First and foremost, the extractions of the donor grafts are each viewed individual surgeries, according to the United States legal system. And these can only be performed by a licensed physician. Also the creation of insertion slits are restricted to the surgeon.
Technicians are allowed to insert the grafts into the recipient area slits. Under no circumstances should these assistants be allowed to make decisions associated with surgery and patient care.
Unlicensed Hair Transplant Technician Warning Signs
The ISHRS has expressed concern over the growing number of reported surgeries where technicians have been allowed to perform aspects of these procedures that only a doctor is responsible for. This practice jeopardizes the well being of the patient.
The ISHRS lists the following risks:
- Oversight of hair disorders and systemic diseases which are related to them. This can happen if the doctor places too much responsibility into the hands of technicians instead of placing close attention to the patient and diagnosing these types of issues. Likewise, misdiagnosis can also result from this type of practice.
- the performance of surgical procedures that are not necessary or should not be done at all.
The Exclusive Responsibilities of A Hair Transplant Surgeon
In the consumer warning report, the ISHRS also specifies the following responsibilities before, during and after surgery that should only be performed by a licensed hair transplant technicians or physicians.
(1) preoperative processes that include: diagnosis, consultation and evaluation
(2) planning of the surgery
(3) execution of the hair transplant surgery: harvesting donor grafts, designing the hairline, creating slits in the recipient site
(4) managing other types of medical issues that the patient has or adverse reactions
(5) post operative in office care
Choosing the Right Hair Restoration Provider
The ISHRS recommends that patients ask the following questions before deciding who should perform their surgery:
- Who does the evaluation for individual patient hair loss conditions? Who recommends hair loss treatment? In regards to the person who performs these responsibilities, what is their education background, training and experience in addressing hair loss? Do they have a license and what organization issued it
- Who is involved in performing the surgery. What are their responsibilities and roles? What is their education, experience and training? Do they have a license? And which organization issued this license?
- Who will be harvesting donor grafts and making incisions during the operation. Is this person licensed by the state? If not, what is their role and why are they allowed to perform these areas of the procedure?
- Does malpractice insurance cover everyone who is involved in the hair transplant surgery?
Background on the ISHRS
Dr. U is an active member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS) is a worldwide organization of physicians who specialize in hair transplantation. Their mission is to promote education, best practices and new advances that will benefit patients. To learn more about this association, click here.