Hair transplant surgeons believe that ‘somebody is going to die’ if the industry isn’t more regulated.
Dr. Manish Mittal, who runs his own hair transplant clinic in London, is concerned about an “increasing number” of men seeking help from him.
A person who “looks like he’s been electrocuted” after paying thousands of dollars for surgery is “life-ruined,” he said.
One of his clients, Phil Whitehouse, told Metro.co.uk how two hair transplants in the UK made him worse.
The 43-year-old from Telford, Shropshire, began noticing his hair was receding when he was 18 and underwent his first hair transplant in 2003 at the age of 23.
However, he was left with a thick scar under the back of his head.
Meanwhile, the hair moved in front of the hairline and got stuck “like a toothbrush”.
In desperation, he flew to New York to try and fix the transplant in 2008, but it ended up leaving a second strip scar underneath the first.
He also suffered from shock loss. In other words, the stress caused the original hair around the transplant to fall out.
After complaining about the results, the clinic offered to fix the problem free of charge by better hiding one of the scars.
However, Phil experienced shock loss again, leaving an inch gap between the transplanted hair and the original.
“My hair was hanging down, but the transplanted hair was floating,” he said.
More than ten years later, Phil still can’t leave the house without covering his head.
He said: “It really depressed me. I just went out with my hat on and couldn’t even go to a nightclub. It ruined my life for a few years, but I’m used to it now.”
“I’ve tried different styles and grown my hair long. When the transplanted hair is long, it turns up and it looks like a cow’s lick. It’s just a mess.
I don’t know what to do. I am getting thinner every month and the transplant is becoming more visible.
Dr. Manish believes Phil is “probably too young to be transplanted” and should have been on medication for two years before considering surgery.
“Had Phil taken medication to stabilize hair loss during the first hair transplant, his shock loss would have been minimal.
Dr. Manish speaks out on his clients because he believes his industry is dangerously unregulated.
He told Metro.co.uk how he had to tell a 49-year-old man he was “going too far” to do repair work.
The Bedford man had already spent over £10,000 on three surgeries, one in Turkey and two in New York.
He continued to go bald because he didn’t take any medications to stabilize his hair loss after the surgery.
“To put the emotional turmoil he’s been through into perspective, he’s lost his job, lost his wife, and hasn’t seen his children,” Dr. Manish said.
“He’s literally at home all day, every day. That’s his quality of life right now. He’s incredibly depressed.
“He was balding heavily and should have been advised to take medication to stabilize the hair loss.”
Dr. Manish says that many clinics are taking in too many patients, causing technicians to make the actual incisions during surgery instead of doctors.
He said: ‘There’s a reason they charge £2,000 if you go to a cheap clinic here.
“It means that the doctor’s attention will be distributed because he will be one of six, seven, eight, nine, ten patients.
“Technicians without medical training perform most operations.
“They’re punching holes in the back of the head to get these graphs out and punching holes in the front of the head to put the graphs back in. It’s a very dangerous situation.”
Advice when looking for a hair transplant clinic:
- Beware of hair transplant clinic websites that do not list who the doctor is, what their qualifications are, or what their experience with hair transplant surgery is.
- Do not allow anyone other than a physician (patient advisor/clinic manager) to make final surgical planning decisions such as hair transplant design, number of follicular unit grafts/follicles required, transplant design, etc.
- Make sure the doctor is in charge of the surgical procedure for your hair transplant, which includes a FUE (follicular unit excision) incision in the skin. At the time of surgery, make sure you know who is doing her FUE incision and who you have given consent to.
- All clinics in England offering hair transplant surgery must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Additionally, all locations/facilities in the UK where hair transplant surgery is performed must also be registered with the CQC.
Dr Greg Williams, Vice President of the British Association of Hair Restorative Surgeons (BAHRS), has expressed similar concerns.
He said, “Many doctors in the UK and around the world would tell their patients, ‘It’s okay to delegate this part of the operation.
“They might say it’s not illegal to do it, they might say it’s not really surgery, and it’s actually a technician doing it because a technician is better than a doctor. You might say that is to your advantage.
“It’s shocking for doctors to say, but these are reasons that patients may be given, or they may not be told at all.
“Don’t let anyone but your doctor do the skin incisions. Ask who will do the skin incisions at your first appointment and make sure it’s that person on the day of surgery.
“Many clinics have lay advisors. That’s not a bad thing. Advisors can provide information on the clinic’s website, brochures and leaflets, but they should not make decisions about hair transplant planning.”
BAHRS has written to the General Medical Council expressing concern about non-physician incisions.
The official agency responded as follows: Provide excellent standards of practice and care and collaborate with colleagues in a manner that best serves the interests of our patients.
“Physicians may delegate aspects of patient care to other members of the team, but should ensure that those providing care have the appropriate qualifications, skills, and experience to provide safe care to patients. only if the person is satisfied with the fact that he or she is properly supervised.
“Physicians are responsible for decisions to transfer care to others and for measures taken to ensure patient safety is not compromised. Take responsibility for management.
Other issues raised by Dr. Mani include clients overpromising results that are “simply impossible”.
He believes this is because “most people talk to sales consultants without even seeing a doctor until the day they have surgery.”
“These are truly vulnerable people who are being exploited,” Dr. Manish said.
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