NEW DELHI: For the first time, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has issued a guideline on who can perform a hair transplant and what kind of medical infrastructure is needed for it. It states that watching procedures done on workshops or on YouTube or similar platforms is not adequate training to start aesthetic procedures, including hair transplant. “Such procedures must be performed by a properly trained and licensed Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) i,e practitioner of modern medicine,” the guideline states.
A hair transplant procedure involves removing small pieces of hair-bearing scalp from a donor site and using them as grafts to be relocated to a bald or thinning area.
The NMC guideline says preferably, the procedure should be undertaken only by those who have surgical grooming like formal surgical training such as MCh/DNB in plastic surgery or MD/DNB in dermatology. “Ghost surgery – substitution of surgeons without the patient’s knowledge and permission – would constitute malpractice,” the apex body for medical education in the country has warned. The NMC has also laid out a detailed guideline on manpower and infrastructure requirements for conducting cosmetic procedures, including a hair transplant.
According to the guideline, hair transplant should be conducted in a hospital with facilities for treating indoor patients. “If it is a clinic doing day care surgeries only, it should be well connected with any nearby hospital with proper ICU and critical care facilities,” it states. The NMC order has said unethical practices, such as advertising with false/exaggerated claims, should not be indulged in.
TOI had, on May 14, reported about the death of a 35-year-old man, allegedly on account of negligence during the hair transplantation process at a salon in Delhi. The victim, who paid Rs 30,000 for the procedure, developed a painful scalp followed by swelling on the face and shoulders and subsequently passed away during the course of treatment at a hospital.
The Delhi high court had directed the Centre and Delhi government to ensure that such practices were checked, people made aware that such procedures could be fatal, and medical protocols framed at the national level.
Dr Kabir Sardana, professor of dermatology at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Delhi, said if enforced strictly, the guideline would spell doom for standalone clinics.
Another skin specialist said: “Any procedure that involves administering anaesthesia and operating on a patient comes with certain risks. The patient must be aware of the potential risks and ensure that the clinics they chooseare equipped enough.”