secondly, there are many other treatments apart from hair transplant surgery. Explore all of them so you can be sure you have chosen the best treatment suited to your needs.

If you have been affected by a poorly performed hair transplant and you need advice please don’t hesitate to contact our Doctors. Simply click here and our Doctors will give you a call as soon as they can.

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4536882/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4212293/

(3) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gangrene/

(4) https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/uae-health/Cheap-hair-transplants-abroad-are-risky-warn-UAE-health-experts

(5) https://www.menshealth.com/uk/style/grooming/a25734373/hair-transplants-complete-guide/

(6) https://www.aa.com.tr/en/health/turkey-top-choice-for-hair-transplants-in-europe/1361995

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