Hair transplant as a form of hair treatment has become the most competitive and sought-after procedure in India. Any and every centre even remotely connected to beauty treatments are offering Hair transplants at unimaginable and dirt cheap prices. In fact, desperate hair seekers are now faced with a very serious danger: unlicensed, unsupervised, poorly-trained practitioners masquerading as the best hair professionals doing the maximum number of hair transplants and who’ll stop at nothing to make a quick buck.
The real issue here is that these minimally trained see one say ten doctors are getting into the space that many qualified and expert doctors have dedicated their lives to achieve and have tried so hard to provide a safe and ethical place for people to undergo hair transplant.
Hair transplant as a procedure is extremely safe if carried out within the limitations. Life threatening complication is very rare (we have heard at least about 3 in the recent past- Chennai, Bangalore and no win Mumbai). The areas where things can go wrong during this procedure include-
- Medical history- A person having high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and cardiac disease should undergo a battery of tests including a medical fitness for the surgery. Blood thinners have to be stopped and bleeding tendencies monitored.
- Anaesthesia, antibiotics and their allergies- It is important to recognize allergies at the earliest (within minutes) and necessary treatment initiated. Many of the treating physicians do not have an ACLS certificate (Training in emergency patient care).
- Safety of the Clinic- Clinic has to be well equipped to provide emergency care which includes emergency drugs and airway maintenance and a defibrillator.
- Training of the Doctor- Many clinics have technicians masquerading as doctors undertaking the procedure. They inject anesthetic drugs, extract hair grafts and transfer them in the balding area. Any complication cannot not be addressed by them as they don’t know. Doctors if present may not have sufficient training to undertake this procedure.
- Sterility of instruments and post-operative care- Since hair transplant is not considered as a surgical procedure by many, there is no precaution taken to prevent infection like instrument sterility, cleanliness of the operation theatre (many times done on a chair) and antibiotic usage.
I feel it’s extremely important that patients, both young and old, have the opportunity to know which clinics are safe, and the ones that have no clue what they are doing. It’s a minefield out there and the person undergoing the procedure needs to be aware. You should visit the clinic and inspect the facilities provided along with meeting the service provider in person. Do not get operated by a Ghost Surgeon.
By: Dr Mohan Thomas, Senior Cosmetic Surgeon, Cosmetic Surgery Institute