Consumer Alert Regarding the Dangers of Unlicensed Technicians Performing Hair Restoration Surgery

ISHRS_350The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS), a not-for-profit medical association focused on medical and surgical outcomes excellence in the field of hair restoration, recently issued a consumer alert warning patients of the risk of having hair restoration surgery performed by an unlicensed technician. Michael Vories, M.D., a Diplomate of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ABHRS), applauds this push to educate patients on the importance of assuring that only the physician and other licensed personnel perform hair graft extraction and make all incisional sites for hair graft placement.

A growing number of spas and medical offices that do not specialize in hair restoration are using unlicensed technicians to perform all or some aspects of hair restoration surgery. This puts patients at risk for misdiagnosis, unnecessary or ill advised surgery which jeopardizes patient safety and outcomes. There may also be a risk that unlicensed technicians may not be covered by malpractice insurance.

ISHRS strongly recommends that only a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant practicing within the scope of his or her license perform hair restoration surgery.

“As new automated technology has become available to make hair transplantation easier, more and more practices are leaning on the technology to do the surgeries instead of using a specifically trained  licensed health care professional,” said Dr. Vories. “This type of practice is not only irresponsible, but can have debilitating consequences for a patient. A licensed practitioner with a specialty in hair restoration has the medical, surgical and artistic training to handle all aspects of surgical hair restoration.” “In our practice as the physician I perform all surgical extractions and implantation.”

The ISHRS and Dr. Vories recommend that patients ask the following questions when considering a hair transplant to ensure patient safety and best hair restoration results:

  • 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?

About Michael W. Vories, M.D.

Dr. Vories is medical director of Carolina Hair Surgery with offices in Charleston, SC and Charlotte, NC. He is one of the few hair transplant surgeons in the world who performs FUE hair transplantation exclusively in his practice and the only hair surgeon in the United States who performs the entire procedure from graft removal to graft implantation himself. Dr. Vories has dedicated his practice to hair restoration surgery for over 12 years and serves on the Board of Examiners for the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons and has severed on multiple committees and presented to the ISHRS.

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