The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) recently reviewed advertisements and other marketing materials directed at dermatologists, plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, family practitioners, gynecologists, otolaryngologists, and other physicians encouraging them to incorporate hair restoration surgery into their practice via a proposed “turnkey” technology. The ISHRS is concerned that the marketing materials jeopardize patient safety and place physicians at risk.
The marketing materials offer to sell automated hair transplant devices which enables technicians to perform hair restoration surgery with minimal input from a physician.
Hair restoration surgery is a complex cosmetic procedure requiring attention to detail and proper long term treatment planning to ensure patient safety and achieve optimal results. While allowing non-physician personnel/technicians to perform hair restoration surgery may have economic benefits for a practice, doing so may jeopardize patient safety and create legal liability for physicians. In many if not all states, the harvesting of scalp tissue is considered surgery and/or the practice of medicine. In those jurisdictions, such action by non-physician personnel may constitute the unlicensed practice of medicine, potentially subjecting said personnel, the responsible physician(s), and the practice to civil and/or criminal liability. Furthermore, physicians utilizing non-physician personnel to perform procedures, who fail to notify their professional liability insurance carriers of the same, may jeopardize their coverage in the event of a claim.
If you are aware of similar marketing in your community, the ISHRS encourages that you report the activity to your state medical board. You may simply provide a copy of the subject marketing piece along with this Physician Practice Alert. Click to find contact information to assist you in this task. If you choose to state more information in your submission to your state medical board, you should consult with an attorney.
The issue is not the technology but the expertise of the individuals performing the surgery and the encouragement by device manufacturers for “turnkey” hair restoration solutions for physicians without proper training.
The ISHRS is a nonprofit corporation, exempt from federal income tax pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). The ISHRS seeks to advance the art and science of hair restoration by licensed, experienced physicians; educate and increase the level of knowledge of physicians and their assistants regarding hair restoration techniques, procedures, and related issues; encourage and facilitate the free interchange of ideas, knowledge, and experience among physicians and assistants providing hair restoration; and encourage professional excellence and patient safety in connection with hair restoration surgery.