The following is a consumer alert issued by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery
Seeking Hair Restoration Surgery?
Be sure that a properly trained licensed physician or properly trained licensed allied health professional practicing within the scope of his or her license is responsible for your treatment.
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is concerned about the growing risk to patients of unlicensed technicians performing substantial aspects of hair restoration surgery. The use of unlicensed technicians to perform aspects of hair restoration surgery which should only be performed by a properly trained and licensed physician or a properly trained and licensed physician extender (e.g., nurse practitioner, physician assistant) practicing within the scope of his or her license, places patients at risk of: (i) misdiagnosis; (ii) failure to diagnose hair disorders and related systemic diseases; and (iii) can result in the performance of unnecessary or ill advised surgery all of which jeopardizes patient safety and outcomes. There may also be a risk that unlicensed technicians may not be covered by malpractice insurance.
Dr. John Schwinning is a Fellow of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery and supports this position. In our practice Dr. Schwinning performs all aspects of the hair transplant surgery including all graft extraction and hair graft placement to assure the best possible cosmetic result for every patient.
The ISHRS believes the following aspects of hair restoration surgery should only be performed by a licensed physician or licensed allied health professional practicing within the scope of his or her license:
- Preoperative diagnostic evaluation and consultation
- Surgery planning
- Surgery execution including:
- Donor hair harvesting
- Hairline design
- Recipient site creation
- Management of other patient medical issues and possible adverse reactions
To help insure patients have 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.
ISHRS Position Statement on Qualifications for Scalp Surgery
The position of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery is that any procedure involving a skin incision for the purpose of tissue removal from the scalp or body, or to prepare the scalp or body to receive tissue, (e.g., incising the FUE graft, excising the donor strip, creating recipient sites) by any means, including robotics, is a surgical procedure. Such procedures must be performed by a properly trained and licensed physician*. Physicians who perform hair restoration surgery must possess the education, training, and current competency in the field of hair restoration surgery. It is beyond the scope of practice for non-licensed personnel to perform surgery. Surgery performed by non-licensed medical personnel may be considered practicing medicine without a license under applicable law. The Society supports the scope of practice of medicine as defined by a physician’s state, country or local legally governing board of medicine.
*or in countries where it is allowed, a licensed allied health professional practicing within the scope of his or her license.
Patients Should Ask These Questions:
- 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 involved in performing my surgery, what role will they play, and what is their education, training, licensure, and experience performing hair restoration surgery?
- Will anyone not licensed by the state be making incisions or harvesting grafts during my surgery? If so, please identify this person, explain their specific role and why they are legally permitted to perform it.
- Is everyone involved in my surgery covered by malpractice insurance?