Martinick Hair Restoration’s Dr Jennifer Martinick said before deciding on where to have a transplant it was critical to conduct extensive research about the surgical techniques used by the physician as well as the clinical procedures for staff and cleaning and sterilization of instruments.
Dr Martinick, the immediate past president of the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) said while thorough research was always important, extreme caution was needed when travelling overseas for surgery.
Dr Martinick said Australians were increasingly taking the risk of going overseas for cheaper cosmetic procedures.
She said there were crucial questions to raise when considering options for a cheaper hair transplant surgery in some other countries.
Instead of just comparing price, it was important to consider a broad range of other factors including the safety and sterilisation practices of the clinic, the experience of the surgeon, the surgeon’s qualifications and experience and their commitment to ongoing training.
Dr Martinick said it was imperative to speak to former patients and see the results that had been achieved for them.
While travelling to some countries for surgery could result in a significantly cheaper transplant, it was important to remember that many of these countries placed fewer regulations on doctors and clinics.
Dr Martinick said key factors to consider for those who chose to have surgery overseas were the availability of ongoing after care and the additional risk of travelling after a surgical procedure.
If something went wrong, patients would have fewer rights and entitlements, she said.
This was significantly different from clinics in Australia which were subject to many layers of control through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
“One must ask themselves if the doctor is legitimate, how long they have been performing transplants for and also find out about their approach to a transplant, Dr Martinick said.
“Prospective patients must make sure the surgeon is committed to the highest clinical procedures and to providing patients with a natural looking transplant.”
Dr Martinick said while performing a natural looking hair transplant looked deceptively easy, there were still too many examples around the world of inferior work.
She said sub par transplants continued to be a problem and this was often due to inexperience of the surgeon, poor technique, poor quality control in surgery and failing to properly plan surgery.
“Research is crucial before committing to a hair transplant, Dr Martinick said.
“A hair transplant is in such a highly visible area and the patient has to live with the consequences, good or bad, for a very long time.
“One should never take surgery lightly.”