What are the risks associated with having a non-doctor perform a hair transplant surgery?
It is a big issue for all clinics worldwide and ISHRS the existence of black market clinics relying on assistants to perform medical procedures. It is not happening only in Turkey but in many countries around the world.
Like every medical procedure, hair transplants carry certain risks. The patients could suffer an allergic or anaphylactic reaction that could potentially be life-threatening.
A good clinic should have doctors capable of dealing with this and the proper medical and pharmaceutical equipment. Every doctor performing a hair transplant should be an ACLS provider, where ASCLS is an acronym for Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support.
It is sad, but due to the rising popularity of hair transplants and the number of procedures worldwide, we already have a few deaths due to operations. Something that could be easily avoidable if proper medical protocols have been followed. And as you see, I haven't even spoken yet for the aesthetic part of the treatment.
Hair transplants, no matter what method is followed, have the limitation of the donor site. Every person has a certain amount of hair follicles that can be safely transplanted lifetime. A doctor should take into consideration many factors before proceeding with a transplant.
Age Norwood scale of hair loss patients expectations density angles of placement optimization of tips prediction about future hair loss. Unfortunately, I have seen 100s of patients regretting older procedures in my career. Usually, forced operations on young patients that spend all the donor hair on low hairlines limit the options when the hair loss progresses.
Hair loss is progress that never really stops. So usually, every patient that undergoes a transplant will need one or more procedures in the future to cover their future hair loss.
One of the aspects that black-market clinics don't pay enough attention to is consultation. Even consultation should be performed by a doctor and not a greedy salesman. In the consultation, a doctor should diagnose the type of hair loss, evaluate if the alopecia type is suitable for transplant, and explain his lifetime options regarding densities and expected lifetime to the patient. A successful and proper consultation is the first part of a successful procedure.
Most of the time, when I see patients that already had transplants, I evaluate them by quantity and quality. Quantity is the number of hairs used and survived in a procedure, checking that no irreversible damage has happened at the donor area. Quality is the aesthetic result. A good hair transplant should be natural, if undetectable. After so many years, successful protocols have been established so well-trained doctor can offer high-quality transplants. The main issue in black market clinics is the low quality of training and the lack of regulation, and the focus on the financial gains of the clinic rather than the wellbeing of the patient.
Hair Transplant results are for life if all protocols have been followed and the proper donor hair has been used. That's why it is vital to educate the patients in recognizing a good clinic. Some poor transplants are irreversible, and it is sad to see people suffer a lifetime for choosing a bad clinic.
"A wise Chinese man has said, "I am not rich enough to afford cheap things." Usually, most black market clinics treat a transplant like a commercial deal. When the main motto is how affordable it is, 99%, it is a clinic marker that relies on low trained and low paid staff. When a clinic advertises with words like no pain, no scars, no-touch, unlimited hairs, it is a clear marker it is a black market clinic.