Are Hair Transplants Dangerous?

dangerous hair transplants

A recent question was asked in the newspaper- is having a hair transplant dangerous or invasive? This blog will help answer the question for those of you who are interested!

Is a hair transplant dangerous?

In short the answer is- it can be. If you are operated in a clinic or by a surgeon that is inexperienced, unregulated and unlicensed it is certainly dangerous.

Choose a clinic that is regulated, established and a surgeon who is licensed and you should expect your hair transplant to be safe with good results. But what does it mean to have a procedure that is “invasive”.

The word invasive essentially means how much the surgery involves cutting into your skin. Like any other surgery, hair transplantation obviously involves undergoing some cutting into the skin and is considered “minimally invasive“. This is because the depth of each cut is normally not more than half a centimetre and is very small.

At The Treatment Rooms London we have sometimes seen patients come from clinics that are unregulated and unlicensed who have deeper cuts than this. It can result in terrible complications including permanent scarring like skin necrosis. We strongly advise you to do your research. Any clinic you go to in the UK should fit the following conditions:

  1. Have a Care Quality Commission License
  2. The surgeon should hold a GMC license

You can check both these conditions by clicking the following links:

  1. Care Quality Commission (CQC)
  2. GMC

What is a safe hair transplant?

A hair transplant can be a safe treatment. It relies on a few different factors which you should be aware of.

  1. Having a full consultation with your hair transplant surgeon
  2. Finding out how the operation will be carried out
  3. Having clear goals on what you expect from your surgery and see if this matches your surgeon’s expectations too

Have a full consultation with your hair transplant surgeon

It is important you get to know your surgeon and their clinic. Trust is an important part of any patient journey. Having a hair transplant is just the beginning and you will need to trust your surgeon to understand your wishes.

Secondly, you will need to meet with your hair transplant surgeon to vet their experiences and their qualifications (e.g. GMC licence). They should be able to give you a full consultation around your hair loss, the likely diagnosis and counsel you around the pros and cons of every treatment (not just a transplant). Sometimes, it might be in your best interests to delay a hair transplant rather than jumping straight into it.

Find out how the operation will be carried out

It is important you know where and how your surgery will be carried out. Having the operation in a CQC- registered clinic is the first step. Ask about how your surgeon and their team keeps a clean sterile environment so there is minimal risk of infection when you have surgery.

Have you thought about what type of surgery you will be having? There a two main hair transplant procedures (FUE and FUT). You should ask your surgeon which procedure you would benefit most from.

Have clear goals on what you expect from your surgery and see if this matches your surgeon’s expectations too

What is your current pattern of hair loss and what do you want to achieve by having hair loss treatment? Having a hair transplant might be an option for you but there is a limited amount of hair your surgeon can transplant. If you are young you might want to plan your transplant to account for further hair loss in the future. 

A transplant will never match your original hair density. However, by strategically placing hairs your surgeon can give you the illusion of having dense hair. You will need to have an honest conversation with your surgeon about what you would like from a hair transplant. Be prepared for your surgeon to guide you on what they think is also best for you- accounting for the following factors:

  1. How much hair you have lost so far
  2. How much hair you can have transplanted
  3. Whether you will lose more hair
  4. How much density your surgeon can safely achieve
  5. Whether you might require 2 sessions for a safe procedure 

Finally, the next concern you should then have is what you should expect when it comes to your hair transplant recovery. You surgeon should be able to inform you on your recovery and provide clear instructions about how you should care for your transplanted hairs in the days following the operation. For more information on common FAQs our patients ask us click on the following links:

  1. Common FAQs
  2. Patient recovery and aftercare
  3. What you can expect after a hair transplant

Hair Transplantation at The Treatment Rooms London

The above guidance is a basic requirement all hair transplant clinics should be providing their patients. At The Treatment Rooms London we are happy to answer questions or concerns our patients have about a hair transplant. Understandably, it is a large undertaking and choosing to have the procedure is a considered decision. Our 3 top tips are to take your time, be comfortable with your clinic and make sure you trust your surgeon.

