Hair restoration has come a long way since the Middle Ages when a rancid rhino fat and rosemary concoction was applied on bald pates by virgins. Surgical hair transplants are the best way to cover bald patches today,but increasing concern about the unethical practices has prompted three plastic surgeons in the country to form an association.
According to a survey carried out by the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India last year,there are only three plastic surgeons practising hair restoration surgery and at least 12 plastic surgeons who do more than 30 procedures a year as an adjunct to their otherwise busy reconstructive and aesthetic surgery practice in the country.
However,with no regulatory body and an estimated 50-60 dermatologists performing more than 24 hair transplants a year,doctors feel the art of hair transplantation has earned a bad name at the hands of itinerant surgeons.
Taking the initiative,city-based Col (Dr) Tejinder Bhatti,associate professor at Armed Forces Medical College and Command Hospital,along with others formed the Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons.
The association,set up early this month,will conduct training programmes to educate people about the procedure and give them safe options of hair care and restoration.
AHRS India,the only body in the country recognised by the US-based International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery,is awaiting government sanction, says Ahmedabad-based Dr Sanjeev Vasa,president of the association.
Vasa conducts more than 200 hair transplants a year. Growing hair on bald patches is possible, he says. There are misconceptions about the surgery and yes,we do get a lot of re-do cases.
These are surgeries that require 20 assistants and 10 digital microscopes for transplanting each hair and it is vital to educate people on these surgeries which cost between Rs 25,000 and Rs 3 lakh.
Bhatti,also the association secretary,says at least 18 hair restoration surgeries are conducted at AFMC a month. It is mainly men in the 23-32 age group.
Mumbai-based Dr Rajesh Rajput,vice-president of the 50-member association,says hair loss is a distressing aesthetic problem.
We get as many as 3-400 patients every month. It takes only four months for the hair to grow, says Rajput,adding that they do get their share of misguided patients.
Hence apart from selling the concept,the association will address patients complaints with the help of its website.