Any doctor, clinic or other staff or business practising hair transplant without conforming to relevant rules in vogue in their region, state or country can be broadly termed as a Black Market Clinic or Establishment.
The hair transplant industry has today reached such depths of infamy and disrepute, we hope it can go down any further. We all await an upswing in the fate of FUE as an honorable career.
This is mostly due to Black Market Clinics where procedures are being done without any regulation and supervision by a core team of technicians assisted by novices who have very little earlier exposure to surgical discipline, sterility and hair transplant.
Definition of a Black Market Clinic: A Black Market FUE Clinic is one where technicians enjoy unbridled freedom in managing the whole procedure unsupervised by qualified doctors. They are known to offer large graft sessions upwards of 6000 grafts per session at abysmally low cost of hair transplant. They are also known to cheat in graft count.
This is leading to an endless slew of morbid and fatal cases which is mind-boggling and alarming.
Hair transplant associations have been raising their voices against these clinics not because they are competition to them (as is misunderstood), but because they are spoiling the fair name of the industry. An industry that is what it is due to many years of research and R&D undertaken by its prime stakeholders, the hair transplant surgeons and physicians.
Not for nothing has the State of California banned such Clinics in a recent law where a prison sentence and a hefty fine will go side by side if a technician run or doctor-assisted technician clinic is discovered. The Warning posted in the Medical Board of California News in August 2019 reads-
“Hair restoration surgery is the practice of medicine in California and may only be performed by properly trained, licensed physicians and surgeons or licensed allied health care providers authorized to perform such procedures within their scope of practice.
Companies may be marketing surgical devices to physicians indicating that hair restoration surgery is a delegatable procedure, causing confusion about who may use such devices in California.
Physicians may not delegate hair restoration surgery to medical assistants, who are unlicensed individuals with a very limited scope of practice pursuant to Business and Professions Code sections 2069 and 2070 and Title 16 of the California Code of regulations 1366. Medical assistants may not perform invasive procedures such as creating holes or slits in the patient’s scalp with a needle, scalpel, or other devices.
For more information about the role of medical assistants, please see “Is your medical health assistant practising beyond his or her scope of training?
No unlicensed individuals may perform these procedures in California, including those using titles such as hair restoration technician, surgical technician, hair restoration assistant, or any other title. California’s Business and Professions Code section 2052 prohibits the practice of medicines by unlicensed individuals, as well as aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine. Violation can result in a fine of upto $10,000, imprisonment, or imprisonment in county jail for upto a year or both the fine and either punishment.”
FUE procedures are safe and effective if the surgical parts of the procedure are done by a hair transplant doctor. This is the bottom line of what the California Warning has stated. The harvesting and the slit making aspects of this procedure can not be delegated to anyone but a trained physician or a surgeon.
The Medical Council of India has gone a step further to state the speciality that can perform the procedure in India. In response to an RTI (Right to Information) petition dated 29 Dec, 2014. The question was raised by a dentist from Ludhiana City-
“According to the rules of MCI who (speciality) is allowed to do hair transplant?”
In response MCI In its letter no. MCI-211(2) (RTI) 2014- Ethics/ 165011 dated 11 March 2015 replied-
“ MCh plastic surgeon is the concerned specialist in this regard.”
In these times of usurping the legitimate rights of those engaged in the field of hair transplant by diverse groups not qualified for the job, the onus rests squarely on the shoulders of the patient to research properly, take his time and after meeting several doctors, make an informed decision. For more inputs about research, anyone can contact me directly.