Watch Dr Russell Knudsen, Sydney Hair Transplant Surgeon, on The Project, speaking out about unregulated cosmetic surgery and the risk to Australians. Dr Knudsen explains how critical is it for all procedures, no matter how minor, to be performed in a safe and qualified medical setting.
Hair Transplant Blog - The Knudsen Clinic
In recent years there has been an explosion of “low cost” hair transplant clinics offering large procedures at very low cost. This is partly the result of “cosmetic medical tourism” in low-cost countries but also due to unscrupulous business people entering the field and minimising, if not eliminating, the role of the doctor.
Stories abound of people travelling overseas and only briefly seeing the doctor for the administration of the local anaesthetic prior to the procedure. The doctor is then never seen again!
What this means is that the whole procedure is carried out by “surgical assistants” whose training or qualifications are never stated. Indeed, most of these assistants have no nursing background and may be performing illegal actions by cutting the patient’s skin. In addition, to save cost, there are clinics that have multiple patients being operated on in the same room! This is highly unsafe as cross contamination is highly likely. As well, some of the results coming from these clinics are very poor in both design and execution.
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (www.ishrs.org) has taken the lead role in publicising the dangers posed by this non-medical model of rogue clinics and the authorities are starting to act in some jurisdictions with criminal charges being brought against clinic owners allowing illegal performance of hair transplantation by non-medical personnel in their clinics.
The ideal model, which is practised in the Knudsen Clinics, is to have both the consultation and the surgical procedure performed by the doctor. Only the doctor is allowed to cut the skin. Only the doctor is allowed to make the surgical plan. The assistants are there to assist the doctor. Even the ARTAS robot is controlled by the doctor in our Sydney Clinic.
One of the reasons the cosmetic tourist model exists is because patients confuse the difference between a product (the hair transplant) and the service (the performance of the hair transplant). The result is going to depend upon the skill of the doctor (and his assistants). Make sure a doctor is going to be the person performing the hair transplant.
A new technique called Scalp Micro-Pigmentation has recently been developed that has an exciting future in the range of therapies that we can offer for hair loss or patients with scarring of the scalp.
The idea of using a pigment tattoo to help camouflage scars on the scalp is not new. The problem with previous techniques is that the tattoo faded to blue or green over time and the pigment often “bled” into surrounding skin to give a “paint” effect which was not natural. Recently however, the development of newer, non-metallic pigments, together with the development of a specific technique to place pigment dots into the middle layers of the skin has revolutionised the concept. The use of non-metallic pigments is crucial as it will allow patients to have MRI scans if they are needed.
The outcome of the SMP technique is to produce the appearance of shaved hairs. This can be applied to any scarring of the scalp with matching of pigment colour to natural hair colour. This means any patient with donor scars from previous hair transplant surgery may achieve good camouflage of the scar with this technique. In most patients the SMP will last from 2-4 years before needing a refresh.
In addition, women suffering from Female Androgenetic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss) can have the illusion of extra density created by providing SMP to the upper scalp. This eliminates the need for topical camouflage products which need to be constantly used.
The Knudsen Clinic is proud to announce that SMP will be available from mid-2017 at our Hair Clinics.
There has been a lot of publicity in recent times about a possible new treatment for hair loss (of any cause) that is called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). This is argued to be a “stimulation” therapy for hair loss. The theory is that the multiple skin growth factors that live inside platelets (the blood cells responsible for clotting) can be utilised to stimulate hair by “cracking open” the platelets after the patient’s own blood has been centrifuged (spun down). These growth factors are then re-injected into the scalp in areas of thinning hair.
The idea has been around for a while but the evidence for hair stimulation has not been strong. We do know that PRP is helpful with wound healing but it is less clear which thinning patients might benefit. One of the problems is that the technique has no stringent set of rules and different centrifuges produce different results. Current research is directed at assessing whether higher concentrations of growth factors produce a stronger stimulating effect on weakened hairs.
Another possible line of research involves combing PRP with an extracellular matrix product that acts as a scaffold to assist the effect of the growth factors. Further research is needed in this area.
At best, current evidence is inconclusive that PRP is as effective as other stimulatory products such as minoxidil or techniques such as low level laser therapy.
Hair transplant surgery restores healthy hair to the upper scalp, says hair loss specialist Dr Russell Knudsen.
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