People travelling abroad for hair transplants may end up having the procedures done by ‘taxi drivers and Syrian refugees with no training’, experts have warned.
The lure of lower prices is leading people to pay for poor quality, botched transplants which leave them scarred and bloody.
Grim photos released by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) have shown what happens when these hair transplants go wrong.
The ISHRS said illegal clinics are tricking British customers with sophisticated websites and false guarantees while charging as little as £620 for the procedures.
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery warns in some clinics overseas people are at risk of having treatment performed by people without the right training, which can result in injuries like the above, in which a man had too many follicles taken at once
‘The marketing tactics are deceptive as it appears like a team of professional doctors with excellent testimonials,’ said Dr Ricardo Meija, chair of the ISHRS’s unlicenced practice of medicine committee.
‘However, the reality is your surgery may be done by someone with no medical training.
‘The demand for hair transplants is so high, reports are that taxi cab drivers and Syrian refugees do the surgery in some overseas countries.’
The ISHRS said there are growing numbers of people being left scarred by transplants gone wrong.
They have revealed photos of men and women who have had too much hair harvested from their heads, patients being left with wounds from the ops, and transplants which have simply failed.
Done successfully, hair transplants can transform the appearance of the patients, who are usually balding men.
They have grown in popularity in recent years, with 635,000 operations performed worldwide in 2017, the ISHRS said, up from 225,779 in 2006 – a 181 per cent rise.
Celebrities including Wayne Rooney, X Factor judge Louis Walsh, chef Gordon Ramsay, and actor James Nesbitt have all had the operations.
Usually costing around £7,000, the ops work by taking living hair follicles from areas where it is still growing and transplant them to balding areas.
While the rich and famous can fork out thousands to have transplants done in high-end clinics, others may be tempted by the cut-price procedures offered abroad.
Unregulated clinics may perform hair transplantation techniques which are outdated or not executed properly because of poor quality – or non-existent – training
One man in the ISHRS’s warning was left with a wound which caused the tissue on his scalp to die, because the surgical procedure was done badly
Travelling to clinics which aren’t staffed by experts, the ISHRS warns, can leave people forking out for undesirable results which they will then have to pay to correct when they get home
Mexico, Turkey, India and Sweden are all among the most popular destinations for transplant travellers, according to the ISHRS.
While regulation is strict in the UK and clinics must register with the NHS and care home watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, it may be more lax overseas.
Last week it was reported a man at a private clinic in Mumbai, India, had died after a 12-hour hair transplant operation.
The 43-year-old had paid 500,000 rupees (£5,400) for the hair transplant and is believed to have died of an allergic reaction, though this hasn’t been confirmed.
Speaking of less serious but still concerning complications, Dr Meija added: ‘Patients are the ones that suffer when they realise too late who carried out their surgery.
‘[They] end up with botched complications and scars, and hairlines that are not normal and are disfiguring.’
The US-based ISHRS has launched a ‘Black Market Awareness’ campaign to try and stop these rogue operators, many of whom are in Turkey.
A spokesperson for society said: ‘The rogue clinics and hospitals that facilitate illegal or unethical practices have created an expanding black market hair transplant underworld of sorts.
‘Surgeries are performed by non-doctors with little or no training, are causing irreparable harm.’
Some black market clinics reportedly offer the procedures for as little as £620.
The perils of bad hair transplants are not limited to men – these photos show a woman whose surgeon took too many hair follicles from the back of her hair and as a result she was left with thinner hair than before
This man’s procedure was botched and caused an unnecessarily large amount of scarring, making parts of his head look worse than before
Even if patients are not maimed by their botched surgery it might leave them with poor quality results – the transplant tissue was not handled properly in this man’s case and so the hair never grew after his operation
This man’s hair was simply not fixed by the procedure, which appears to have caused unnecessary damage to his scalp and left him with thin, patchy hair
This patient was left with dozens of small round scars beneath his healthy hair where the surgeons took out large clumps of flesh
Former ISHRS president and founder of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery, Dr Bessam Farjo, said registered surgeons are left to pick up the pieces when people are left with disastrous results.
He said: ‘We know that there are clinics out there staffed by “practitioners” who do not have the requisite training, skill or expertise to carry out successful hair transplant procedures and appreciate the medium and long term issues facing the hair loss patient.
‘And we then subsequently see their patients at our own clinics, when they’re desperate for horrendous mistakes to be rectified.’
He added: ‘A poor hair transplant – which can look unnatural, create awful scarring or simply not work at all – will not only leave a patient out of pocket but will potentially permanently deprive them of the hair they desire, and have an enormous impact on their confidence, psychological well-being and self-esteem.’
Experts have warned people considering the procedures to only go to UK clinics registered with the Care Quality Commission.
London hair surgeon Dr Greg Williams added: ‘I also believe patients and practitioners should not hesitate to report any clinics to the CQC that offer HRS and are not registered.
‘If you are operating on patients in a non-CQC registered hair transplant clinic then you are operating illegally.’
BRITISH MAN’S £1,500 TURKISH TRANSPLANT LEAVES HIM WITH THIN, WISPY HAIR
A balding Manchester United fan who was hoping to get a hair transplant to rival hero Wayne Rooney’s has ended up looking more like Bobby Charlton.
Father-of-three Faisal Hamid, 30, was horrified after being left with a bald patch and lop-sided hair following the botched transplant earlier this year.
He travelled to Turkey to get a cut price deal after finding out the 10-hour procedure was a snip of the cost he could expect at a reputable clinic in the UK.
However, three months later, he found he was starting to lose his hair again, leaving him with a bald patch and thin, wispy strands of hair.
Faisal Hamid, a banker from Bury in Manchester, paid £1,500 for a hair transplant in Turkey to try to fix his baldness but, just over a year after the procedure, the new hair had already started to thin and fall out
Mr Hamid paid just £1,500 for the treatment, which would usually cost in the region of £13,000, when he travelled abroad in May 2015.
The banker, from Bury, Greater Manchester, looked into going overseas after one of his friends successfully underwent treatment there.
‘I was worried before I went and unsure but kept thinking about my friend and the results he had,’ Mr Hamid said.
Mr Hamid said he was pleased with the results after 10 months when the transplant seemed to be working well. But then things started to go wrong.
‘When you get the treatment done it takes about six months for your hair to grow and 14 months to see the full results.
‘I was quite happy with the results after 10 months but when 13 months came it started to go thin again.
Mr Hamid said he wanted to look like Wayne Rooney, who is notorious for having hair transplants, but he ended up looking like Bobby Charlton, pictured with a bad comb-over
‘It could be that it’s just me that it doesn’t work on because it did grow at first, I got some good results. My friend who got it done still has fantastic results.’
Experts believe he clinic took too many hair follicles out of the back of Mr Hamid’s head, leaving them damaged.