GENEVA, IL. – March 4, 2019
ISHRS LAUNCHES PATIENT AWARENESS CAMPAIGN TO WARN CONSUMERS OF MANY ILLEGAL HAIR RESTORATION PRACTICES OPERATING IN A BLACK MARKET
Hair restoration patients around the world are being lured to “black market pirate clinics” operated by non-physicians with little or no training promising guaranteed results which pose serious risks to unsuspecting men and women seeking help for hair loss. In fact, a recent member survey gauging ISHRS members’ familiarity or experience treating patients who have suffered a botched hair restoration surgery found that 77.5 percent of survey respondents saw at least six or more cases per year, and that number is climbing drastically.
To educate patients about this growing problem, the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) — the world’s leading medical authority on hair loss treatment and restoration — has initiated an aggressive worldwide Patient Awareness Campaign designed to help patients recognize fraudulent hair restoration clinics and misleading advertising claims. Specifically, social media engagement will be the cornerstone of this physician-led campaign, with physicians and patients sharing stories of this growing problem.
The ISHRS also has established detailed information on its website (www.ISHRS.org) under the header “Beware of the Hair Transplant Black Market” to help patients find relevant information when considering a hair transplant, including how to evaluate a surgeon’s credentials and patient photos illustrating the dangers and problems that occur when clinics do not have the patients best interest.
“Many of the illegal clinics have sophisticated websites ranking high with Google paid ads to attract the consumer into a clinic that appears on the surface very professional. The marketing tactics are deceptive as it appears like a team of professional doctors with excellent testimonials. However, the reality is your surgery may be done by someone with no medical training. The demand is so high, reports are that Taxi cab drivers and Syrian refugees do the surgery in some overseas countries.
Patients are the ones that suffer when they realize too late who did the surgery and end up with botched complications and scars and hairlines that are not normal and disfiguring. said Ricardo Mejia, MD, chair of the ISHRS Committee on Issues Pertaining to the Unlicensed Practice of Medicine. “This is a serious crisis for anyone seeking help for hair loss, which is why the ISHRS is working diligently to educate patients about these dangers. We have many competent doctors in the ISHRS operating in the medical tourism industry who have signed a commitment that the Doctor does the surgery and have attended educational meetings regularly to assure the hair restoration surgery in the end makes you happy and not one you will regret for a lifetime. “
In the recent ISHRS member survey on black market hair transplants, ISHRS members confirmed that this illegal practice is widespread and causing harm to patients around the world — In countries where the problem is rampant and the tourism is high doctors are seeing the problems almost daily.
Specific problems members reported encountering include scarring, unnatural hairlines, poor hair growth, wrong hair direction, depleted donor area in the scalp leaving a bald appearance, , infections and inaccurate graft counts. Some patients think they are getting 4000-6000 grafts when in reality they may only get half. Examples of specific member responses included, “I have seen an exponential increase in complications from poor harvesting and poor growth, not to mention results that are not aesthetic,” and “I’ve seen numerous FUE disaster cases from countries where patients were lured by the glamour of medical tourism but unfortunately did not get the results expected.”
With the increased popularity of medical tourism in recent years, the ISHRS implores potential patients to do their homework before considering a hair transplant in another country as laws and regulations pertaining to surgical procedures can be much different than those in their own country. Additionally, there is no recourse when something goes wrong. In the recent ISHRS survey when members were asked to rank on a scale of one to ten (10 being the worst) how big of a problem the issue of black market clinics or unlicensed personnel performing hair restoration surgery in other countries is, 63.27 percent of ISHRS members acknowledged the severity of the problem and responded with either an 8 (23.47 percent), 9 (13.27 percent) or 10 (26.53 percent).
Consumers are being encouraged to visit the ISHRS.org site and verify the credentials of the clinic and or doctor.
“We hope patients will use the new ISHRS resources to educate themselves about the risks of undergoing a hair restoration procedure on the black market and to make sure they understand the local laws and regulations when considering a hair transplant in another country,” said Dr. Tykocinski , President of the ISHRS. Forewarned is forearmed could not be truer when it comes to avoiding being a victim of unscrupulous hair transplant clinics. This problem is also happening in every country, where greedy entrepreneurs and clinic owners choose a business turnkey model where a hair transplant practice emerges almost instantly and the patient is mainly assisted by unlicensed professionals and the physician, if present, has no experience or is minimally involved into the procedure at all.
The ISHRS recommends If you are seeking to travel overseas, know who the doctor is that will be doing the surgery. Verify the ISHRS credentials and training, and ask to have an observer in the room to confirm the doctor does the surgery. If it is not allowed, think twice. If you care about your results, you may have to pay a little bit more for a doctor and qualified trained team than the taxi cab driver.
About the ISHRS
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is a global non-profit medical association and the leading authority on hair loss treatment and restoration with more than 1,100 members throughout 70 countries worldwide. Above all, the ISHRS is dedicated to achieving excellence in patient outcomes by promoting the highest standards of medical practice, medical ethics, and research in the medical hair restoration industry.
The ISHRS is the leader in high quality education for hair restoration surgeons. The ISHRS has achieved the highest level of accreditation to organize education for physicians from the renowned Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.
The ISHRS provides continuing medical education to physicians specializing in hair transplant surgery and is committed to delivering the latest information on medical and surgical treatments to consumers suffering from hair loss, and most commonly from androgenetic alopecia–male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss. It was founded in 1993 as the first international society to promote continuing quality improvement and education for professionals in the field of hair restoration surgery. For more information and to locate a physician, visit www.ishrs.org.