Third Annual World Hair Transplant Repair Day Shines Spotlight on Growing Problem of Fraudulent, Illicit, Hair Transplant Clinics
Participating ISHRS physician members offering free corrective surgeries for eligible candidates
CHICAGO – October 27, 2023. Victims of fraudulent, illicit hair transplant clinics who have little
recourse for the irreparable damage done by unlicensed individuals who either lack training or
are not authorized to perform surgery even under direct supervision of a licensed physician are
encouraged to consider participating in the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery’s
(ISHRS) third annual “World Hair Transplant Repair Day” on November 11, 2023.
This worldwide event is part of the ISHRS’s Fight the FIGHT (an acronym for Fight the
Fraudulent, Illicit, and Global Hair Transplants) global consumer awareness campaign designed
to educate and help people who have been victims of this widespread practice. Victims may
reach out individually to participating volunteer ISHRS physicians through the campaign’s
website at HairTransplantRepairDay.org for a chance to receive a pro bono restorative hair
procedure. Since its launch in 2020, the number of ISHRS participating physician members has
grown to more than six dozen members around the world.
“When performed by a qualified physician, a hair transplant is an excellent procedure for
treating hair loss that creates natural-looking, permanent results that are virtually undetectable,”
said Kapil Dua, MBBS, MS, FISHRS, president of the ISHRS. “In the wrong hands, results can
be devastating. That’s why the ISHRS created World Hair Transplant Repair Day – to give hope
to those in need of repair.”
Dr. Dua explained that a growing number of clinics around the world fraudulently promote
themselves as hair restoration experts, luring unsuspecting patients with packages that include
very low prices, accommodations, travel, and even tour packages, coupled with misleading
information. According to results of a 2022 member survey conducted by the ISHRS, 51% of
ISHRS members reported there are Black Market hair transplant clinics in their cities. In 2021,
5.4% of hair restoration patients sought treatment to repair previous surgery from offices where
the physician did not perform the surgery, up from 4.2% in 2019.
Results of hair transplants performed illegally can include permanent visible scarring, infection,
thin patches of hair, patches of bold spots, and over-harvested donor areas that can be very
difficult to correct. In cases where damage can be fixed, patients oftentimes will require more
than one corrective procedure.
“Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for patients in need of extensive repair from black-market
hair transplants,” said Ricardo Mejia, MD, chair of the ISHRS Fight the FIGHT Subcommittee.
“Patients should expect a multi-step process to remove the improperly placed grafts, repair the
recipient area, and when possible, attempt to repair or camouflage the scarring in the donor and
recipient areas. Depending on the extent of the damage, patients may require 3 to 4 sessions of
corrective hair restoration surgeries. Sometimes the damage is irreversible if the patient’s donor
area has been decimated.”
The ISHRS is committed to patient safety and continually strives for the best outcomes for all
patients, offering members superior education and training to improve their techniques. To help
ensure patients have the information needed to make informed decisions about who performs
their hair restoration surgery, the ISHRS urges potential patients to ask the following questions,
as well as questions regarding costs, risks and short- and long-term benefits and planning:
- Who will evaluate my hair loss and recommend a course of treatment? What is their education, training, licensure, and experience in treating hair loss?
- Who will be performing my surgery, what role will they play, and what is their education, training, licensure, and experience performing hair restoration surgery?
- Other than the licensed physician, will anyone who is not licensed by the state (or country) be making incisions or cutting my scalp to obtain grafts during my surgery? If so, please identify this person, explain his or her specific role and why this person is legally permitted to perform surgery without a license.
- Is everyone involved in my surgery covered by malpractice insurance?
“A physician’s primary responsibility is to do no harm and treat patients ethically and with the
utmost care. Clinics or physicians who allow unlicensed personnel to perform surgery violate the
bond between physician and patient. There is no greater insult to the patient than subjecting
them to this harm. No legal statute protects this action as the practice of medicine and surgery
cannot be delegated to the unlicensed in any jurisdiction,” said Bradley Wolf MD, FISHRS,
incoming president of ISHRS.
The ISHRS Fight the FIGHT campaign hosted a number of monthly patient educational live
streams from various countries around the world in different languages that patients can access
as archived replays to educate themselves on how to avoid being a victim of a black-market hair
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 over 1,000
physician members throughout 79 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 also 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 ISHRS.org/FindADoctor.
About the Survey
Conducted by Relevant Research, Inc., of Chicago, IL, USA, the ISHRS 2022 Practice Census is a compilation of information provided solely by participating physicians. The information published in this survey was developed from actual historical information and does not include any projected information. The margin of error for the sample is within plus or minus 6.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For a full reprint of the ISHRS 2022 Practice Census Report, visit Hair Restoration Statistics.