i News feature article
The black market world of dodgy hair transplants sold to ‘desperate’ hair loss sufferers
4th August 2020
Dr Greg Williams, president of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery, tells i that hair replacement systems – essentially a hairpiece or partial wig of human hair, attached to the head with adhesive – “can be a god send for lots of men, and are sophisticated in how they’re applied to the scalp”. There’s an ongoing expense as they need to be maintained every six weeks. In Williams’ experience, however, some patients feel “phony” and won’t tell their wives or adult children that they’re wearing a “system”. “It can be very distressing,” he says.
A hair transplant can improve lives when done by a medic. But the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery has warned that in recent years “black market pirate clinics” operated by technicians with little or no training are luring hair transplant patients.
Dr Williams recommends choosing a clinic that clearly lists their doctors and their qualifications, and to avoid cheap or discounted treatments at home or abroad. An increasing trend “creeping into the UK”, sees doctors delegate the part of the transplant which involves drilling groups of hairs out by making a skin incision to non-doctors. “There are people who like to suggest this isn’t actually surgery, but it is and should only be done by a doctor,” says Williams. “You should ask who will be making those skin incisions.”