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! Even as newer techniques have opened up an interesting field for surgeons who aid a patient’s quest for crowning glory,with no regulatory body controlling itinerant doctors,hair transplantation procedures are fast acquiring a dubious reputation. The recently set up Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons (AHRS) hopes to change all that.
Started in February by Pune based Col (Dr) Tejinder Bhatti,Associate Professor at Armed Forces Medical College and Command hospital along with others,the association is the first regulatory body in the fledgling field of hair restoration.
As per a survey carried out by the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India last year there are only three plastic surgeons practising hair restoration surgery exclusively while some 12 plastic surgeons do more than 30 procedures per year as an adjunct to their otherwise busy reconstructive and aesthetic surgery practice all over the country. However,with no regulatory body and an estimated 50-60 dermatologists performing more than 24 hair transplants a year,doctors strongly felt the need for some kind of regulation.
The Association plans to conduct several training programmes across the country to educate the public about the finer points of the procedure and give them safe options of hair care and restoration. The basic aim of the Association is to promote and direct the development of hair restoration surgery in India along scientific and ethical lines. The AHRS is the only body in the country recognised by the ISHRS- International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery- based in the US and now awaits government sanction,says Col Bhatti,Secretary,AHRS.
“On an academic visit to US at Southfield,Detroit in May 2008,I chanced upon a study by Merck which divulged an interesting statistic that only two per cent of balding people seek treatment and yet it is a 2-3 billion market. Hence there is a large upside market potential. With such market potential,come hordes of gold-diggers some genuine and some completely unethical. And with no regulatory body yet in India,things have already gone ugly,” Bhatti told The Indian Express.