References

  1. https://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/dear-doctor-should-i-encourage-my-husband-to-get-a-hair-transplant-37839766.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4507484/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840892/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4271303/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12174065
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825128/
  7. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/men-hair-loss-17/hair-transplants
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimally_invasive_procedure
  9. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/beware-of-the-hair-transplant-black-market/
  10. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/unregulated-hair-transplant-clinic/
  11. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gangrene/
  12. https://www.treatmentroomslondon.com/safe-hair-transplants/
  13. https://www.gmc-uk.org/
  14. https://www.cqc.org.uk/
  15. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/hair-transplant-death-man-wanted-more-grafts-in-1-go/articleshow/68366127.cms
  16. https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/mumbai-man-dies-hours-after-hair-transplant-what-are-the-side-effects-and-health-risks-associated-with-hair-replacement-surgery/380340
  17. https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/india/man-dies-within-50-hours-ofundergoing-hair-transplant

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

Safe Hair Transplants

safe hair transplants

A hair transplant clinic in Windsor has been shut down for breaching infection control practices. Providing safe hair transplants should be one of the most important principles of any hair transplant clinic. Clearly this clinic had made some serious errors. In this blog we explore how we make hair transplants as safe as possible for patients worried about infections.

What did the Windsor clinic do wrong?

A report by Windsor-Essex County Health Unit stated that the hair transplant clinic had breached infection control practices. This means they had put patients at risk of infections by potentially NOT doing the following:

  • Washing and sterilising their surgical instruments in-between different patients
  • Cleaning their surgical room regularly
  • Disposing clinical waste safely

What is infection control?

Infection control is about preventing healthcare- associated infections. These type of infections can affect patients or healthcare professionals (e.g. hair transplant surgeons and nurses). For a hair transplant clinic this means providing safe hair transplants by: 

  • Using autoclaved- sterilised surgical instruments
  • Having protocols on how safe and high quality transplants are carried out
  • Putting policies and procedures in place for preventing infection and checking everyone in the team is compliant with them (e.g. washing hands)
  • Making sure the patient’s hair follicles are kept in a sterile environment

What happens to the clinic’s patients?

If you have visited The Treatment Rooms London for your hair transplant you will know how much our team goes to great lengths to ensure you get personalised care. Every patient starts their hair loss journey with us and we stay with them for life. 

Sadly, for patients who were treated by the Windsor clinic they no longer have a hair transplant clinic to look after them. Secondly, they also have been advised to seek urgent help from their GP. This is because they may have been affected by dirty surgical instruments and they could be infected with:

At The Treatment Rooms London we are reminded of the incredibly sad NHS disaster whereby patients were given contaminated blood products. Many have gone on to be infected with HIV and Hepatitis. For those affected we understand this must be very upsetting. To find out where you local GP is please click here

How can you ensure you have a safe hair transplant?

As we have discussed before in our blog about the 5 considerations you must take before deciding on a hair transplant, you must take your time to find out as much as you can about your hair transplant clinic. 

One check you can do is see if the hair transplant clinic has been registered by the CQC (Care Quality Commission). This regulatory body works to ensure safe, quality clinical practice in every healthcare clinic including hospitals. By registering with the CQC, the hair transplant clinic has gone through the rigorous safety and quality checks that the CQC regulates under the Health and Social Care Act. 

Secondly, you can check whether your surgeon is registered with the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery (BAHRS) and General Medical Council (GMC). These professional associations mean your hair restoration surgeon is regulated and operates to their strict codes of conduct.

If you are worried about your hair loss and want to seek professional advice about safe hair transplants, then please contact our Hair Transplant surgeons today. Click here to fill out an enquiry form

​References

  1. https://www.wechu.org/reports/guaranteed-hair-transplant-clinic-ipac-report
  2. https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/hair-transplant-clinic-customers-warned-of-potential-infection-breach-1.4211771
  3. https://www.qcs.co.uk/infection-control/
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/
  5. https://www.kch.nhs.uk/about/corporate/care-standards/infection-prevention
  6. https://improvement.nhs.uk/resources/healthcare-associated-infections/
  7. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-44671153

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